Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
(b José Antonio Peña, late '60s, Havana, Cuba; adopted 'Miles' as a reminder of the distance to the USA) Salsa singer/composer with a huskily sexy voice. Began as a child actor in Havana, appeared in numerous movies, TV shows and soap operas; went to music school to study sax and singing, graduated with honours at age 17; moved to Isla de Piños province, organized his own band and became nationally popular; he entertained Cuban troops in Angola. Joined touring Cuban Tropicana Revue '88, became their star turn; defected '91 while visiting Vienna, Austria with revue; arrived in NYC late '92 after a stop-over in the Dominican Republic. Soon signed with RMM's Sonero label and made impressive debut album De Que Me Vale '93 produced by José Mangual Jr in NY and Humberto Ramirez in Puerto Rico, writing six of the eight unashamedly romantic songs: some tracks 'have the international appeal that salsa used to have before its degeneration into the lasciviously louche', wrote UK salsa disc jockey Tomek. He wrote Oscar D'Leon's hit 'Matem tica Sexual' (from album Toitico Y Tuyo '94 on Sonero). His '94 eponymous follow-up on Sonero was superbly recorded and produced in PR by Ramirez, who also arranged five tracks; Peña wrote two songs. He performed hit 'Para Que...' backed by the RMM Orchestra on Familia RMM en Vivo '94 recorded live at Miami Arena '93; participated in RMM Tropical Tribute To The Beatles '96. Wrote and performed 'Mi Tierra Querida' ('My Beloved Homeland') on Made In The USA '96 on RMM by the Super Cuban All Stars; guested on La Jungla Latina '96 on Soho by rap/hip-hop outfit Tres Equis. Wrote two songs for his third CD Torbellino de Amor '96 on RMM; Ramirez again produced, arranged eight tracks and wrote two.