José Manuel Figueroa Sr. better known as Joan Sebastian (pronounced: (born in Juliantla, Guerrero, on April 8, 1951) is a popular Mexican multi Grammy award winning singer and songwriter. He has composed hundreds of songs and been a regular staple on the top-40 charts in Mexico since his career began in 1977. His music is a mixture of Latin pop, ranchera and grupera music. His success is not only found in music but also in his short acting career when he became the main protagonist of a Mexican soap opera. In 1996 he made his acting debut in the Mexican soap opera Tú y Yo (You and I) sharing credits with Maribel Guardia (his former wife and mother to one of his sons) the soap opera became an instant televised hit. He has won seven Latin Grammy Awards and four Grammy Awards.
Before he had a big successful music career Jose Manuel Figueroa (Joan Sebastian's legal name) passed most of his childhood from place to place. At age eight he was sent away by his parents to Guanajuato for school. When he was eleven he returned to Juliantla, his native town, this return inspired him to begin formally composing. But he was sent off again to a monastery in Morelos where he was under the care of father David Salgado. Due to the influence Father Salgado had on Sebastian he took the decision of becoming a priest. So at age 14 he enrolled in the Seminario Conciliar de San Jose in Cuernavaca, Morelos. But he soon realized that music was his true calling so when he was 17 years old he abandoned the seminary to dedicate himself completely to the music business.
Meanwhile he made a living as an administrative assistant in a vacationing resort in Oaxtepec, Morelos where he would sing through the intercom. It was in that resort that Sebastian found the incentive he needed to pursue his singing dream more aggressively. The year was 1968 when Joan Sebastian encountered Angelica Maria (a famous Mexican actress) who was looking for a place to stay. While she waited she asked him if he sang and the following day he sang for her six songs. Angelica Maria suggested to Sebastian that he record the songs and gave him the telephone number of Eduardo Magallanes, a music producer. Without hesitating Sebastian moved to Mexico City and began knocking on doors until Chucho Rincon from Discos Capitals agreed to listen to him and thus began Sebastian's artistic career. In 1974 He recorded his first disc "Pedro Parrandas" with the name Figueroa (after his legal last name) and the positive results came fast when in Ciudad Obregon, Sonora. the song "Descartada" sold 12 thousand copies.
The year 1977 was a transitionary year for Sebastian it was the moment when he stopped using his legal name Jose Manuel Figueroa and picked up his artistic name Joan Sebastian (Joan is how the name John is said in the Catalan language of eastern Spain) and Sebastian from San Sebastian. It was also the year he moved to recording label Musart. His introduction with the public under his new name was another success for this Mexican singer when his new disc "El Camino del Amor" sold 127 thousand copies and also reached audiences in the United States and South America. Thirty two albums followed there after and all more successful than the previous. His most recent production up to date is "Secreto de Amor" which was released in 2000 and sold over 1 million copies.
Joan Sebastian was born José Manuel Figueroa on April 8, 1951, he remains one of the most famous singers and songwriters Mexico has. Although he had been diagnosed with bone cancer in 1997, it did not stop him from creating music. His versatility has helped him remain in the popular taste of the public. On July 26, 2012 he announced that his bone cancer has returned during one of his concerts for the third time.
Joan Sebastian is the father of eight children who he has had with different partners throughout his life. Their names are José Manuel Figueroa (who is also a singer and composer), Juan Sebastián, Trigo de Jesús, Sarelia, Julián (son of Maribel Guardia), Marcelia, Joana Marcelia y Julird oldest, was shot in the back of the head after one of Joan Sebastian's concert in Texas on August 27, 2006. Trigo had been trying to control the crowd after the show. He was transported to McAllen Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
On June 12, 2010, Juan Sebastián was shot dead in Cuernavaca, Morelos, after arriving at a night club with some friends and being refused entrance. Joan Sebastian said that his son's death had nothing to do with the Mexican drug cartel.
In 2013 Joan was a Special guest on Transformers: Rescue Bots