Richest CelebritiesSingers
Net Worth:
$12 Million
Jul 16, 1948 (75 years old)
Panama City
Singer, Actor, Songwriter, Musician, Film Score Composer, Politician
💰 Compare Rubén Blades' Net Worth

What is Rubén Blades' Net Worth?

Ruben Blades is a Panamanian singer and actor who has a net worth of $12 million. Considered a musical icon in Panama and across Latin American countries, Ruben Blades' net worth grew from producing a string of hits then appearing in iconic films. As a professional singer/songwriter, Blades has made a massive contribution to the music industry. His early work in the 1970s included a collaboration with Pete Rodriguez, producing hits such as "Descarga Caliente" and "De Panama a New York. Blades has worked with numerous award-winning artists, including Ray Barretto, Larry Harlow and Willie Colon. Blades and Colon went on to produce several albums, including "Siembra" (1978), which became the best-selling salsa album in history. His breakthrough hit, "Pablo Pueblo" (1977) later became an unofficial campaign song of Panama when he ran for president of the country.

In addition to producing Grammy-award winning albums from the 1980's onwards, Blades crossed over to acting, making his debut in the 1982 film, "The Last Fight." He also appeared in notable productions, including "Mo' Better Blues," "Predator 2," "Safe House" (2012) and "Once Upon a Time in Mexico" (2003). In 2004, he put his career on hold to serve as Panama's minister of Tourism. He served the position for five years.

Early Life

Blades was born on July 16, 1948 in Panama City, Panama. His mother is actress and musician Anoland Diaz and his father is athlete and percussionist Rubén Dario Blades Sr. His father also was a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in Washington, D.C. He enjoyed music from a young age and was influenced heavily by the Joe Cuba sextet and Cheo Feliciano, whose singing style he copied in order to develop his own voice tone and vocal range.

Blades earned multiple degrees in political science and law at the Universidad Nacional de Panamá. He performed legal work at the Bank of Panama as a law student. He graduated from school in 1974 and then moved to the United States, where he first stayed with his exiled parents in Miami, Florida before moving to New York.


Blades's early music career involved singing as a vocalist in Los Salvajes del Ritmo. He was also a songwriter and guest singer with a professional Latin music conjunto, Bush y sus Magnificos. Once he moved to the United States, he recorded his first solo album, "De Panama a New York." He then worked as a songwriter while also working in the mailroom at Fania Records. He worked with artists like Ray Barretto and Larry Harlow. He also started collaborating with trombonist and bandleader Willie Colon. Together, they recorded several albums and also participated in albums by plena singer Mon Rivera and the Fania All Stars.

Blades's first hit came in 1977 with the track "Pablo Pueblo." He had written the song in 1968 but didn't release it until his 1977 album, "Metiendo Mano." In 1978, he wrote the song "El Cantante" which he then gave to musician Hector Lavoe to record. The song became a big hit for Lavoe, as well as his signature song. The same year, he released an album with Colón called "Siembra." It became the best-selling salsa record in history and has sold over three million copies. Almost all of the tracks on the album were hits at one time or another in various Latin American countries. It's most famous song, "Pedro Navaja,: was inspired by the 1928 song "Mack the Knife." It later inspired the 1980 Puerto Rican musical, "La verdadera historia de Pedro Navaja."

In 1982, Blades landed his first acting role in "The Last Fight." He portrayed a singer-turned-boxer who was vying for a championship against a fighter who was played by real-life world champion boxer Salvador Sanchez. He continued working on his music and released the album "Buscando America" in 1984. The following year, in 1985, he gained widespread recognition as co-writer and star of the independent film, "Crossover Dreams." He also began his career in film, scoring music for soundtracks.

Meanwhile, he had also been attending school at Harvard Law School where he earned a master's degree in international law in 1985. The same year, he won his first Grammy Award for Best Tropical Latin Album for the album "Escenas." In 1988, he recorded an English language album with rock artists Sting, Elvis Costello, and Lou Reed called "Nothing But the Truth." He also released a salsa album, "Antecedente," which won a Grammy Award.

Ruben Blades

Jamie McCarthy /Getty Images

During the 1990s, Blades acted in films and also continued releasing records. He also got involved in politics, mounting an unsuccessful campaign for the Panamanian presidential bid in 1994. He released an album following the experience called "La Rosa de los Vientos." In 1997, he headed the cast of Paul Simon's first Broadway musical, "The Capeman," which also starred Marc Anthony and Ednita Nazario. He appeared in films like "The Milagro Beanfield War," "The Two Jakes," "Predator 2," "Color of Night," and "Devil's Own."

In 2001, Blades was inducted into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame. In 2002, he released "Mundo" with incorporated other musicians from around the world and won the Grammy Award for Best World Music Album. In November of 2005, he received an honorary degree from Berklee College of Music. During this time, he was also serving a five-year term as the Minister of Tourism for Panama after being appointed by Panamanian president Martin Torrijos in 2004.

After his term ended in 2009, he reunited with some former bandmates for the 25th anniversary tour of "Buscando America." In 2014, he was the closing act for the Festival Internacional Cervantino in Mexico. His 2015 album, "Tangos," won a Grammy award for Best Latin Pop Album. In September of 2018, he was appointed as NYU Steinhardt Dean's Inaugural Scholar in Resident at NYU. In 2021, he was honored as the Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year for his contribution to Latin music and activism.

Personal Life

In 2006, Blades married Luba Mason. In 2014, Blades confirmed he was the biological father of a Puerto Rican man named Joseph Verne. He had originally been approached by Verne, who claimed he thought Blades could be his father but Blades denied the possibility. However, subsequent DNA testing confirmed that he was the father and Blades later made a public statement that he was happy to have found out and had since begun a relationship with Verne, as well as Verne's daughter, his granddaughter.

Real Estate

In February 2010 Rubén Blades paid $4 million for a five-story, 6,000 square foot townhouse in NYC's Chelsea neighborhood. A year earlier he sold a home in Los Angeles for $2.4 million, which was a $1 million profit over his 2001 purchase price.

After purchasing the NYC townhouse, Blades and his wife Luba began a massive renovation that took several years to complete. Today this property is worth $6-8 million.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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