Known to most by the mononym Emilio, he charted more than ten singles on the Billboard Hot Latin Tracks charts, in addition to six singles on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks charts. Emilio was also one of the few Tejano artists to have significant success in both the United States and Mexico, and was called the "Garth Brooks of Tejano". His biggest country hit was the No. 27 "It's Not the End of the World" in late 1995, and his highest-charting single on any chart is "Por Siempre Unidos," which peaked at No. 7 on Latin Pop Airplay in 1996. Along with Selena, Emilio was one of the most prominent artists that helped popularize Tejano music.
By the mid 1990s, Emilio began crediting himself solely as Emilio, eventually switching his focus to country music. Between 1989 and 1996, Emilio had released seven Spanish albums with cumulative sales of about 2 million. This success lead to mainstream commercial exposure, with companies such as Coca-Cola and Wrangler Jeans using his songs in their advertisements in the 1990s. Emilio had also gained a sponsorship with Miller Lite beer, who had persuaded him to use their slogan at the time, "Life is good," as the title of his first country album.
His 2002 album Acuérdate won the Grammy Award for Best Tejano Album and his 2007 album De Nuevo won the Latin Grammy Award for Best Tejano Album.
Emilio was found dead by his wife in his New Braunfels home on May 16, 2016. He was 53. Emilio performed his last known concert in Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico, on May 11, 2016, as part of a concert celebrating Mother's Day in that city. Reports indicated he suffered a massive heart attack.