Celia Cruz Biography
(One of the Most Popular Latin Artists of the 20th Century)
Birthday: October 21, 1925 (Libra)
Born In: Havana, Cuba
Celia Cruz was a Cuban singer of Latin music and was the most popular Latin artist of the 20th century. She was well known for her operatic and poignant voice, and improvised rhythmic lyrics. Recognised globally as the ‘Queen of Salsa’, Celia Cruz was a recipient of the National Medal of Arts. Her glitzy stage costumes included myriad coloured wigs, tight sequined dresses, and very high heels. Growing up in Havana, Cuba she intended to become a teacher, in deference to her father’s wish. However, she soon pursued her true calling—music—and began winning singing contests on various radio shows. She first gained proper recognition as a singer in the 1950s, when she replaced lead singer Myrta Silva of the popular orchestra ‘La Sonora Matancera’. She began touring extensively with the group, performing at various concerts. In 1961, following the Cuban Revolution and Fidel Castro’s rise to power, Celia Cruza became a U.S. citizen. She went on to record 23 gold records with Tito Puente, the Fania All Stars and other collaborators throughout her career. Her many achievements include winning several Grammy Awards (including Latin Grammys) for recordings such as ‘Ritmo en el Corazón’ (1988) with Ray Barretto and ‘Siempre viviré’ (2000).