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Celia Cruz was one of the most renowned singers of the 20th century. She was born on October 21, 1925.
Hailing from Cuba, Celia Cruz had worked all her life for salsa music and Latin culture. Celia Cruz has won many awards including the National Medal of Arts, several Grammy Awards, and the posthumous Latin Grammy Award.
She married Pedro Knight on July 14, 1962 Even after her death, she is still alive in people’s hearts through her music and legacy. She died on July 16, 2003, in Fort Lee, New Jersey.
Celia Cruz's net worth was around $1 million.
Celia Cruz's earnings per year are unknown.
Celia Cruz was 5 ft 6 in (167 cm).
Celia Cruz was 77 years at the time of her death on July 16, 2003, in Fort Lee, New Jersey.
Celia Cruz was born in the Santos Suarez neighborhood of the largest city, Havana, in Cuba. Her father was a railway stoker and wanted her to be a teacher. Her mother was a homemaker. Celia's family had 14 children. She had three siblings, Dolores, Gladys, and Barbaro. She was the eldest. Celia started singing when she was nine months old. She used to sing in her school and the neighborhood ensemble. Her neighbor taught her Santeria songs. Her father opposed her because she was Catholic. She also learned words from Yoruba songs. Her aunt used to take her and her cousin when she was a teen to cabarets.
Celia completed high school. She then went to Normal School for Teachers. She was to be a literature teacher. She later attended the National Conservatory of Music in Havana. She studied voice, music theory, and the piano.
Celia married Pedro Knight in 1962. They had no children together. However, she often took care of her cousins' children and grandchildren.
Celia Cruz was best known as the Queen of Salsa for her contributions to Latin music and Salsa in the 20th century.
Celia started her singing career journey by contesting in several radio programs in Cuba. Her first program was 'Hora del te.' At the singing contest, she used a microphone for the first time. She sang a tango as a tribute to the famous Paulina Alvarez. It was named 'Nostalgia.' Her first prize was a cake. She continued singing in amateur shows like 'La suprema Corte del Arte'. She made several recordings with a backup for female akpowons.
The first person who saw her singing talent was Isolina Carrillo. Celia was offered to join Conjunto Siboney. After which, she joined several groups. Some of them are Orquesta de Ernesto Duarte, Orquesta Anacaona, Sonora Caracas, and more. With this, she began to sing in the most famous cabarets in Havana, Cuba. This included Tropicana, Topeka, and Bamboo. Her debut recordings were made in Mexico and Venezuela as a singer in Las Mulatas de Fuego. She performed with Coro Yoruba y Tambores Bata at Radio Cadena Suaritos. They sang Santeria songs and music.
Her turning point was when she joined Sonora Matancera. She got a chance as a new singer because the group's singer, Myrta Silva, returned to Puerto Rico. Celia was the first black front-woman of the group. Her debut with them was made on August 3, 1950. Her beginning performances were not so much of a hit. However, eventually, her talent was revealed, and she was recognized. Her first songs with Sonora were successes. Some hits include 'Cao Cao Mani Picao', 'Burundanga', and 'Mata siguaraya'. Her first opportunity to sing in the United States of America was at St. Nicholas Arena in New York. It was her song 'Burundanga' that won her first gold record. She also worked in Mexican movies in cameos. Some films include 'Rincon Criollo', 'Una Gallega En La Habana', 'Amorcito Corazon', and more. She toured many places in Latin America. She was a regular in Havana's popular cabaret, Tropicana. She was in the Sonora Matancera for 15 years.
Later, the group was rejected in Cuba for working abroad, particularly in the USA. It was after the Cuban Revolution. Thus, Sonora was not allowed to return to Cuba. Celia then performed solo recitals in Los Angeles. During her exile, her father and mother passed away. She toured Europe and Japan with the group. Then, both Celia and Pedro Knight left Sonora. She started her solo career with Pedro as her representative and personal director.
Celia performed with Tito Puente. One of the most famous songs was their first collaborative album, 'Son Con Guaguanco'. They collaborated on four albums.
Celia has performed under the Fania label since 1973. She toured Zaire with the group Fania All-Stars. They also performed in San Juan in 1975. The film 'Soul Power' had the group, Celia's, and Zaire's performance in it.
Celia's debut studio album with the Fania label was Celia & Johnny. In it, she collaborated with Johnny Pacheco. She also worked in Salsa, a documentary film of 1976. As it was about Latin culture, she got to work with stars like Dolores del Rio and Willie Colon. She also collaborated with Willie Colon. They recorded her first LP.
She recorded an album with Sonora Matancera again in 1982. Her contributions were tributed in New York. She also performed at a concert that held the Guinness World record of being the biggest free entry outdoor concert.
Celia returned to Cuba in 1990. Her first film in America was Mambo Kings. Her television debut was in 'Valentina,' a Mexican telenovela. Her other films include 'El Alma No Tiene Color' and 'The Perez Family'.
Her last album was 'Regalo Del Alma'.
Celia Cruz founded The Celia Cruz Foundation. It is an NGO for helping underprivileged children study music.
She supported the issues regarding music education in the Hispanic community.
She supported and raised funds for cancer patients. She donated to the League Against Cancer.
The awards won by Celia Cruz were:
Best Tropical Latin Recording in 1989 for 'Ritmo En El Corazón.'
Best Salsa/ Merengue Album in 2003 for 'Regalo Del Alma.'
Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2016.
Best Salsa Album (2000, 2002, and 2004) and Best Traditional Tropical Album (2001) by Latin Grammy Award.
National Endowment for the Arts Award in 1994.
Celia was into music. She played piano. Her music influencers included Fernando Collazo and Pablo Quevedo.
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