Santiago, Helena

Santiago was born on 18 June, 1977 in Lorain, Ohio. She began singing to live audiences at age 11 as part of a duet with her sister Sele who was 12. Santiago sang and played the piano while her sister played guitar. One year later their brother Ray joined his sisters, playing the drums.

Shortly after becoming a trio, Santiago and her sister formed a youth choir which they co-directed. They also formed a Christian pop group and later formed an eight piece band known as “Special Note Us”. During this time she has been a regular singer of the national anthem for both the Cleveland Indians baseball club and the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball club (NBA). She also sang on many telethons to raise money for charities and the homeless of greater Cleveland metropolitan area. This same band eventually grew to a twelve piece orchestra which for the past four years has opened for all of the top salsa acts appearing in the area.

Santiago has performed with El Gran Combo, Marc Anthony, with whom she sang Vivir lo Nuestro, made famous by Anthony and La India, Victor Manuelle, Rey Ruiz, and Jerry Rivera, to name a few. When she opened for El Gran Combo she got the attention of record producer, Ralph Cartagena of Combo Records who signed her to her first recording contract. She was only 16, but she had an incredible talent that was to develop further. Cartegena carefully groomed Santiago for the next year or so. He selected songs, hired arrangers and musicians. He began preparations for her first CD, professional debut, and began making arrangements for filming a video. Finally, after four years, she went to New York and cut the album that she had always dreamed of.

The name of her debut CD was Yo Vine A Cantar“, reaching number 15 on the New York charts shortly after its release. Her first promotional single was entitled “Tentacion”. Other cuts include “Junto A Ti Sere Feliz”, “Me Declaro Tuya”, “Missing”, “No Te Quiero Como Un Amigo” --previously recorded by Miriam Hernandez, “La “Noche Que Te Fuiste”, “Y Volvere"-- previously recorded by Los Angeles Negros, “Un Lado Aparte” and finally a merengue “Juguete”.


Yo Vine a Cantar (1997)