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Tañon, Olga

Olga Tañón was born on April 13, 1967 in Santurce, Puerto Rico, to a middle class family of which she is the youngest child. Her parents, Doña Carmen and Don José, made many sacrifices to raise her and her siblings, Glory, Junior and Marie. Her childhood and teenage years were spent in a simple family lifestyle.

Nevertheless, early in her life Tañon showed a great passion for art. When she was 8 years old, she began to sing in her church choir, perform in community pageants, and sing at talent competitions which, ironically, she never won. Besides that, her life was quite uneventful. As a teenager, she worked as a lifeguard at the neighborhood pool (in Levittown). She took fashion design courses, and worked as a waitress and in a clothing store.

She got her first break as a professional singer in the mid 1980’s, thanks to Mr. Ringo Martínez, who asked her to join “Las Nenas de Ringo y Jossie”, an all-female merengue group. Tañon was able to stand out early on. After a couple of years, she received an offer to be part of another all-female group, “Chantelle”, which became very popular. It was with “Chantelle” that Tañon began her relationship with WEA Latina. She demonstrated a contagious energy, stage presence, perfect diction, and clear mezzo-soprano voice, making her very popular with the public. After several hits, the company offered her the chance to record as a soloist.

In 1992, her first album, Sola, rapidly reached the hit lists, with hit songs such as the title song, Sola, “Me cambio por ella” (lyrics), “Quiero estar contigo” y “Mujer rota”. The release earned her a Platinum record for selling over 100,000 units in the United States and Puerto Rico. Sola made her the female merengue singer par excellence, and opened the door to a market traditionally controlled by men.

Her next album, Mujer De Fuego, released a year later in 1993, doubled the sales of her previous album, netting her a Double Platinum Record. It was also Tañon’s debut as producer. Like the first record, this one was a hit, surpassing all sales projections and reaching the top ten in popularity charts in Puerto Rico, United States and Latin America and ensured her position on the popular music charts. Songs like “Vendrás Llorando”, “Muchacho Malo” (lyrics), “Piel a piel” and “Contigo o sin ti”, invaded the airwaves all across the American continents. But remarkably, the CD also marked her debut as a songwriter with the song “Presencié tu amor”, considered a classic in popular songs due to its lovely lyrics.

The number of copies sold tripled with her third album, Siente El Amor, in 1994. This album got a Double Platinum Record for selling more than 200,000 copies. Again, promotional cuts were all over the Americas, and the people danced to the rhythm of “Es Mentiroso” (lyrics), “Entre la Noche y el Día” and “Una Noche Más”.

1994 and 1995 were very important years for Tañon’s career, for all the recognition she received for her success. In 1994, and for two consecutive years, she was chosen “TV’s most beautiful face” by readers of the renowned “TV-Guía” magazine in Puerto Rico. In addition, both years she and her orchestra were awarded the title of “Best merengue band in Puerto Rico”.

In 1995, Univision awarded her with the “Premio Lo Nuestro” for Best Song of the Year for “Presencié Tu Amor”, as well as Artist of the Year and Tropical Album of the Year for Siente El Amor. In addition, the Senate of Puerto Rico declared November 9 “Olga Tañón Day”, as a tribute to her talent and international achievements, which have turned her into a role model for the young.

Late in 1995, Exitos Y Mas was launched as a compilation of her greatest hits. It got a Platinum Record after just one week on the charts. That same year, Tañon went back to the recording studio, with a completely different project, and a new challenge: a pop-ballad record. Marco Antonio Solís, renowned composer and “ex Buqui”, produced Nuevos Senderos for Tañon. With songs like Me Subes, Me Baja it sold over 500,000 copies, and received a certificate from the Recording Industries of America (RIA). As a singer, Tañon proved she was fit for all musical generations.

In 1997 Tañon recorded Llevame Contigo, a merengue album which she also produced. “Serpiente Mala”, “Qué Grande Es Este Amor” and “Por Que No Te Encontré” were some of the most outstanding songs. In 1998, Tañon was Queen at the Miami Carnival, the first Puerto Rican to be honored with the title. Her show was the main attraction during the festivities. Before that, she performed at the Carnival for three consecutive years, and was acclaimed by the public.

Also in that year, Llevame Contigo was nominated for a Grammy in the catagory “Best Tropical Album”. In addition, in the Dominican Republic, home of Merengue, the “Asociación de Cronistas” (ACOARTE) awarded Tañon with the Casandra Award for Artistic Excellence, the highest recognition given by this organization.

In 1999, Tañon launched her album, Te Acordaras De Mi, produced by Rudy Pérez. It got a Triple Platinum Record in three weeks. This album includes songs by Rudy Pérez and Kike Santander. In addition, she sings a duet with Christian Castro: “Escondidos”. Other great songs in this album are: “Tu amor”, “Hielo y fuego”, “Amor de un hombre y una mujer” y “Diálogo mudo”.

With a new image, Tañon’s album, Yo por Ti, won the 2002 Grammy award for best merengue album of the year; no surprise from one of the dance-floor queens who have elevated the merengue to an emotionally expressive art form. The album has a variety of rhythms, including merengue, bachata, guaguanco, and salsa. The lyrics range from very romantic to very danceable, such as “Mienteme”.

Her latest album, Sobrevivir, promises more of the same great talent.

Discography

A Puro Fuego (2003)

Sobrevivir (2002)

Yo Por Ti (2001)

Olga Viva Viva Olga (1999)

Te Acordaras de Mi (1998)

Merenfest (1998)

Cuatro Reinas (1998)

Llevame Contigo (1997)

Nuevos Senderos (1996)

Exitos Y Mas (1996)

Siente El Amor (1994)

Sola (1992)

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