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Manuel, Manny

Salsa performer Manny Manuel was born Cruz Manuel Hernández Santiago on 1 December 1972 in Orocovis, Puerto Rico.

Manuel showed great interest in music at an early age. He was exposed to folkloric and the popular music of the time and was keenly interested in all scool activities that related to music. Outside of school he joined a band from a nearby town called Tempo Merenguero. Later, Manuel joined a band being formed by popular merengue artists Mayra y Celinés. They group did well and Manuel showed his talent as solo singer and dancer.

The next step for Manuel was joining the band Los Sabrosos del Merengue. The group was signed to the MP label and met with great success. Manuel contributed his unique voice and charisma to their work as evidenced in the hit debut song “Fiera callada”. The group broadened their repertoire, with Manuel recording an album Sin fronteras with popular songs including “Ya te olvidé”, “Cosas de enamorados” and “El día que me acaricies”. In addition to these, the ballad “Te Amo”, made popular by Rocío Dúrcal, was converted to merengue and was immensely popular in that style. The group followed with their second album: Haciendo historia helping Manuel’s popularity with songs such as “Frente a frente”, “Colegiala” and “Quién puede ser”.

On the heels of such success, Manuel decided to go his own way, leaving Sabrosos del Merengue in 1994. Later that same year he perfomed as soloist with his own band. His charisma and talent had brought him the recognition that made the move possible. He recorded Rey de Corazones, on the Merengazzo Records label with hit songs including the title track, Rey de Corazones. Manuel had the great fortune to see his debut solo album go platinum in just a few weeks.

The next year saw Manuel give his debut concert performance at the Centro de Bellas Artes in San Juan, after only a single year as a soloist. The concert series for six dates was a smash success, which he followed with the release in 1996 of his album Auténtico. The recording was produced by the legendary Ralph Mercado and included hits such as “Y se que vas a llorar” y “Mi primer beso”. That same year, he also performed at three important concerts in the San Juan area; adding fuel to the fire of his popularity. One of these concerts was in honor of Pedro Flores where Manuel sung one of Flores’ most famous compositions: “Querube”, together with the popular Trio Los Condes. The song was a hit on the radio airwaves; demonstrating the Manuel had the versatility as an artist to do justice to that classic song, as well as extent to which the song itself and its composer, is so close to the hearts of the Puerto Rican people.

In 1997, Manuel had a successful concert appearances in the Dominican Republic, Mexico and the United States, as well as in Puerto Rico; proof that he was as well regarded abroad as he was in his homeland. That year, he also recorded typical folkloric songs on Lo que mi pueblo atesora together with noted Puerto Rican singer Antonio “El Topo” Cabán Vale. The album was released for the Christmas season and endeared him to a wider audience.

His recording with Los Condes was not Manuel’s the only foray into folkloric music of Puerto Rico. He followed up with Payaso, a recording of older tunes made popular during the 1970’s by Raphy Leavitt. He also recorded “Manuel y el Trío Borinquen“ which included many popular boleros. Five of those songs were later released in a remix album intended for club dancing.

1998 saw the release of Es Mi Tiempo with the hit song, “Como Duele”, The album went gold in Spain where he followed up with a series of concerts. The next year he back home, releasing Lleno de Vida which earned him grammy nomination and paved the way for another concert appearance in San Juan, where he recorded his first “live” concert album.

Discography

Serenata (2003)

Manny Manuel (2002)

The Best... (2002)

En Vivo [live] (2000)

Lleno de Vida (1999)

Es Mi Tiempo (1998)

El Trio (1997)

Autentico (1996)