Quien es la reyna of Latin soul?
She's the original fly mami, around even before Celia Cruz. Born in San Pedrito,Cuba in 1936, La lupe, born as Lupe Yoli, was a mix of many different elements. She survived domestic abuse, a single mother of two children, a practicioner of Santeria turned evangelical Christian later in life, she was the hottest thing on the nightclub scene of La Habana by 1957.
She began her first shot at stardom as a teenager when she won a radio contest to meet Olga Guillot, a popular Cuban singer at the time, and sing on the radio. From there, her first performance at club La Red in 1958 marked her official start into fame, when she told pianist Hormero Balboa to play 'faster and faster'.
She left her home during the Cuban Revolution and embarked to New York with no money in her pocket. She became friends and recorded with Afro Cuban percussionist Mongo Santamaria. He introduced her to the "American" jazz audience, and soon, Tito Puente stole her away from Mongo's band when she became the 'hottest thing' here in the US.
She soon toured the Latin music circuit in the U.S., Venezuela, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Panama and Spain. A while later, Tito Puente began to record with Celia Cruz, and La Lupe struck out on her own. She performed and made appearances on English television shows. Fania Records, which was key to popularizing salsa music in the U.S., dropped La Lupe from their label in 1975 when her career was on the decline and their new star was Celia Cruz.
After this, she did become destitute and for close to ten years, she was homeless and wandering. She came back in 1985 and spent some more time in music until she passed in 1972.
Her total count of albums recorded sits at 32. Pretty damn amazing if you ask me.
Besito Pa Ti - Mongo Santamaria
Fiebre - La Lupe