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N.Y. Encyclopedia of Famous Puerto Ricans
Date of birth (location)
28 June 1968
San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico
Elmer Figueroa de Arce, better known as Chayanne, was born in Puerto Rico, the third of five siblings. He is married to Venezuelan Marilisa Maronese, with whom he has a son, Lorenzo Valentino.
Born Elmer Figueroa Arce on 28 June, 1968, in Río Piedras, Puerto Rico, Chayanne's start was in school productions in the 70's. He also sang with his brothers in church productions and in 1975, he sang with "La Pandilla", a band consisting of youths. These were the first steps belying the fame that come to him.
During the early years, Chayanne accompanied his sister Clara in her audition only to be surprised when he was selected to be part of a musical project called "Los Chicos".
During the golden age of Menudo, Los Chicos served as a workshop where Chayanne could discover his artistic talents. The group gave him exposure throughout Puerto Rico and even internationally, with which he travelled to Central and South America.
With the release of his first solo album, the young Puerto Rican started on his plan to conquer Central America. His Chayanne es mi nombre album was the success he had hoped for 1985, with the hit song "Y qué culpa tengo yo". With music videoas filmed in Costa Rica and Mexico, Chayanne multinational relationships resulted two years later in another album called "Sangre latina". But he had not found the success yet in his native Puerto Rico comparable to his fame in Central America.
In 1987 Chayanne signed a contract with CBS International Records. He produced Fiesta en América, which was later re-released in a dance version with arangements by Pablo Flores, which gave impulse to Chayanne's popularity. Songs such as "Para tenerte otra vez", "Violeta" and the ballad "Peligro de amor", were strong hits across the world. Similarly, the album was released again as his first production in Portugese, while he won the Golden Torch award at the Viña del Mar Festival.
A year later, Chayanne consolidated his position in the popular latin music scene with his second album, Chayanne, with the Sony label, which included hits such as "Fuiste un trozo de hielo en la escarcha", "Este ritmo se baila así", "Fantasías" and "Tu pirata soy yo". This last song was used as the theme for for a television soap opera "Sombras del pasado", in which Chayanne performed along with Puerto Rican acting luminaries Daniel Lugo y con Alba Nydia Díaz.
Chayanne, who caught the attention of the television industry with his acting performaces had already tried his luck in the field drama and comedy. He had acted in a Mexican melodrama "Pobre juventud", while in Puerto Rico he had previously acted in the soap opera "Tormento", the comedy "Los nietos y los suegros" on Wapa Televisión and the acclaimed mini-series "Las divorciadas".
It was during 1988 that Chayanne became a Pepsi spokesman. The company launched a national campaign in English and Spanish, across the United States with the broadcast of the Grammy's. That same year, Chayanne won the first Latin artist award from MTV for his music video "Este ritmo se baila así". The video was on the hit list for 65 weeks and won him his first Grammy nomination in the Latin Pop Music category in 1989.
At the start of 1990, Chayanne began the decade with a classic in his repertoire: "Tiempo de vals". Presenting an excellent video of the song written by Nacjo Cano, the musical recording was a success with songs such as "Completamente enamorados", "Daría cualquier cosa", "Simon Sez", "Soleil, soleil" and "No pensar en ti". A mature and sensual Chayanne appeared in 1991 with his album Provo came. The record was noted for the songs "El centro de mi corazón", "Todo el mundo necesita un beso", "Extasis" and the title song. As a result of this effort, Chayanne was named Special Ambassador by the International Immigrants Foundation of the United Nations in 1992. In Puerto Rico, "Provócame" paved the way for a successful sell-out concert in San Juan. The event, part of a tour consisting of 84 concerts in 17 countries was choreographed by Jerry Evans. Before his performance, in the streets of San Juan, fans praised his stellar work on the international scene.
One of the most emotional and notable moments of his career was lived out in 1983 when Chayanne closed the Central American Games hosted by the city of Ponce, Puerto Rico, with his musical performance.
His career reached a high in 1994 when he recorded Influencias; a production that Chayanne wanted to dedicate to all those artists that, in one way or another, had influenced his music. Songs such as "La vida sigue igual" by Julio Iglesias, "Amada amante" by Roberto Carlos, "Querida" by Juan Gabriel, "Una muchacha y una guitarra" by Sandro and "Pedro Navaja"by Rubén Blades, formed part of the song selection in the album, which received only a lukewarm review. To this step backwards, was added the split from Gustavo Sánchez Más, Chayanne's manager until that time. His career had lapsed into silence while the young artist regrouped.
During this period, Chayanne was the first singer of his generation to appear in Playgirl magazine, although not nude. He appeared on the cover and other mainstream United States magazines, such as People, touted the talent of this Puerto Rican artist in their pages.
Without a doubt, the greatest glory in the career of this young artists, came with his performance in a feature film "Linda Sara", together with Dayanara Torres, Miss Universe of 1993. Chayanne acheived his dream of acting in a full length feature film made in his own country, Puerto Rico. The film was directed by Jacobo Morales, Puerto Rican film-maker, whose prior film "Lo que le pasó a Santiago" was given an Oscar nomination for best foreign film in 1990. "Linda Sara" had a successful run in the nation's that season and won an award at the Latin American Cinema Festival in Trieste, Italy and the People's Choice Award in the Mar del Plata Cinema Festival in Argentina. The film included the performance of the famous Puerto Rican danza which the film's title was based on.
In 1996, a new recording, Volver a nacer brought Chayanne back to popularity in the music world. Songs such as "Sólo traigo mi ritmo", "Tal vez es amor", "Baila, baila", "Solamente tu amor" and the album's title song, were widely played. The album paved the way to television contract with Mexico Televisa. As an exclusive artist of the production company, the Puerto Rican idol played an autobiographical role in a soap opera that took the name of his latest album.
Clearly reconquering the favor of fans in Latin America, Chayanne started a new Latin American tour which proved successful while in his native Puerto Rico, he returned to the concert stage in San Juan to win the applause of his fans with the event.
In the midst of the rebirth of his musical career, Chayanne reappeared in the United States cinema with the movie "Dance with Me". Costaring with Vanessa Williams, the versatile artist captivated the critics with acting as well as his dancing abilities. He also sang in one of the movie's musical numbers; a duet with Williams entitled "You're My Home", with versions in English and Spanish.
As the decade drew to a close, Chayanne reinforced his position in the popular music world with his seventh solo album Atado a Tu Amor. With respectable reviews and hit songs "Atado a Tu Amor" and "Salomé", which ran up the charts, finally re-establishing his prominence in the Latin American music world. The album won him a second Grammy nomination for Latin Popular Ballad in 1999, for which he competed with internationally respected fellow Puerto Rican, José Feliciano, and Ricky Martin for his album "Vuelve".
Movies and TV series
"Provócame" (2001) TV Series .... Pedro Balmaceda
Dance with Me (1998) .... Rafael Infante
Linda Sara (1994) .... Young Alejandro
"Volver a empezar" (1994) TV Series .... Chayanne
1988 Chayanne  Sony
1989 Chayanne  Sony
1989 Chayanne Sony/Latin
1990 Tiempo de Vals Discos CBS
1992 Provocame Discos CBS
1994 Influencias Sony Discos
1996 Volver a Nacer Sony
1998 Atado a Tu Amor Sony
1999 Es Mi Nombre RCA
2000 Simplemente Sony
2001 Simplemente [Bonus Track] Sony
2001 Sus Canciones Columbia
2002 Chayanne [Miami] Miami Records
2002Sangre Latina RCA
2002 Coleccion de Oro Sony
2002 Grandes Exitos Sony Discos
2003 Greatest Hits [Australia Bonus Tracks] Sony
Links and references
Boricuas Hall Of Fame Home Page
Saturday January 10, 2004