Yolandita Monge at her TV show De Mujeres
|Birth name||Yolanda Rosa Monge Betancourt|
|Born||September 16, 1955|
|Origin||Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico|
|Occupations||Singer-Songwriter and Actress|
1968–presentRoma Entertainment (2012–present)
Ole Music (2005)
Warner Music (2002)
WEA Latina (1992–1998)
Coco Records (1975–1978)
Tecca Records (1974)
Patty Records (1969–1972)
|Website||Yolandita página oficial|
Yolandita Monge (born September 16, 1955) is an international singer and actress from Puerto Rico and the first Puerto Rican female singer to be nominated for the Grammy Music Awards. She has been in the music business since adolescence, and has recorded over thirty albums through her career. She is widely recognized as one of Puerto Rico's Divas.
Early life and family
Yolandita Monge, was born as Yolanda Rosa Monge Betancourt in Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico on September 16, 1955. She is the daughter of Iris Delia Betancourt and Hector Monge. She lived the first seven years of her life in New York City and then came back to Puerto Rico. In the beginning of the 70s, she met the Uruguayan Alfredo Lorenzo, in New York, and married him on November 13, 1975. They had a daughter, Noelia, but the marriage ended. In 1983, she married Venezuelan singer Balbino, whom she met in Buga, Colombia, and is the father of second daughter Paola. Years later they divorced. On December 31, 1989, Yolandita married Puerto Rican former executive of SBS Radio Broadcast Stations in Puerto Rico., Topy Mamery, who is her manager and father to her only son Imanol.
Monge started out by winning a radio contest in 1966 (at the age of eleven). Later on, she made her TV debut on Luis Vigoreaux's show, Luis Vigoreaux Presenta. She had a regular section in that show. In 1968, she signed with record label Patty Records, which released her first album, named Puerto Rico's Poignant... Powerful... Incomparable....
It was "El Estornudo" ("The Sneeze"), and her cover of Italian hit "Vida"' ("Life"), that made her a national star after she released her first album. At that young age, Yolandita would perform with legendary Argentinian singer Libertad Lamarque and then sing at the Festival De La Canción Nueva York (New York Song Festival). Soon, she found another job on TV, this time on Tommy Muñiz's show, El Show Del Mediodía.
She followed up with some other hits in Puerto Rico, but then she moved to Mexico, where she signed with TECA records and had hits such as "Vete de Aqui" ("Get Out of Here"), "Dos Caminos Diferentes" ("Two Different Ways"), "Por qué Papá?" ("Why, Dad?") and "La Voz Del Silencio" ("The Voice of Silence").
1975 was a big year for Monge because she released a song named "Cierra Los Ojos" ("Close Your Eyes"), which earned her wild fame in such South American countries as Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru, and Argentina, and also in the Dominican Republic. Yolandita was now an international star.
Soon after, she would be signed by Coco Records of New York, and her career kept going on a steady rise internationally. She sang at the Carnegie Hall and was backed up by her artistic godmother, legendary Argentinian singer and actress, Libertad Lamarque.
International success: 1980s
In 1980, international label CBS Records International, (now Sony Discos), then Julio Iglesias' label, signed her up into their line-up. Tanto Amor (So much love) composed by Lou Briel, was the first hit song of that album named Fantasia produced by Pepe Luis Soto. She then released another album Historia de Amour which included many top hits. In 1983, she won the Buga Festival, in Buga, Colombia with a song that she wrote her self called Sí (Yes).
Monge went into a stride in the middle 1980s, when she released what possibly is one of her greatest album ever: Luz de Luna (Moonlight). This album included her classics "Te Veo Pasar" (I See You Walk By), "Señor Del Pasado" (Man from the Past), and "El Poder del Amor", which was a cover of the popular song "The Power of Love" (most familiar in the Céline Dion version). With this album, she became the first Puerto Rican female singer to earn a gold record.
She came back with the production of Laberinto de Amor (Labyrinth of Love), which earned her another gold album and later went platinum. The album was nominated for a Grammy Award, years before the Latin Grammy was created. In this album, she sang the best Spanish version of "On My Own" ("Solo Yo") which is a song from the soundtrack of the famous Broadway musical Les Misérables. Yolandita was a household name. This album earned her a Grammy nomination in the Best Latin Pop artist category. With this nomination she became the first Puerto Rican female singer to be nominated to the Grammy Music Awards, joined by fellow Puerto Rican singer Lunna, as well for the same nomination. The album also went gold in many countries including the United States.
In 1988, she returned to the platinum level with her album, Vivencias (Life's Experiences). Yolandita considers this album her best album ever and many fans and non-fans agree with her. This album included such songs as: "Acariciame" ("Caress Me") and "Este Amor Que Hay Que Callar" ("This Love That We Must Keep Quiet") composed for her by the Spanish singer and author Braulio. She became the first Puerto Rican singer to win a gold album record, a platinum record and a double platinum.
Yolandita was claimed by the America's music magazine Billboard in 1988 as "The best-selling Latin artist of the year" due to being the first Puerto Rican female artist to sell millions of records. She also was claimed by the international music press as "The most important Latin singer of the decade" (1980–1990). NBC traveled all the way to Puerto Rico to interview Yolandita because they consider her the most relevant artist of the Latin music industry and she was even compared with Madonna. In the interview the reporter said: "Yolandita has no plans to make the crossover, so Madonna can relax."
Yolandita in the 1990s
After that, she released Portfolio (1990), with the help of Venezuelan singer Ricardo Montaner. With Portfolio, she was able to sing at Puerto Rico's Centro de Bellas Artes (making a new record on sales), and at the Madison Square Garden. With her Tour Cara de Angel (Angel's Face), Yolandita established the records at the Performing Arts Center of Puerto Rico (Centro de Bellas Artes), becoming the biggest singer selling out all the concerts, without courtesy tickets, up to 12 concerts of the same tour in 1992, breaking her own record.
In 1994, she became the first Puerto Rican female to land a commercial deal with Pepe Jeans London and also for Diet Pepsi. During that year, Monge released Fiebre de Luna, along with a change of image. The hit album included compositions from Las Diego and produced the singles "A Pesar del Tiempo" and "Como Puedes".
In 1995, she teamed with singer Ricardo Montaner to do a concert and they earned a Guinness World Records as becoming the first singers to perform 3 concerts in 3 different cities (Mayagüez, Ponce and San Juan) - all in the same day. This could be done, using air transportation by helicopter. It was called: El Suceso (The Event).
Monge was honored in 1996 by the Puerto Rican Senate for her long career as a singer and actress. She also earned two of the most prestigious awards of the Latin music industry, Premios Lo Nuestro and Premios Tu Música. Also in 1996, she participated in the annual music video special, produced by Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, dedicated to Bobby Capó, which usually includes only the most important and international singers the island has to offer.
During the late 1990s Monge took a long lay-off from her career to be with her family and to act in a Colombian telenovela and other projects.
In 1997, Yolandita released Mi Encuentro, which included bomba and plena, a puertorrican rhythm. The album was a hit and cemented the singer's ability to tacke any kind of music. The singer returned with another change of image and to her signature strong ballads with the album Siento in 1999. The album was certified gold and included the hit "Mala Sangre", an ode to her detractors.
In late 2000, Yolandita released her second live album Yolandita En Vivo recorded at Centro de Bellas Artes of Puerto Rico. It included many of her early hits and the duet "Sobrevivire" with her second daughter Paola.
Yolandita took some time off and returned with Sexto Sentido in 2002, which included a collaboration with her eldest daughter and singer Noelia. This album was produced by Colombian producer Kike Santander and was certified gold.
During June 2003, Yolandita was part of a line of witnesses in a domestic violence trial with actor and model Osvaldo Ríos as defendant. Her testimony was key for the prosecution as she had witnessed the aftermath of an encounter in the face of Osvaldo's girlfriend. Later that year the defendant was found guilty. She stand out in a great campaign against domestic violence.
In 2004 she conducted her TV show for Telemundo called De Mujeres (Of Women). In this variety show she performed comedy skits and interviewed both local and international stars. She also sang duets with home grown singers like: Julieta Venegas, Luis Fonsi, Lucecita Benítez, Víctor Manuelle, Chucho Avellanet, Gilberto Santa Rosa, La India, Gisselle, Lissette, Tito Nieves, Dagmar, Andy Montañez, Danny Rivera, and many more. These performances were once in a lifetime duets that graced Puerto Rico's silver screen and kept the captive audience that followed the show wanting more.
After five years of not releasing a new album, Monge released on June 5, 2007, her latest album Demasiado Fuerte. It debuted number one in Billboard Latin Pop Albums making her return to music one of the greatest comebacks ever seen in the Latin Market. The album was produced by José Luis Pagán and Jorge Luis Piloto. Also, the album included the hits "Y Todavia" and the title track, "Demasiado Fuerte", both of which were remixed in reggaeton style and became hits in the urban radio stations in Puerto Rico and the Latin communities in United States.
On November 2007, Yolandita returned to Centro de Bellas Artes with five sold-out concerts. The singer received the best reviews of her career with those performances, which included duets with guest Glenn Monroig. On October 6, 2008, Monge debuted a single titled "Mala" in the radio of Puerto Rico. After that, Yolandita recorded a remix single with reggaeton artist Tito el Bambino called "El Amor", which used her same-titled smash hit from the 80s to his version. The song made it to the #1 spot in the Hot Latin Songs Billboard Chart.
On November 13, 2012, Yolandita released her new album Más Para Dar, with lyrics written by herself and José Luis Pagán. The albums was produced by José Luis Pagán and it follows the same musical and lyrical style as her previous records.
Yolandita, the actress
Monge has had a very distinguished acting career, she's acted in more than ten Spanish soap operas and theatre plays. Among the telenovelas, she acted in: Vida (Life), (where she performed with Johanna Rosaly), La Mentira (The Lie), Poquita Cosa (Small Thing), Escándalo (Scandal) (where she acted alongside Andrés García, Iris Chacón and Charytín), and Ave de Paso (Bird of Passage), where she played the main role, and sang the theme song: "Nunca Te Diré Adiós", composed for her by Lou Briel. This song was a big hit in 1989, and it was included in a Special Edition Album: Yolandita Monge Live from New York. She also acted in the original version of the Colombian mega-hit soap opera, La Viuda de Blanco along with Osvaldo Ríos, Maria Helena Doehring, Jorge Enrique Abello and Danilo Santos. From 1996–1997, this soap opera was translated in more than 32 languages. Her theatrical debut was in La visita de la bestia, which is a Spanish version of Extremities, and she got good reviews from the press by playing the very dramatic main role. She also earned international recognition playing the Greek-soprano, Maria Callas, in the Spanish version of the Tony Award winner play Master Class (Clase Maestra) in 2003, for the Latin community in the United States and Latin America. Yolandita made all the critics bow when they saw her rendition of the late-diva. A year later she landed the lead female role in the musical La Verdadera Historia de Pedro Navaja (The True Story of Mack The Knife), opposite Gilberto Santa Rosa. For her performance as Diana la Maromera (Diana the Juggler), in this musical, she got good reviews. For the silver screen, she did the 1999 TV movie called Ocho años de Dolor (Eight Years of Pain), where she played a woman who is kidnnaped by a famous Puerto Rican serial killer Toño Bicicleta. Yolandita's most recent acting role was in the Puerto Rican movie Mujeres sin Hombres (Women without Men), in 2006, She joined Sully Diaz and Claribel Medina in this story about 3 women and the revenge of men. After that in 2010, Yolandita starred in the first episode of the Telemundo TV Series called "Extremos". In it she played the roles of twin sister. The reviews of Yolandita's acting role were good in this dramatic role. The critics indicaded that "...When it comes to acting, Yolandita can be intense and excellent as she is as a singer..."
Awards and recognitions
Here is an incomplete list of Yolandita's awards, honors and recognitions.
- 1983: Buga Song Festival - Won for the song Si.
- 1985: The first Puerto Rican female singer to earn a Gold record.
- 1987: Nomination. Grammy Award for Best Latin Pop Album for Laberinto De Amor.
- 1988: The best-selling Latin artist of the year, according to Billboard Magazine.
- 1989: Nomination for Premio Lo Nuestro Best Female Ballad/Pop Singer
- 1989: Paoli Award for Best Video of The Year for the video clip Por ti.
- 1989: The first Puerto Rican female singer to earn a Platinum record.
- 1992: The first artist selling-out all the concerts, up to 12 concerts of the same tour.
- 1993: ACE Awards - Special Award.
- 1995: Guinness World Record - The first singer to perform 3 concerts in 3 different cities in the same day.
- 1996: The Puerto Rican Senate Special Honor for her long career as a singer and actress.
- 1997: Tu Musica Award - Projection in abroad.
- 1997: Quijote Award for Best Musical Transmission (Cita con las Reinas).
- 2000: Cassandra International Award.
- 2001: A Star in the Boulevard of Stars in Santo Domingo.
- 2002: Tu Musica Awards - Best Ballad Record by a female singer (Sexto Sentido).
- 2003: An Award for her Trajectory as an Actress from The PR Government Florida District.
- 2003 Dance Show of the Year: Yolandita Monge Sexto Sentido Concert.
- 2006 Our pride Award - Institute of New York City.
- 2007 Puerto Rican Pride Honor - 21st anniversary of Comité Puertorriqueño – a Puerto Rican heritage organization
- 2008 Nomination. Spanish GLAAD Media Awards for Outstanding Music Artist.
- 2008 Nomination. Billboard Latin Music Awards for Best Latin Pop Female Album for Demasiado Fuerte.
- 2008 Finalist. Special Tu Mundo Award in Billboard Latin Music Awards
- List of famous Puerto Ricans
- French immigration to Puerto Rico
- List of Puerto Rican songwriters
- Music of Puerto Rico
- Pop culture in Puerto Rico
- prpop.org - Yolandita's Biography from the National Culture Foundation of Puerto Rico.
- musicofpuertorico.com - Yolandita's entry, biography and discography.