JOSÉ FELICIANO was born blind to humble beginnings in Lares, Puerto Rico, one of eleven boys, and moved with his family to NYC at age five. He learned to play the concertina at age six by listening to records and performed at age nine at the Puerto Rican Theater in the Bronx. He taught himself to play guitar, again by listening to records, practicing for as many as fourteen hours a day. Listening to ‘50s rock-n-roll inspired him to sing, and at 17, he quit school to help support his family, playing in coffee houses in Greenwich Village. He played his first professional gig that year in Detroit. Shortly thereafter, a music critic writing of his performance at Gerde’s Folk City referred to him as a “10-fingered wizard who romps, runs, rolls, picks and reverberates his six strings in an incomparable fashion.” Feliciano’s major break was in the Spanish market when, after an amazing performance at the 1966 Mar del Plata Festival in Argentina, RCA executives in Buenos Aires asked him to stay and record an album of Spanish music. The first single, “Poquita Fe” was a smash hit, and “Usted” was even bigger. Infusing long-time standard boleros with his own guitar and vocal stylings, he became the teen idol of the day. Two more albums followed, and Feliciano became a star throughout South and Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. RCA executives in LA then brought him to producer Rick Jarrard, who recommended that Feliciano record a Doors’ song that Jarrard had heard him sing in concert – “Light My Fire.” By the time he was 23, José Feliciano had performed throughout most of the world and earned five GRAMMY nominations, winning two for his album Feliciano! in 1968. In 1970, he composed and recorded his everlasting Christmas song “Feliz Navidad”, which has been named one of the “25 Greatest Holiday Songs of the Century” by ASCAP.
Recognized as the first Latin Artist to cross over into the English music market, José Feliciano opened the doors to others who now play an important part in the American music industry. His compositions have been featured in television, films, and on the stage. In 1997, PolyGram released Feliciano’s most important recording in many years, Señor Bolero, marking a return to his musical roots. The album’s first single “Me Has Echado Al Olvido” reached platinum status in under six weeks and the album went double platinum, earning José his fifteenth GRAMMY nomination, for Best Latin Pop Performance. 2007’s The Soundtrax of my Life was a collection of original songs recorded over a period of five years, and 2008’s Señor Bachata won a Latin GRAMMY for Best Contemporary Tropical Album as well as a GRAMMY Award for Best Tropical Album. Feliciano has been honored with numerous prestigious awards including a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (1987), Billboard’s Lifetime Achievement Award (1966), the naming of the NYC Public School 155 in East Harlem as the José Feliciano Performing Arts School (1996), the Helen Keller Personal Achievement Award (2004), and the LARAS GRAMMY Award for Lifetime Achievement (2011). He has released nearly 70 albums, including 2012’s The King, José Feliciano’s Tribute to Elvis Presley, 2017’s As You See Me Now, and 2020’s Behind This Guitar.
This year, he will be back with a beautiful concert for the whole family!