One of the greatest Latin Hip Hop/Freestyle/Pop divas to come out of the 1980’s music scene is the legendary Lisa Velez also known as Lisa Lisa of the 80’s supergroup Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam. Produced by Full Force, the group shot straight up the charts and went platinum several times over their first few albums. Their freshman album “Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam with Full Force”, had her break-out hits “I Wonder If I Take You Home” and “Can You Feel The Beat”. Those two songs alone helped to launch the underground genre of “Freestyle music” into the mainstream.
Then the amazing 80’s supergroup did it again with the second album “Spanish Fly” by crossing over to the pop charts with mega-hits like “Head to Toe” and “Lost In Emotion”. If that wasn’t epic enough they sealed that success with their third album “Straight to the Sky” releasing another music number one pop single called “Little Jackie”. Needless to say, Columbia records had instant superstars on their roster of artists.
As the ’80s faded out and the ’90s came in with a new sound merging both the dance music and hip hop seamlessly, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam rode that wave to a fourth album “Straight Out of Hell’s Kitchen”. The group collaborated with 2 of the 90’s hottest producers Robert Clivilles, and the late David Cole, a duo known as C&C Music Factory on a song called “Let The Beat Hit Em”. The song went on to be one of the biggest dance singles of that decade.
The album, “Straight Out Of Hell’s Kitchen, ” was named after Lisa Velez’s childhood neighborhood. The youngest of 10 children, born in the Hell’s Kitchen section of New York City, Lisa aspired to be a singer very early on in life. At age 13, Lisa would sneak out to nightclubs where she met Mike Hughes of ”Cult Jam”. Mike introduced her to Full Force, the guys that would become her life-changing music producers. Full Force’s Bowlegged Lou, Paul Anthony, and B-Fine were immediately impressed with Lisa’s angelic sounding voice. The collective works of producers & artists would soon launch three individuals Lisa Velez, Mike Hughes, and Alex Mosley now known to the world as Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam to super-stardom.
Throughout her journey, Lisa Lisa became the first Latin platinum artist to be recognized nationwide. She has paved the way for some of the Latin female artists to come after her, such as Selena and Jennifer Lopez. As the group went their separate ways in 1994, Lisa released her first solo album “LL77” on Chrysalis records which included a Top 40 hit “Skip To My Lu” and her first Spanish track “Cuando Me Enamore”. Driven, Lisa branched off into the acting world in the mid-’90s. She first gravitated to the theater world performing in Broadway and off-Broadway plays such as “Barrio Babes” and “West Side Story”. Then in 2001, she hit the television airways as a young sharp-witted mother Gloria Morales in the popular Nickelodeon series “Taina” that lasted 2 seasons. Lisa also made an appearance on the hit series Law & Order in 2003 as a desperate mother who made a bad decision to save her terminally ill son’s life and ends up on the wrong side of the law. This role showed the world her acting diversity.
After more than 30 years of being a trailblazer in the music business and gracing the acting world Lisa’s journey is far from over. Lisa and her team Robert Drieslein “Bobby Dee Productions” & “Uncle Snoops Army” the legendary Snoop Dogg himself are working on bringing some amazing things. Lisa Lisa continues to tour the world with her band SoDisrespectful and her dance ensemble. Stay tuned!