Updated: Oct 12
Jacquelyn "Jaci" Davette Velasquez (born October 15, 1979) is an American actress and contemporary Christian and Latin pop singer and songwriter, performing in both English and Spanish.
Velasquez has sold almost three million albums in the United States, recorded three Platinum and three Gold albums, and recorded 16 singles that hit No. 1 plus six more that entered the top 10. She received a Latin Billboard Music Award in 2002 for her album "Mi Corazón," eight Dove Awards, including New Artist and Female Vocalist of the Year, as well as three Grammy nominations, and an American Music Award nomination in the category of "Favorite Latin Artist" in 2002. From 2010 to 2016, Velasquez co-hosted “The Family-Friendly Morning Show,” a syndicated morning radio program with Doug Griffin.
Velasquez was born in Houston, Texas. She is of Mexican descent. She grew up in an evangelical church where her parents were both singers and pastors. At the age of nine, she began traveling with her father, who by that time was a full-time singing evangelist. She began by singing backup, then later sang solo, releasing three independent records. It was while on the road that she was discovered by a representative of Myrrh Records.
Velasquez released her national debut album Heavenly Place on May 13, 1996; five of its songs became No. 1 hits. The album was later certified Platinum. Velasquez has been distinguished as the fastest selling solo debut recording artist in her genre and the first solo artist in Christian music history to reach gold status with a debut album. She has since released seven more English-language albums, two of which were certified Gold. Five Latin albums garnishing amazing success with Llegar A Ti going double-platinum and Mi Corazón going platinum. She has produced sixteen No. 1 Christian radio hits and six other top-10 singles, and has won nine Dove awards, including New Artist of the Year and two Female Vocalist of the Year wins. Velasquez has also done ad campaigns for Pepsi, Target, Doritos, John Freida's Frizz-Ease hair products and Helzberg Diamonds.
In 1998, she signed to Sony Discos for a four-album deal and was introduced to Rudy Pérez, who produced her first Spanish-language crossover album Llegar a Ti which became a Top 5 hit on the Billboard Hot Latin Albums chart. This album enabled Velasquez to achieve crossover success by building a fan base among Hispanics. Her first single, "Llegar a Ti," topped both the Billboard Hot Latin Tracks and Hot Latin Pop Songs charts and became the first Christian song to top both charts. The song also gave her a Latin Grammy Award nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.
In 2001, she released her second Spanish-language album, Mi Corazón. The album's lead single, "Como Se Cura Una Herida," topped the Billboard Hot Latin Tracks and became one of the biggest singles of the year, receiving multiple award nominations and wins. The album received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Latin Pop Album. "Como Se Cura Una Herida" charted at No. 1 simultaneously with the song "Adore" at No. 1 on the CCM (Inspirational) chart giving Velasquez two simultaneous No. 1s in two different markets.
Her Latin music success includes five Spanish-language releases, two No. 1 Latin Billboard Singles, two Platinum albums, a Premio Lo Nuestro Award for New Artist of the Year, two Billboard Latin Music Awards, and four Dove Awards for Spanish Language Album of the Year. In September 2008, Velasquez was chosen by the State Department's Bureau of International Information Programs as one of the 15 Prominent Hispanic-Americans in the Arts in America.
More information on Jaci Velasquez at Wikipedia:
My Favorite Songs (1990) (independent cassette only release)
Help Me (1992) (independent cassette only release)
Keep the Fire Burning (1994) (independent CD release)
Mi Historia Musical (2004) (compilation album)
Beauty Has Grace (2005)
On My Knees: The Best of Jaci Velasquez (2006) (compilation album)
Open House (EP) (2007)
Love Out Loud (2008)
Buenas Noches mi Sol /Canciones De Cuna (2012)