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Ivy Queen Biography
"There is only one significant female reggaeton rapper, Ivy Queen” – New York Times
For more than a decade, she has reigned as the woman who forged an entire genre, enriched the soundscape of Latin music and launched a musical movement to international success. Now, Her Majesty the diva, Ivy Queen, is back – with Sentimiento under the Univision Music Group label.
This extraordinary release of 12 new songs shares thoughts that reflect the emotions of a passionate heart. The first cut, “Que Lloren,” was written by Ivy Queen herself.
Reggaeton was born in the streets, a tantalizing blend of hip hop, rap and reggae, and first made a splash on the music scene in the nightclubs of Puerto Rico, permeated with the hopes and dreams of all those who aspire to more. Born as Martha Ivelisse Pesante on March 4, 1972 in the Puerto Rican town of Añasco, and educated in New York, Ivy Queen succeeded in capturing the sentiment of oppressed youths struggling to make it, via her urban music.
It was in 1995 when Ivy, who by that time had returned to Puerto Rico, joined the popular reggaeton-rap group The Noise, headed up by DJ Negro. With the first woman in their ranks, sales reached a half million copies. One year later, Ivy launched her solo career and in 1997 she released her album En Mi Imperio, which included the hits "Pon Atención" and "Como Mujer." She collaborated with different musicians and Latin music producers of key importance, including Domingo Quiñones, DLG, Alex D’Castro, Cuco Peña and Sergio George.
By 1998, Ivy had conquered fans all over Puerto Rico and Latin America, and had released the hit album “The Original Rude Girl," which included the duet “In The Zone” with Wyclef Jean, co-founder of The Fugees; this production reflected the original artistic vision of Ivy and earned her an even greater number of fans around the world. From the United States to Mexico and Spain, from Panama to the Dominican Republic, Ivy became the female leader of her genre as well as a spokesperson for female power, and became known as the Queen of Reggaeton.
After her move to New York in 2000, Ivy continued seeking out new collaborations and experimented in the interest of broadening the scope of her music, working on various interesting productions. PepsiCo named her the musical spokesperson for Mountain Dew. In 2001 and 2002, she appeared in compilations of smash hits such as Boricuas NY, DJ Nelson’s: The Flow, Kilates and The Majestic.
In 2003 she launched Diva, after five years with no albums. Diva was a veritable compendium of her artistic passion, femininity, and culture. She followed it up in 2004 with Diva Platinum Edition, with pieces she wrote and co-produced herself.
As a composer, Ivy is inspired by her own experiences and by her most sincere and spontaneous emotions. “I sing what's real, what I feel in the moment," she says. "My songs are a reflection of what happens day to day."
As a singer, Ivy is in powerful command, always with an astonishingly tough, strong stage presence.
"Flashback" is a fusion of the past, present, and future, consisting of a totally contagious medley of the best hits and entrancing rhythms of Ivy, including “Quiero Bailar,” "Te he Querido, Te He llorado,” and the unstoppable “En La Disco.” The album also offers four new pieces of interest produced by Rafi Mercenario, the most highly requested producer in reggaeton. These new songs include Ivy's latest hit, "Cuentale," as well as "Marroneo," "Libertad," and a cover of a hit from the late Tejano singer Selena, "Si una Vez." "I feel honored to be able to sing one of Selena's songs," declares Ivy humbly. "She was the first artist to make a successful crossover before Jennifer Lopez and all the rest."
From the time Ivy first broke onto the music scene with her unstoppable talent, she has always been a hit with fans not only because of her talent and charisma but because of her ability to connect with her fans and her down-to-earth nature, qualities that earned her the title of Grand Marshal in 2004 and Goodwill Ambassador in 2005 for the National Puerto Rican Parade of New York City, where the artist had the opportunity to share directly with her beloved "NewYorican" fans. Ivy Queen was also the recipient of two awards at the People's Choice Reggaeton Awards 2005 and 2004 in Puerto Rico. The People's Choice award is given by the public, who chooses their favorite artists in various categories. Last year, the singer was honored by her fans at the Premios Juventud Awards for her musical career. Also in 2006, Ivy Queen was the only artist of her genre invited to participate in the tribute to Hector Lavoe in Madison Square Garden, where the princess of salsa India assured her that she would be a complete hit – which she was. There, Ivy sang the song "Calle Luna Calle Sol" of Hector Lavoe.
Ivy's other honors include:
• Being chosen for the Campaign to Fight Domestic Violence Against Women in Puerto Rico
• Chosen by Latina Magazine as one of the most important Latina women.
• Honored by the Premios Juventud Awards for her musical career
• Received the Furia Musical Award in 2006 for "Best Reggaeton Singer of the Year"
“In Sentimiento we find that love is what keeps us alive, whether it's a breakup or reconciliation," says Ivy. "Each guest artist is there to tell the listeners that we have all loved at least once in our lives. The idea of creating such a profound album is based on the fact that my parents raised me for corta venas, to love passionately. And I wanted my generation to have songs that express what they are going through when they are in love."
Sentimiento captures not only the reality of women in love, but reveals to us the voice of men whom no one can save from the clutches of love.
“I want people to listen to my growth as an artist and as a woman," says Ivy Queen. "I want people listening to my album to feel this growth."