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Chayanne

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Biography

Beginning in the late '80s, Chayanne, one of Latin pop's premier heartthrobs, sustained a bountiful hitmaking career as a balladeer and even found time to pursue an acting career on the side. Born Elmer Figueroa-Arce on June 28, 1968, in San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico, the singer began his career in 1979 at age 11, when he joined the Puerto Rican boy band Los Chicos. Designed to rival Menudo, which was the preeminent boy band of the era, Los Chicos failed to reach a comparably feverish level of popularity, though they were commercially successful enough to warrant a made-for-TV film, Conexión Caribe (1984), as well as a weekly TV show on Puerto Rico's WAPA-TV. Los Chicos released five albums -- Para Amar (1980), Puerto Rico (1980), Viva el Amor (1982), Bailando al Ritmo de la Lluvia (1983), and Conexión Caribe (1984) -- before ending their run in 1984. Almost immediately, Chayanne embarked on a solo career, debuting with Chayanne Es Mi Nombre (1984) for RCA Records. Sangre Latina (1986) followed, but it wasn't until Chayanne moved to Sony for a successive pair of eponymous albums in 1988 and 1989 that his solo career began to bear fruit. His 1989 album in particular was a hit, earning him a Grammy nomination for Best Latin Pop Performance; major hits included "Fiesta en America," "Violeta," "Te Deseo," and "Para Tenerte Otra Vez," which were re-recorded in Portuguese, as was the remainder of the album itself, for a successful Brazilian crossover. Also in 1989, Chayanne notably signed a contract with Pepsi to record the first Spanish-language commercial aired in the United States on a major TV network without subtitles or dubbing, debuted during the Grammy Awards that year. Henceforth Chayanne would enjoy regular success, releasing hit albums roughly every two years: Tiempo de Vals (1990), Provocame (1992), Influencias (1994), Volver a Nacer (1996), Atado a Tu Amor (1998), Simplemente (2000), Sincero (2003), Cautivo (2005), Mi Tiempo (2007), and No Hay Imposibles (2010). Each sold better than its predecessor, for the most part. Greatest-hits compilations such as Grandes Exitos (2002) and Desde Siempre (2005), and live albums like Vivo (2008) and A Solas con Chayanne (2012), would also be issued from time to time. Chayanne's hits are too numerous to list, though it is worth pointing out his particularly industrious association with songwriter Estéfano. In addition to singing, Chayanne is a gifted dancer and actor, with a growing number of telenovela and film roles to his credit, including as a vampire in the TV mini-series Gabriel: Amor Inmortal, and as the male lead in the Spanish dub of Disney's animated Rapunzel tale Tangled. ~ Jason Birchmeier
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