Born Olga Teresa Tañón on April 13, 1967, in Santurce, Puerto Rico; youngest child of Carmen and José Tañón; married Juan Gonzalez (Major League baseball player), 1998; divorced, 2000; married Billy Denizard, 2002; children: (with Gonzalez) Gabriela. Addresses: Management--Olga Tañón Music, Inc., P.O. Box 50599, Levittown Station, Toa Baja, Puerto Rico 00950-0599. Website--Olga Tañón Official Website: http://www.olgatanon.com.

A beautiful face, a husky alto, and an energetic rapport with her audiences characterize only part of Olga Tañón's appeal. Since she first started performing solo in 1992, Tañón has established herself as one of the leading merengue performers, standing out in the traditionally male genre. Her merengue albums have sold millions of copies, earning fans across the Americas and in Europe. Tañón's forays into pop have widened her appeal. Mario Tarradell of the Dallas Morning News wrote of her, "Not since Celia Cruz has Latin music seen a female vocalist able to conquer various genres with the raw power of personality."

Born Olga Teresa Tañón on April 13, 1967, in Santurce, Puerto Rico, she is the youngest of four children. Her parents, Carmen and José Tañón, raised Tañón and her siblings, Glory, Junior, and Marie, in a solid working-class neighborhood in Levittown. From an early age Tañón showed a desire to perform. When she was a teenager she auditioned for the merengue group, Las Nenas de Ringo y Jossie. She had never performed merengue before. In fact, she spent many of her formative years listening to American pop music on the radio. Even though she didn't understand the lyrics, she enjoyed listening to Toto, Air Supply, Chicago, and Madonna. Despite her pop influences, she exhibited a talent for merengue, and she was asked to join the group. She eventually left Las Nenas de Ringo y Jossie and became part of another all-girl group, Chantelle.

While singing with Chantelle, Tañón met representatives of the record company WEA Latina. In 1992 she signed with WEA Latina as a solo artist and released her first album. Sola sold well and introduced Tañón to a world of willing listeners. From her first album until 1999, she released an album a year. Each one was more successful than the last. With her second album, Mujer de Fuego, Tañón was named "Queen of Merengue." But she wasn't satisfied with singing only merengue, and she experimented by adding salsa, cumbia, and ballads to her records. Her third album, Siente El Amor, stretched outside the borders of Puerto Rico and garnered her an audience in the United States, Spain, and Mexico. With her next album she started accumulating awards. In 1995 Tañón won Univision's Premios Lo Nuestro Awards for Best Song, Best Tropical Artist, and Best Tropical Album for Exitos y Mas.

The success of Tañón's previous albums would pale in comparison to the popularity of her 1996 offering. Taking a break from merengue, Tañón released an album of purely pop songs and ballads. Nuevos Senderos sold over 500,000 copies and hit number two in its third week on the Billboard charts. The single from that album, "Basta Ya!" made it to number two on Billboard's Hot Latin Tracks. Tañón didn't abandon merengue even after the success of Nuevos Senderos. She went on to win Grammy Awards for Best Merengue Album for her live release Olga Viva, Viva Olga, in 2000, and for Yo Por Ti, in 2001.

Although she spends countless hours in the studio working on the production side, Tañón enjoys the thrill of performing. She loves the connection she has with her audiences. She told Ramiro Burr of the Houston Chronicle what she gets from the experience: "The stage is more fun because of the reaction of the people, of having contact with the people.... I really enjoy singing to the people and seeing their faces." As a child she was initially afraid to perform in front of others, but despite battling butterflies even now, Tañón puts on an energetic and engaging show.

As her popularity has increased, Tañón has had many honors bestowed upon her. In 1995 she was named "Godmother" of New York's Puerto Rican Day Parade. That same year the Puerto Rican Senate declared November 9th "El Dia de Olga Tañón" (Olga Tañón Day). In 1998 she became the first Puerto Rican to be named the Queen of the Miami Carnival. That same year Tañón received the Casandra Award for Artistic Excellence from the Dominican Republic's Asociacion de Cronistas (ACOARTE). The Casandra Award is the highest recognition given by this group, based in a country that is a stronghold of merengue.

In 1999 Tañón received the Spirit of Hope award at the Billboard International Latin Music Awards. She received this reward as recognition for her charitable work, which is enduring and wide-ranging. Early in her career she began supporting the Pediatric AIDS Center in Puerto Rico. She has sponsored fund-raising events, donated money, and volunteered her time to help this organization. In an agreement with the cereal company Kellogg's, a percentage of sales from boxes with her likeness on them is donated to two shelters run by the Pediatric AIDS Center. In 1999 the donations from this effort had reached $10,000. She also supports Hogar Cuna San Cristobal, a home for pregnant teens who want to give up their children for adoption. A percentage of sales from prepaid phone cards with her image on them is donated to Hogar Cuna San Cristobal.

In 1998, after the destruction wreaked by Hurricane Georges, Tañón and her second husband, baseball player Juan Gonzalez, rented a truck and filled it with supplies. They drove around Puerto Rico delivering essentials like food, clothing, and medicine to those who were affected. In response to another tragedy, she performed at Hispanos Unidos por New York. This concert at Madison Square Garden raised $402,590 for the United Way's September 11th Fund and the Hispanic Federation Fund.

While Tañón has had success in her career, she has not been as successful with her marriages. Her second marriage to Juan Gonzalez was highly publicized from beginning to end. They met in 1994 at a Three Kings Day event she sponsored for the Pediatric AIDS Center. In 1996 they had a daughter, Gabriela. Soon after their December of 1998 wedding, they were embroiled in controversy. Gonzalez was proven to be the father of another woman's child, conceived while he was dating Tañón. Their divorce was finalized in early 2000. Not long after the divorce, Tañón told Burr, "The most romantic things I have now are my daughter, my career and my public." In 2002 she added Billy Denizard to that list in a private marriage ceremony in Orlando, Florida.

Tañón's success is based on many factors. Whether it's her appreciation for her audience or her gifts to humanitarian causes, she gives as much as she gets. Although she is the Queen of Merengue she continues to stretch her boundaries, recently working on a pop song with the Egyptian singer Hakim. She has an impressive list of accomplishments in the music industry and will continue to make valuable contributions to Latin music and to the world.

by Eve M. B. Hermann

Olga Tañón's Career

Began performing with merengue groups Las Nenas de Ringo y Jossie and Chantelle, mid-1980s; signed with WEA Latina as a solo artist, 1992; served as "Godmother" for New York's Puerto Rican Day Parade, 1995; first Puerto Rican chosen to be Queen at Miami Carnival, 1998; performed for Ritmo Latino Music Awards El Premio de la Gente, Universal Studios Florida Mardi Gras, Univision's Live Millennium Telecast, 1999; performed at Festival de Las Americas 2000 in Aruba, 2000; performed at Hispanos Unidos por New York, Madison Square Garden, 2001; performed at Billboard Latin Music Awards, 2002.

Olga Tañón's Awards

Univision, Premios Lo Nuestro Awards for Best Song of the Year, Best Tropical Artist of the Year, Best Tropical Album of the Year, 1995; Puerto Rican Senate declared November 9 "El Dia de Olga Tañón" (Olga Tañón Day), 1995; Dominican Republic Asociacion de Cronistas (ACOARTE), Casandra Award for Artistic Excellence, 1998; Billboard International Latin Music Awards, Spirit of Hope Award, 1999; Grammy Awards, Best Merengue Album for Olga Viva, Viva Olga, 2000, and Yo Por Ti, 2001.

Famous Works

Recent Updates

September 3, 2003: Tanon won a Latin Grammy Award for best pop vocal album by a female for Sobrevivir. Source: Yahoo! News, story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=529&ncid=529&e=1&u=/ap/20030904/ap_en_mu/music_latin_grammys, September 4, 2003.

April 27, 2006: Tanon won two Billboard Latin music awards, including female tropical album of the year for Como Olvidar: Lo Mejor De Olga Tanon, and female Latin tropical airplay song of the year for "Bandolero". Source: Billboard.com, www.billboard.com/bbcom/awards/index.jsp, April 30, 2006.

Further Reading

Sources

PeriodicalsOnline

Visitor Comments Add a comment…

about 2 years ago

Querida Olga, tengo 68 Años y asisto al Senior Center en Elgin, Illinois. El dia 25 de Abril tendremos un show de variedad, donde tenemos que imitar a una persona famosa, mis compañeras me sujerieron que te imitara a ti porque como soy boriqua y bailo el merenque, bueno, acepte y te imitare con tu cancion < ES MENTIROSO >. Todos los dias la escucho. Puedes ser mi hija y mira como una persona de casi 69 te quiere imitar. Espero tu bendicion y mil bendiciones a ti!!! Desde la ciudad de los vientos. Tu imitadora Blanca

about 3 years ago

Me fascina su GENRE de Musica , a luchado mucho con su hija y su Sindrome de Sebastian, pero tambien opacan su Carrera los tiempos que anduvo con el Pelotero Juan Igor Gonzalez , quien tenia un Matrimonio y ella se metio, y lucho hasta que el otro se Divorcio y dejo a su esposa, para luego casarse con Olga Tannon, y a las finales en menos de 2 annos terminaron en Divorcio y ella cwon su hija producto de Juan Igor con este Sindrome...NO se puede ser feliz sobre la INFELIDAD de otro ....Asi que su segundo matrimonio fue el arreglo de su vida ! Siempre la ha opacado este periodo de su vida !! Sera que le pidio algun dia a esa mujer que le quito el Marido !

over 4 years ago

Olguita yo soy boricua y soy tu fiel fanatica y le pido mucho a Dios que te bendiga a ti y a tu familia y como tu ninguna.como mujer,madre,esposa y buena hija, te deseo lo mejor porque te lo mereces... hasta la proxima,mucha suerte y salud.

almost 5 years ago

She is all what a woman supose to be....

almost 6 years ago

I love her with my whole heart. Not only a perfect singer, she is also a great housewife, a perfect mother to her children. Her voice is incredibly amazing! Every song of her has a different emotional state. And she is the most beautiful woman I've ever seen. Yo la amo..

about 5 years ago

Soy fanatica de Olga, desde 1993. Olga, es una verdadera cantante. Desde sus cuerdas vocales hasta su energia en cualquier presentación. Sin importar el tipo de ritmo de una canción. Olga, sabe como sacar la bola del parque. Sus presentaciónes se gozan desde el principio hasta el final. Es por ello que Olga, cada dia tiene más y más fanaticos.

over 5 years ago

I had a great time yesterday at her concert last night at MGM Hotel at Connecticut. Like always we dance and dance with her. She is wonderful!!!! She still moving a lot.

over 5 years ago

OLGA tAnON is just and oustanding women. she is incredibole for evrything she done and been the through. She's a role model as a mom,women and as an ideal i have very high expectations for my life. Her story inspires me to make my dream come true.

almost 6 years ago

quiero saber mas te tu higa para ayudarla