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Soraya (born Soraya Raquel Lamilla Cuevas; March 11, 1969 – May 10, 2006) was an Colombian-american singer/songwriter, guitarist, arranger and record producer.

A successful Colombian music star, she had two number-one songs on Billboard’s Latin Pop Airplay charts. She won a 2004 Latin Grammy Award for the self titled album “Soraya” as “Best Album by Songwriter”, which she produced, and a 2005 Latin Grammy Awards nomination for “Female Pop Vocal Album” for her album El Otro Lado de Mí (literally “The Other Side of Me”). She was the opening act for the 2005 Billboard Latin Music Awards. Her career spanned ten years, and she recorded five albums.

She was born Soraya Raquel Lamilla Cuevas in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, a year after her father, mother, and brother moved to the United States from their native Colombia. The family moved back to Colombia when she was a baby, but when Soraya was eight years old, they returned to New Jersey. “Soraya” is a very common name in the Middle East, and its meaning can be translated “rich” or “princess”. Soraya’s maternal side of the family was Lebanese Christians who emigrated from Lebanon to Colombia. Soraya’s mother, Yamila Gharib Cuevas, had been a housewife in Colombia. Soraya’s father, Gregorio, worked for an exporting company in Colombia; in the U.S., life was hard for the family, so to make ends meet, he worked three or four jobs.


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