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Victor Manuelle

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Victor Manuelle ,born Víctor Manuel Ruiz on September 27, 1968 in New York, New York, is a successful Latin Grammy nominated Puerto Rican American salsa singer, songwriter, and improvisational sonero, known to his fans as El Sonero de la Juventud (“The Youth’s Sonero”). He is identified primarily with salsa romantica or “salsa monga”, but has also experimented with styles ranging from Colombian vallenato to urban reggaeton. Unlike other young salsa performers such as Marc Anthony, he has neither recorded in English, nor made a Latin pop album, nor (with rare exceptions) ventured into acting, preferring to remain a musician grounded within salsa music.

Although born in New York, Víctor was raised primarily in Añasco and Isabela, Puerto Rico. Growing up in Puerto Rico had a great impact on his youth as he enjoyed salsa music (which was immensely popular in Puerto Rico at the time). His singing career began by chance, during a concert at his high school’s graduation party by salsa superstar Gilberto Santa Rosa. At the instigation of classmates, who were going on about their friend the sonero, Santa Rosa invited Víctor to jump up on stage and sing a song with him. To Santa Rosa’s surprise, not only could Victor sing, but he “free-styled” the improvisational soneo lyrics in the song, and traded soneos with Santa Rosa. Shortly thereafter, on Santa Rosa’s recommendation, Puerto Rican bandleader Don Periñon hired teenage Victor as a backup singer. During these years of apprenticeship he performed with numerous salsa greats.

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