Born October 15th, 1979, Jacquelyn Davette Velasquez began showing an aptitude for music before she was eating solid food. In her native Houston, Texas, she used to snap her fingers in her crib as her parents played tunes in the neighboring room.
At two years old, Jaci’s voice was already surprising the congregation in church as she led in the singing of the hymns each Sunday. Her parents nurtured her talent and at age three she began her solo debut on stage. She performed at the White House before hitting age 13.
At 14, Jaci got her big break. A pastor witnessing her performance at a local church called a management company to let them know of the budding talent in H-town. A man named Mike Atkins traveled to Texas to see her, and soon after became her manager and signed her to Myrrh Records.
Jaci’s first two album releases Heavenly Place and Jaci Velasquez (1996 and 1998 respectively) both went Gold and every single from the two albums went to the top of the AC airplay charts. In 1999, showing her allegiance and appreciation for her Mexican/Spanish background, she made her first Latin album, Llegar a Ti, going Platinum in Latin communities and hence expanding her popularity even further.
After reaching out to her roots, Jaci’s goal became influencing her peers; young people around the world. She wished to spread the word on abstinence (yes we know, very disappointing), becoming a spokeswoman for the group True Love Waits. In 2000, she released her most popular album to date, Crystal Clear, which blended pop and true Latin music with the help of Christian pop producer Mark Heimermann and Latin producer Rudy Perez (he has worked with artists like Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin and Christina Aguilera). It is in this album that she showed true diversity, presenting tracks with subjects ranging from her Christian beliefs to love and family.
After another Spanish album was released in 2001 along with two Christmas albums, one in English and one in Spanish, Jaci Velasquez saw her efforts get acknowledged. The English, Spanish and Christian communities showered her for countless awards from Billboard and Dove. Her career is highlighted by two Grammy nominations in 2000 and 2002. In 2002, she was up for Best Latin Pop album for Mi Corazon and although she did not take the Grammy home, the recognition was enough to push her album sales even further.
Her accomplishments are numerous and yet a large segment of the population remains in the dark of all she has done at the age of 22. A singer, songwriter, author, and spokeswoman, Jaci Velasquez is truly a Latin sensation with looks to match.
From supplying her voice for the Nickelodeon show Tiana to being the spokeswoman for Frizz-Ease hair products, she is constantly putting herself out there. With work underway for another album, hopefully she will finally get the mainstream radio play she so deserves.
Her one surprising downside is her lack of relationship experience. She has had but a precious few boyfriends since the age of 17 and, owing to her busy schedule, finds it quite hard to maintain a strong bond with anybody but her family, although currently, she is spoken for.