Yolanda Perez is among the female vocalists who specializes in banda, a style of Mexican music that historically has been dominated by male artists. Banda music, which is known for its unique combination of horns and its chugging tubas, has flourished in Mexico as well as the southwestern part of the United States; Perez is one of banda's Mexican-American performers and has lived in the U.S. her entire life. Born in Los Angeles on May 20, 1983, and raised in that heavily Latino city, Perez had a very bilingual upbringing. The vocalist grew up speaking English and Spanish fluently and is capable of singing in both languages. Perez usually performs in Spanish -- which is banda's official language -- although she will occasionally sing in English and provide a banda interpretation of a soul or doo wop classic. And like the late Tejano star Selena and fellow banda/corrido vocalist Jenni Rivera -- who is known as La Diva de la Banda (the Diva of Banda) and la Primera Dama del Corrido (the First Lady of Corrido) in the regional Mexican market -- Perez brings a distinctively Chicana perspective to the table. Perez's pop-influenced approach to banda/corrido was, to a large degree, shaped by life in L.A.'s sizable Mexican-American community. That was where Perez began singing traditional Mexican music as a child and received a great deal of encouragement from her father, Refugio Perez, a musician who had played with the Mexican band Pancho Villa and gave his daughter the nickname la Potranquita. Throughout her teenage years, Yolanda Perez sang extensively -- and at the age of 19, she landed a deal with Fonovisa Records (one of the top labels in the regional Mexican market). Perez was 20 when Fonovisa released her debut album, Dejenme Llorar (whose title means "Let Me Cry"), in 2003. ~ Alex HendersonPortions of Content Provided by Rovi Corporation.
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