The Original Latin Diva

Lisa-Lisa headline's Freestyle Explosion at the Gibson Amphitheater on Friday, December 14

By Richard Garcia
Published on LatinoLA: December 14, 2007

The Original Latin Diva

The legendary, and original Latin Diva, Lisa-Lisa will headline this year‘«÷s Freestyle Explosion at the Gibson Amphitheater on Friday, December 14.

Not too much is known about this 80's Mega star, aside from her hits Can You Feel the Beat, I Wonder If I Take You Home, and All Cried Out. We sat down with the hit maker to get to know her and hear of upcoming projects

LatinoLA (LLA): You were born Lisa Velez in New York‘«÷s Hell‘«÷s Kitchen?

Lisa Lisa: That‘«÷s right and I‘«÷m still living in New York.

LLA: Are you excited about performing in Los Angeles on the 14th?

LL: Definitely. Most of my performance work is in California, I would say about 80 percent.

LLA: So you are a Californian by default?

LL: Yeah, pretty much.

LLA: As the original Latin Diva of dance music, do you recall where you were the first time you heard your song on the radio or in a club?

LL: I was the assistant manager at a local clothing store in Manhattan and I was ringing up a sales when I heard, I Wonder If I Take You Home, come on. I was so excited, I started screaming ‘«ˇthat‘«÷s me, that‘«÷s me‘«÷ and the lady I was helping just started laughing. I was so happy that nothing else mattered to me.

LLA: How did you get started?

LL: I was six years old and in the church choir when I was asked to perform a solo. I sang Ave Maria in front of my mother. From that moment on, I knew I want to be a singer and performer. Later when I attended school I majored in musical theater and experimented with different musical styes.

LLA: And your influences?

LL: Motown, defintely. Martha and the Vandelas, the Temptations and of course salsa with people like Willie Colon and Celia Cruz.

LLA: Artistically, your albums have grown. Your last album, LL77, was a departure from the others - more raw and seductive. Was there something that caused the shift?

LL: That was more of me involved in the project. That was what I wanted to tap into at that time and what I was going through in my life. I have a new album coming out in 2008 that represents me now and has a taste of all my influences.

LLA: Is there one song on LL77 that that defines where you were?

LL: I think Covers and Why Can‘«÷t Lovers. Those two songs really define me at that time.

LLA: Were you aware that you were setting the stage for a new music genre when you started?

LL: I had no idea what I was doing in the beginning. I was just happy that I was able to sing and make people happy.

LLA: What is your favorite and worst memory of the 80's dress styles?

LL: I look back at the very first video I ever did, I Wonder If I Take You Home (search, Lisa Lisa on YouTube.com), and I see that outfit I was wearing and think to myself, ‘«ˇWhat the Heck was I thinking?‘«÷. I Looked like wonder woman.

LLA: Before we go, what does Lisa Lisa have on her holiday wish list?

LL: Peace and the family. I love spending time with my husband and my two sons.

The Freestyle Invasion includes Lisa Lisa, Debbie Deb, Shannon and the Cover Girls. For tickets and more information visit www.hob.com

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