|Velasquez interacting with Fish listeners live on the air|
Velasquez is an accomplished vocal artist, with her releases having gone Platinum and Gold three times each, and sixteen #1 radio hits to her name. She is a Grammy nominee, a Latin Grammy nominee, and a three-time Latin Billboard Music Awards nominee. She has won seven Dove Awards, including New Artist of the Year and Female Vocalist of the Year.
With her 1999 single "Llegar A Ti," according to IMDB.com, "Jaci became the first Christian artist to go to #1 on any Billboard Latin chart."
When Velasquez performs in Latin America, she draws tens of thousands. Recent back-to-back shows in Managua, Nicaragua, drew 40,000 and 60,000, respectively. In Santiago, Chile, the crowd was in the 30,000-40,000 range.
Velasquez is also an actor, having co-starred with Modern Family's Sofia Vergara in Chasing Papi in 2003. Her latest films are The Encounter, released this month on DVD, and Jerusalem Countdown (co-starring Randy Travis and Lee Majors), to be released in theaters in August.
Velasquez grew up in an evangelical church in Houston where her parents were singers, evangelists and pastors. She has been singing since she was nine years old.
"I grew up with, obviously, Latin parents. ... We learn from our parents," she tells HispanicNashville.com.
I had heard that Jaci's family has a lot of different geographic roots, so I asked her where her parents would say those roots trace back to:
They would say they're American, of course, but their family has been in the country since the 1700's, for both of them. They came over during the Spanish Inquisition and mixed with different races through the years. My Dad would say he's German, English, Spanish, but then if you really want him to just put it all into one, he'd say, 'I'm Mexican,' because that was who he was raised by and near, and that's what his life influences were. He was born in New Mexico, grew up in East Carbon, Utah, and then moved back to New Mexico.Velasquez spoke a lot about how much she appreciates everything her mother did for her, and how her husband Nic's parenting style is informed by both his military father and his church-employed mom. She also conveyed the "bigness" of her own Latin family:
Being married to a Hispanic guy, too, you find that everything is intense. You love, you love big, and when you're upset, you're upset big.... It's all big. It's all intense, and always to '11' in our house, and I wouldn't trade it.For the extended interview with Velasquez, including thoughts on the radio gig, her Mom's background, and more about the Latin influence when she was growing up and also now that she is raising her own children, stay tuned to HispanicNashville.com.
This profile of Jaci Velasquez is the seventh in a series of media profiles here on HispanicNashville.com. Others recently featured include Chris Echegaray of the Tennessean, Charles Maldonado of the City Paper and Scene, Marielena Ramos of NewsChannel 5 Plus, Amy Napier-Viteri of WKRN/News2, Eric Alvarado of Fox17, and Christine Maddela of WKRN. On deck are Ray Ponce de Leon of The Contributor and Phil Castillo of the One Nation Under God show on SuperTalk 99.7 WTN.