Frankie Ruiz

Frankie Ruiz
Frankie Ruiz.jpg
Background information
Birth nameJosé Antonio Torresola Ruiz
Also known asEl Papá de la Salsa[1]
Born(1958-03-10)March 10, 1958[2]
Paterson, New Jersey, U.S.
DiedAugust 9, 1998(1998-08-09) (aged 40)[2]
Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
  • Singer
  • songwriter
Years active1971–1998
Associated acts

José Antonio Torresola Ruiz [note 1] better known as Frankie Ruiz (March 10, 1958 – August 9, 1998)[2] was an American salsa singer and songwriter. He was a major figure in the salsa romántica subgenre that was popular in the 1980s and early 1990s. During his youth, he developed a passion for percussion, later confessing that this would have been his second choice after singing.[3] While still in his 30s, he became known as El Papá de la Salsa (The Father of Salsa).

Fan reaction to his work was diverse. Within the Latino community, he was regarded as "one of the best salseros ever", and Puerto Ricans abroad were particularly fond of it because it brought back memories of their homeland.[4] Among non-Latinos, some admitted that his music had been responsible for their interest in salsa as a genre and even the Spanish language.[4]

As salsa moved closer to pop music, and toned down the eroticism in its lyrics during the 1990s, Ruiz was challenged, along with other salsa romántica performers, but he managed to record a number of hits during his late career.[5] He suffered from years of drug and alcohol abuse. His personal shortcomings were exploited by the tabloid media but had little impact on his popularity.[5] In 1998, Ruiz died due to complications from liver disease.

Early life

Frankie Ruiz was born in Paterson, New Jersey to Frank Torresola and Hilda Ruiz, a Puerto Rican couple who had moved to the city.[6] After being born, he was initially adopted by his grandmother, Concepción, as his mother was 15 years old.[7] Afterwards his custody passed to his parents and he was raised at Union City, along his brothers Viti and Junito.[8] He received his primary and secondary school education in Paterson, where his father served as education commissioner.

At the age of 5, Ruiz played percussion instruments at the Roberto Clemente Park in Trenton and at other city venues.[9] One of these performances earned him an award at a show held at the Majestic Theater in Paterson.[6] During the following years, he continued performing with the support of his parents, meeting artists like Tito Puente in the process.[10][11][12] Despite this, Ruiz was not enrolled in formal singing classes and mostly depended on practice.[3] During this time, he developed a friendship with Joe Salvador, through which he met Rosemary Salvador, whose family sponsored the performances of he and his brothers.[13] Both joined a local music group led by Charlie López, known as Orquesta Nueva (otherwise known as The Charlie López Orquesta), as vocalist and bass player, and started performing salsa at talent shows.[13] He recorded his first song "Salsa Buena" with this band, which was followed by "Borinquen".[14]

Other Languages
asturianu: Frankie Ruiz
Deutsch: Frankie Ruiz
español: Frankie Ruiz
français: Frankie Ruiz
Runa Simi: Frankie Ruiz