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Solis, Marco Antonio

Solis, Marco Antonio

Singer, songwriter, music producer

For one wishing to jump into a solo career, one couldn't imagine a better trampoline than the one enjoyed by Mexican singer and composer Marco Antonio Solis. As founder of one of the most popular Mexican bands of recent decades, Solis capitalized on the fame earned onstage with Los Bukis and continued to win over audiences in Mexico, the United States, and beyond, with his own mix of ballads, boleros, rancheras and cumbias. With time, growing commercial success and major music awards gave an extra push to his already formidable level of public acceptance throughout the Americas.

Born in the state of Michoacan, Mexico, Solis began his love affair with music at an early age. A musical career quickly followed suit when he joined his cousin Joel to found Los Hermanitos Solis (The Little Solis Brothers) at the age of 12. The group later changed its name to Los Soles Tarascos. His most important musical decision, however, came when he formed Los Bukis as an adolescent early in the 1970s. Solis was the band's creative soul, acting as producer, arranger, composer and singer. The band name reportedly means the "the youngsters" in an indigenous language, fitting for a group in which the average age was 18. Los Bukis, with their fusion of cumbia, norteño and banda music accompanied by the synthesizer, deeply affected the evolution of the Tejano and norteño music so popular along the U.S.-Mexican border. For some it was the most important force in an expanding musical market that reflected an important and rapidly growing demographic: Latino immigrant audiences in the United States. The song "Yo Te Necesito," which was recorded in 1982, won international acclaim for the band due precisely to its success in the United States, and was nominated for a Grammy in 1984.

"[Solis] had it clear from the very beginning that he wanted to be a singer and composer, a profession to which he had dedicated his heart and soul," said his record label, Fonovisa. "His first songs already had that 'something' that only the great masters of popular music can give. A flower, a landscape, a face, a smile, a goodbye, love or falling out of love have all been for him inspiration pressed into verse and music."

Despite ongoing work with Los Bukis, Solis began exploring a solo career that would prove to be a seamless break with his musical past. In the mid-1990s, the original band began to fall apart; in 1995 Eusebio "El Chivo" Cortez and José "Pepe" Guadarrama left the group. By the time Los Bukis broke up the following year, Solis was releasing his first solo album, En pleno vuelo.

Solis released Marco in 1997. The album was a major radio hit in both Mexico and the United States, with the song "La Venia Bendita" reportedly staying at the top of the charts for more than 25 weeks; the "social content" of the album also sparked great public interest. Recorded between Miami and Los Angeles and released in 1999, the concept album Trozos de Mi Alma included ten songs, including Solis compositions that had previously been recorded by Spanish artists Roc'o Durcal and Enrique Iglesias. The album surpassed its radio success, with the cut "Si No Te Hubieras Ido" appearing in the internationally acclaimed film Y Tu Mama Tambian.

The year 2000 and the release of the live album Marco Antonio Solis en Vivo marked for some a turning point in the artist's recording career. Revisiting some of his most popular songs, Solis performed at the Teatro de Bellas Artes de Puerto Rico on March 21, 1999, accompanied by the Symphony Orchestra of Puerto Rico. In addition to paying tribute to Puerto Rican music, the album also revisited songs from his days with Los Bukis.

With more than 25 years in the music industry, Solis has earned a reputation as a master at developing catchy pop tunes. "Anybody with a weakness for sweet, hummable love songs will probably succumb to Solis' no-nonsense melodic sensibility, his gentle voice and portentous orchestrations," stated the Los Angeles Times, praising him after a 2001 concert for managing "the remarkable (make that miraculous) feat of overcoming the schmaltz and delivering moments of true beauty."

In addition to his great success as a singer and song-writer, Solis is also in demand as a producer. María Sorté, Olga Tanon, Roc'o Durcal, Laura Flores, and Ana Barbara are some of the artists who have turned to his talents to give an added push to their own careers.

The year 2004 was one of the most brilliant in Solis's long career. That year he won a Latin Grammy award for Best Song of the Year with "Tu Amor o Tu Desprecio," from the album by the same name. According to his record company, this song reaffirmed his place as "absolute vanguardist, undeniable troubadour and bohemian by nature." That year he sold millions of albums and toured Latin America and the United States. He immediately followed his American tour with the release of the album Raz-n de Sobra.

"The long-haired and bearded Solis connects with his audience with less banter, but occasionally speaks out; when he introduces his love songs set to everything from popular music to mariachi and banda, he sometimes talks about why music, writing and faith are important to his work," stated the Orange County Register in a 2004 concert review. "At times it seemed like he was a spoken-word performer and spiritual guide, when he began songs with a talk supported by his deep and soothing voice." With more than 20 albums and 300 songs to his name, several million albums sold, eight gold albums and one platinum album, he remains one of the most prolific artists in the Americas.

For the Record . . .

Born in Michoacan, Mexico; married Beatriz Adriana (a singer; divorced, 1993); children: daughter, Beatriz.

Formed Los Hermanitos Solis at age 12, followed by Los Bukis in the early 1970s; released first solo album in 1995.

Awards: Latin Grammy, Best Song of the Year, 2004.

Addresses: Record company—FONOVISA Records, 820 Canoga Ave., Ste ...300, Woodland Hills, CA 91367, website: http://www.fonovisa.com.

Selected discography

Por Amor a Mi Pueblo, Fonovisa, 1995.

En pleno vuelo, 1996.

Marco, Fonovisa, 1997.

Marco Antonio Solis en Vivo (live), 2000.

Más de Mi Alma, Fonovisa, 2001.

Raz-n de Sobra, Fonovisa, 2004.

Sources

Periodicals

Los Angeles Times, August 20, 2001.

Orange Country Register, June 28, 2004.

Online

Fonovisa, http://www.fonovisa.com (July 5, 2005).

"Marco Antonio Solis," All Music Guide, http:www.allmusic.com (July 5, 2005).

Terra.com, http://www.terra.com (July 5, 2005).

Univisi-n.com, http://www.univision.com (July 8, 2004).

—Brett Allan King

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