was born in Havana, Cuba and was one of 14 children. While she was training to become a literature teacher, an older cousin entered her in a competition on the talent show La Hora Del Té on Radio García Serrá, in which she won first prize. She eventually switched to singing full-time when a trusted teacher advised her that she would be foolish to do otherwise.
Celia worked with the group Gloria Matancera and in small theatres and cabaret. She befriended Roderico Neyra who helped her get work at the famous Tropicana nightclub in Havana as a singer during the club's winter seasons. She toured Mexico and Venezuela with him and his dance troupe, Las Mulatas De Fuego (The Fiery Mulattas).
On 3 August 1950, Cruz replaced lead singer Myrta Silva of Sonora Matancera on their weekly show on Radio Progreso. Cruz made her recording debut with Sonora Matancera on a 78 rpm single released in January 1951 entitled "Cao Cao Mani Picao". She made a long list of records during her 15-years with the band. During the 50s, Cruz and the band appeared on television, the Tropicana nightclub and toured the Caribbean, South and Central America and the USA.
In 1960 Celia left Cuba and toured in Mexico and Latin America. She left Sonora Matancera's band in 1965 and launched her solo career with a band formed for her by the legendary Tito Puente. Cruz's first success since leaving Sonora Matancera came in 1974 when she recorded a duo album, Celia and Johnny, with Johnny Pacheco, trombone player and the owner of Fania.
Cruz signed to the RMM label in 1989, and the following year licensed her product for release in Spain on the newly formed BAT label. Azucar Negra gave Cruz her first gold record on the Spanish charts, and she spent the rest of the 90s establishing her presence in that market. In 1995 she won the Billboard Lifetime Achievement Award. At the end of the decade she signed to Sony, debuting for the label in 2000 with Siempre Viviré.Celia Cruz will never be forgotten. She will always be in the hearts of her fans around the world. Mi Vida es Cantar- 2002Siempre vivire- 2002