Vikki Carr (born Florencia Bisenta de Casillas Martinez Cardona, July 19, 1941) is a three-time Grammy Award–winning American singer and humanitarian. She has performed in a variety of music genres, including jazz, pop and country, but has enjoyed her g...
Vikki Carr (born Florencia Bisenta de Casillas Martinez Cardona, July 19, 1941) is a three-time Grammy Award–winning American singer and humanitarian. She has performed in a variety of music genres, including jazz, pop and country, but has enjoyed her greatest success singing in Spanish.
Cardona was born in El Paso, Texas. After taking the stage name 'Vikki Carr', she signed with Liberty Records in 1962. Her first single to achieve success was "He's a Rebel", which in 1962 reached No. 5 in Australia and No. 115 in the United States. Producer Phil Spector heard Carr cutting the song in the studio and immediately recorded a cover version billed to The Crystals that reached No. 1 in the United States. In 1966, Carr toured South Vietnam with actor-comedian Danny Kaye to entertain American troops there. The following year her album It Must Be Him was nominated for three Grammy Awards. The title track reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States in 1967. "It Must Be Him" sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. She had two other songs make the US Top 40: 1968's "The Lesson" and 1969's "With Pen in Hand". Around this time, Dean Martin called her "the best girl singer in the business". Carr had 10 singles that made the US pop charts and 13 albums that made the US pop album charts.
In 1968, she taped six specials for London Weekend TV. She appeared on various television programs, such as ABC's The Bing Crosby Show in the 1964-1965 season. In 1970, she was named "Woman of the Year" by the Los Angeles Times. She guest-hosted The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in 1973. She received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1981. Carr also achieved the rare feat of singing for five presidents during her career: Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, and Bill Clinton.
In the 1980s and 1990s Carr had enormous success in the Latin music world, winning Grammy Awards for Best Mexican-American Performance in 1986 for her album Simplemente Mujer; Best Latin Pop Album in 1992 for Cosas del Amor; and Best Mexican-American Performance in 1995 for Recuerdo a Javier Solis. She also received Grammy nominations for the discs Brindo a La Vida, Al Bolero, A Ti (1993) and Emociones (1996). Her numerous Spanish-language hit singles include "Total", "Discúlpame", "Déjame", "Hay Otro en Tu Lugar", "Esos Hombres", "Mala Suerte" and "Cosas del Amor". The last song spent more than two months at No. 1 on the US Latin charts in 1991, her biggest Spanish-language US hit. Her Spanish-language albums have been certified gold and platinum in Mexico, Chile, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Colombia and Ecuador. She also voiced Georgette in the Latin American dub of Disney's Oliver and Company.
In 1999 she taped a PBS TV special, Vikki Carr: Memories, Memorias, in which she performed popular bilingual tunes from the 1940s and 1950s. Her guests were Pepe Aguilar, Arturo Sandoval, and Jack Jones. In 2001, she released a bilingual holiday album, The Vikki Carr Christmas Album.
In 2002, she appeared to great acclaim in a Los Angeles production of the Stephen Sondheim musical Follies, which also featured Hal Linden, Patty Duke, and Harry Groener. In 2006, Carr made a cameo appearance in a straight-to-video thriller called Puerto Vallarta Squeeze. In 2008, Carr hosted a PBS TV special, Fiesta Mexicana, which celebrated the music and dance of Mexico. Later that year, she was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Latin Recording Academy. She marked the occasion with an appearance on the Latin Grammy telecast in which she performed "Cosas del Amor" with Olga Tañón and Jenni Rivera.
Vikki Carr is currently recording with Latin Rock legends El Chicano and featured singing Sabor A Mi from their most recent studio album due to be released in April 2014.
Respected as both an artist and a humanitarian, Vikki Carr devotes time to many charities including the United Way, the American Lung Association, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and St. Jude's Hospital. For 22 years she held benefit concerts to support Holy Cross High School in San Antonio, Texas. In 1971, she established the Vikki Carr Scholarship Foundation, dedicated to offering college scholarships to Hispanic students in California and Texas. To date, the Foundation has awarded more than 280 scholarships totaling over a quarter of a million dollars.