Celia Cruz, often called the Queen of Salsa, brought a vivacity to her stage performances that filled her music as well as the stage. She was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1925, where she began singing and attended a music academy in the late 1940s. In 1950 she joined a popular Cuban orchestra, La Sonora Matancera, and following the political upheaval of the Cuban revolution she and most of the orchestra members emigrated& from Cuba to the United States by way of a performance tour in Mexico. Cruz's popularity in the United States helped bring salsa into the public eye, and she flourished despite being in a genre with primarily male artists. Collaborations with Tito Puente, Johnny Pacheco, and the Fania All Stars, among others, also helped to increase her audience and the popularity of Latino music in the United States.
In addition to the adoration of a wide fan base, Celia Cruz's achievements have been recognized with many honors and awards, including twenty-three gold albums, three Grammy Awards, four Latin Grammy Awards, and the President's National Medal of Arts. On February 15, 2016, she was honored at the Grammys with a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award.