From September 15th to October 15th, Girls Behind the Rock Show is celebrating incredible Hispanic women musicians who have changed the industry for National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Celia Cruz
Celia Cruz – Photo Credit: Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images

Celia Cruz (aka Úrsula Hilaria Celia de la Caridad Cruz Alfonso) is the true queen of Salsa. Born in Havana, Cuba on October 21st, 1925, Celia Cruz was known for being the symbol of Latin American music from the beginning to the end of her life.

Although Celia Cruz created music in her hometown in Cuba, it was after the Cuban Revolution (which forbade her from returning back to Cuba if she left the country) when she skyrocketed and traveled to the states in the 1970s. After arriving in the states, Cruz began her solo performances, create her debut album, and signed a recording contract in the 1970s. Her debut in the Salsa world let to much success, including performances at Carnegie Hall and Yankee Stadium. Along the way, she met legendary creators and musicians of the Salsa world.

Celia achieved further success in the later years to come: touring around the world in the late 1970s, receiving her tribute concert at Madison Square Garden, receiving her first Grammy award in the late 1980s, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, debuting as an actress in the 1990s, and receiving her first Latin Grammy in the 2000s. After thirty-seven studio albums, two Grammy awards, and three Latin Grammy awards; Celia Cruz passed away in 2003.

Celia bought Salsa music to life, and constantly evolved in the world of Latin American music. Her music and her history has brought generations together (including her famous phrase “Azúcar!”). Celia Cruz is a legend in the Salsa genre, and is an icon in Latin music in general.