18th Annual Las Cruces international Mariachi conference featuring Vikki Carr
Vikki Carr is one of the bestloved and most accomplished entertainers in the United States, Latin America and Europe. This year marks the fifth decade of a career in which she has won three Grammy Awards and has released over 60 bestselling recordings. She has performed for the Queen of England, five United States Presidents, wartime soldiers in Vietnam and soldout audiences around the world. She has worked in radio, television, film and theater. Her music embraces two languages and she is among the first artists to bridge the cultures of the United States and Latin America, paving the way for many performers today.
Born in El Paso, Texas, and raised in Southern California, Vikki Carr, the eldest of seven children, began performing at the tender age of four singing Adeste Fidelis in Latin at a Christmas program. She was signed to a contract with Liberty Records in 1961. She recorded He ‘s A Rebel, which first became a hit in Australia. That title was soon followed by the unforgettable release, It Must Be Him, which charged up the charts in England. One year later, the single was released in the United States and earned Carr three Grammy Award nominations. The international hit emerged again when she and the song were featured in the storyline of the Academy Award winning movie Moonstruck. After It Must Be Him came a string of hits including With Pen In Hand, for which she received her fourth Grammy Award nomination,
The Lesson, Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You and For Once in My Life. In 2008 she was awarded Lifetime Achievement Honors by the Latin American Grammy Foundation.
The diversity of her rich voice is impressive. She can belt out the blues or touch the heart with a soft romantic ballad. Frank Sinatra said, “She possesses my kind of voice”, Dean Martin called her “the best girl singer in the business” and Bing Crosby and Ella Fitzgerald named her among their three favorite female singers of all time. Elvis Presley was also very fond of her and even remarked on stage in Las Vegas many times that Vikki Carr was one of his favorite singers and that he liked her because ”she sang from the gut” and introduced her at many of his personal appearances in which she attended.
Vikki Carr has received too many prestigious awards to list. In addition to the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, these honors include the 2005 National Hispanic Media Coalition Impact Lifetime Achievement Award, 2003 Latino Spirit Award, 2003 Tito Guizar Award, 2002 Trefoil Award, 2000 Inductee, Latino Legends Hall of Fame, 1998 Imagen Foundation “Humanitarian Award, 1996 Hispanic Heritage Award, 1988 Nosotros Golden Eagle Award, 1984 Hispanic Woman of the Year, 1981 Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, 1974 Doctorate in Law from San Diego University and Doctorate in Fine Arts from St. Edwards University, 1972 American Guild of Variety Artist’s “Entertainer of the Year”, and the Los Angeles Times’ highly respected “Woman of the Year” for 1970. She has earned the career achievement award of the Association of Hispanic Critics, Chicago’s Ovation Award, the YWCA Silver Achievement Award and was honored in 1990 by the City of Hope with the Founder of Hope Award. In 1991, she was presented the Girl Scouts of America Award.
Respected as both an artist and a humanitarian, she devotes time to many charities including The United Way, The American Lung Association, Cancer Therapy and Research Center, 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. In 1971 Vikki established the Vikki Carr Scholarship Foundation, dedicated to offering college scholarships to Latino students in California and Texas. To date, the Foundation has awarded more than 280 scholarships totaling over a quarter of a million dollars. “My voice is a gift and a gift is nothing unless you can share it. The Foundation is one of the ways that I am able to share my gift,” said Carr. “The Foundation seeks to help young Mexican-American students achieve their goals through a college education, something I myself was never able to do.”
2010 marks the fifth decade of this highly successful and multi-faceted career. To mark this accomplishment she has teamed with mariachi master Mr. Jose Hernandez and his Mariachi Sol De Mexico (www.soldemexicoonline.com) to produce a 50th Anniversary Album. The recording includes new songs as well as recognizable standards featuring lush string and vocal arrangements by Mr. Hernandez.