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Milagros Quezada Borbón, known simply as Milly Quezada, (born May 21, 1955) is a multiple Latin Grammy-winning Dominican Merengue music singer. She is a singer in Latin America; especially in those Latin American countries bordered by the Caribbean Sea, and in the eastern seaboard region of the United States. She is also known as Merengue Queen. She has won four Latin Grammy Awards.
|Birth name||Milagros Quezada Borbón|
|Also known as||Milly Quezada, Reina del Merengue, Queen of Merengue Music|
|Born||May 21, 1955|
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Milly Quezada was born in Santo Domingo, the daughter of two Cibao natives and sister of four musician brothers. Growing up in such a musical family, Quezada became interested in music as a toddler—she would sing along with her brothers for family, friends and small gatherings near her home.
She expressed an interest in developing her singing talents as a young girl, and, partly for this reason the Quezada family moved to New York City when she was still a child.
Milly spent her pre-teen and teen years in New York, a city that is well known as a school for Merengue and Salsa singers from its Latino barrios, e.g. Spanish Harlem. In New York, Quezada developed an in-depth knowledge of her favorite musical genre, the fastest of the Latin American popular dance music styles, sung in Spanish and native to the Dominican Republic (see also Son Cubano, Rumba, Salsa, Cha-Cha-Cha, and Punta for comparison, as well as Kompa, the style sung in Haitian Creole in neighboring Haiti).
She completed her primary and secondary school in New York City and graduated cum laude from City College of New York ‘1981 in Communications and Mass Media. She also graduated with a Paralegal degree ‘1992 from Katherine Gibbs School, Montclair, NJ.
Milly, Jocelyn y los VecinosEdit
Her musical inclinations developed as a pastime in the streets of Washington Heights where she formed with her brothers and sister, the group that would become known as Milly Jocelyn & Los Vecinos. Their music would identify the growing Hispanic Community of Dominicans in Washington Heights and their distinctly feminist style of Merengue captured the hearts and imagination of the growing Hispanic Community. Hits that would rise in popularity during the ‘70s 80’s and 90’s include “Volvio Juanita,” “La Guacherna,” “Tengo,” and many other songs that would go on to become Christmas hits on national and international music platforms. Led by her oldest brother and musical arranger, Rafael Quezada, the “Queen of Merengue” along with the group would travel worldwide and become pioneers in the female-led musical Orchestra modality. They were first to bring live Dominican Merengue to major cities in Japan: Tokyo, Nagasaki and Osaka~ and regularly tour countries such as Madrid, Spain, Central and South America and many states with the United States where the Dominican Diaspora thrived. The group was also first in entertaining a Presidential Inaugural Gala in 1990: President George W. Bush Sr. in Washington, D.C.
Quezada later decided to embark on a solo career, moving to Puerto Rico where she also married and became a mother, enjoying even more success as a solo artist. Since the 1990s, Quezada has been either on tour or in recording studios almost constantly, earning several prestigious awards and public recognition such as keys to cities (see below).
In January 1996 Milly's life was turned upside down with the passing away of her husband, manager and father of three young sons ~Rafael Vasquez~ forcing her to take a break from her musical career which had reached twenty years and twenty long playing records at this tragic moment in her life and the lives of her family. In 1997 she was encouraged by her longtime friend and manager, Pedro Nuñez del Risco, to retake her musical recording career which marked a “before” and “after” in her musical accomplishments. Along with the aforementioned hits, Milly Quezada went on to popularize songs like, “Lo Tengo Todo” “Entre tu Cuerpo y el Mío” “Porque me Amaste, “Para darte mi Vida” “Vive” “Toma mi Vida” amongst many other songs.
Awards and recognitionsEdit
The “Queen of Merengue” went on to be nominated and received multiple national and international awards in the Tropical Music genre such as, four Latin Grammy Awards to date; Premios Cassandra Awards in the Dominican Republic including the highest honor in her genre “Premio Soberano” in 1997. Billboard awards and Univision's Premio Lo Nuestro in 1998, ACE Awards in New York, “Tu Musica” award as well as “Premios Globo in NYC and in Barranquilla, Colombia various “Congo de Oro” awards during several annual Carnaval de Barranquilla tours performed. Her well known Carnaval Song “La Guacherna” written by Esther Forero, is recognized along with Barranquilla's Carnival by the coveted “Worldwide Cultural Heritage” issued by UNESCO. Milly's been recognized by both the Senate of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic as well as the Mayor's Office of New York City for her cultural contribution to the music of the Americas.
OTHER AWARDS AND RECOGNITIONS
- Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. ~ Inducted in the musical archives along with Dominican artists Luis Kalaff and Joseito Mateo in 1998.
- Decorated by President Hipolito Mejia with medal “Orden Cristobal Colon/Grado Oficial” 2001
- Boulevard of the Stars in Panama City, Panama ~ Awarded Bronze Star in this walk of fame Blvd.
- Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2007 recognized her musical contribution during Hispanic Heritage.
- Dominican Consul General Eduardo Selman presented in 2008 the medal “Orden al Merito Ciudadano” as the awards first recipient.
- Named by Decree “Ambassador of Cultural Affairs” by President Dr. Leonel Fernandez in 2008 and attached to the Dominican Chancellorship, a title which remains to this day.
- 2008 Master of Ceremony to the Cassandra Awards televised Ceremony where she receives the “Best Actress” award for her role in the movie, “Yuniol 2” – The movie also receives “Best Picture Award” for the same year.
- 2010 Dominican American Nat’l Roundtable, Washington D.C. “Lifetime Achievement Award”
- 2011 Berklee College of Music, Boston, MS awards special recognition in their event at Miami Dade County Auditorium.
- 2011 Hostos Community College’s Presidential Medal of honor for musical contribution ~ this award was only presented to one other woman, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Sotomayor.
- 2011 Atlantic Chamber of Representatives of Barranquilla, Colombia’s “Orden de Barlovento” medal for promoting Colombian Music worldwide.
- 2012 Two Latin Grammy Awards for current musical production “Aqui Estoy Yo” for Best Contemporary Tropical Album and for best Tropical Song, feat. Juan Luis Guerra “Toma Mi Vida”.
- 2015 Barranquilla’s Mayor’s Office declares Milly “Adoptive Daughter” with the golden Medal “Categoria Oro Grado Comendador”.
- March 8, 2017 Providence, Rhode Island During “International Women’s Day” is awarded 8 declarations of excellence during the “Extraordinary Woman Gala Ceremony of 2017” along with a special citation by the Office of the Senate of the state of Rhode Island.
- 2017 Governor's Atlantic Department of Colombia awards the medal, “Puerta de Oro de Colombia” by the Colombian Embassy in the Dominican Republic; and declares artist as musical Ambassador, during special event in Teatro La Fiesta, Hotel Jaragua, D.R. for worldwide promotion of Colombian songs written by Barranquilla's author, Esther Forero.
In early 2009, Milly joined eleven other Dominican music legends on a national tour celebrating the merengue and bachata music traditions of the country. That tour was transformed into a Felix Limardo documentary entitled Sol Caribe. The movie features an original song, La Puerta del Nuevo Mundo that is a once-in-a-lifetime collaboration of the twelve stars. The film was the closing feature at the III Dominican Republic Global Film Festival in November, 2009 and was attended by the President of the Dominican Republic.
In addition to the Cassandra Awarded movie, “Yuniol 2” Milly has played important roles in the movies: “Cal y Arena,” Puerto Rico; “Hermanos R.D.” in Dominican Republic and the soon to be released movie “Juanita” written produced and directed by Leticia Tonos and which will be released in December 2018.
Four decades in the musical industry including 31 records sponsored by various recording labels finds the “Queen of Merengue” producing album #32 featuring various artists and tapping into the cultural wealth of Dominican talents, producers, arrangers and featured artists. Among featured songs available through various digital platforms in internet are: “Que Tiene Ella,” written and arranged by Ramon Orlando; “Mejor que a ti Me Va” written by Juan Carlos Rodriguez of Tercer Cielo, arranged by Ramon Orlando; “Que Lluevan Corazones,” written by Milly's son, Anthony Vasquez, arranged by Janina Rosado; “La Pimienta es la que Pica” feat. Maridalia Hernandez and Fefita la Grande, arranged by Jochy Sanchez; scheduled for early 2019 radio airing is an interesting bolero duet with Gilberto Santa Rosa, “Rutina” also arranged by Jochy Sanchez. Currently airing nationally is the song, “De Colores” featuring Vladimir Dotel of the Urban Group, Ilegales; written by Chris Hierro and arranged by Antonio Gonzalez with its online YouTube video rapidly closing in to the one million views. This untitled album as of yet promises to showcase the true colors of all that is pure Dominican flavor talent and “Criollo” identification through its red, white and blue colors of its musical flag!
Milly y los VecinosEdit
- 1976 Esta es Milly con los Vecinos (This is Milly with los Vecinos)
- 1977 La gente de hoy (Today's People)
- 1978 Pa' Dominicana (To Dominican Republic)
- 1979 Milly en Boleros (Milly into Boleros)
- 1980 Los Vecinos en su momento (The Vecinos at Their Best Moment)
- 1981 Fiesta Con Los Vecinos (Party with Los Vecinos)
- 1982 Acabando (Milly y los Vecinos album) (Kicking Some)
- 1983 Nostalgia (Milly y los Vecinos album) (Nostalgia)
- 1983 Milly en Salsa (Milly into Salsa, alongside Luis "Perico" Ortiz)
- 1983 Avant Garde (Avant Garde)
- 1984 Esta Noche, Los Vecinos (Tonight, Los Vecinos!)
- 1985 Dinastía (Milly y los Vecinos album)
- 1986 Special Delivery
- 1987 Etiqueta Negra (Milly y los Vecinos album) (Black Tie Affair)
- 1988 Por Supuesto (Milly y los Vecinos album) (Of Course)
- 1989 Ahora Es (Milly y los Vecinos album) (Now's the Time)
- 1990 7+1= Vecinos
- 1991 Flying Solo (Milly y los Vecinos album)
- 1993 Celebrando (Milly y los Vecinos album) (Celebrating)
- 1995 Lo Mejor de Milly y los Vecinos (The Best of Milly y los Vecinos, a remix)
- 1995 En tus manos (In Your Hands)
As a solo singerEdit
Quezada has recorded many solo albums, receiving a Latin Grammy for Pienso asi, MQ and Aquí Estoy Yo.
- 1997 Hasta siempre (Forever)
- 1998 Vive (Live)
- 2000 Tesoros de Mi Tierra (Treasures From My Land). Her first experience singing bachata.
- 2001 Milly, éxitos y más (Hits and More...)
- 2002 Pienso así... (This Is How I Think)
- 2005 MQ A reference to her name initials.
- 2015 Solo Boleros La Milly una noche (Just Boleros Milly, one Night)
- 2016 Sólo Faltas Tú (You're The Only One Missing)
- 2016 Aquí estoy yo (Here I Am)
- 2019 Milly & Company
Quezada has received many awards during her career, such as the aforementioned Grammy. Arguably, one of the highest honors a person or celebrity can receive is the "key to a city," usually presented by that city's mayor. Here is a list of cities that have given Quezada that symbolic award: