Elvis Crespo Díaz is an American-born Puerto Rican Grammy and Latin Grammy Award-winning Merengue singer.
Crespo was born in New York City and was named « Elvis » after Elvis Presley. He was raised in the city of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, where he spent his childhood and adolescent years.
He first gained fame in the mid-90s when he joined Grupo Mania, in Puerto Rico.
Eventually he decided to try to go solo in 1998. His debut album, Suavemente was a hit, both in Latin America and in the US. The single « Suavemente » was a huge hit and eventually helped him earn the Best Male Tropical/Salsa Album of the Year from Billboard magazine. His album went platinum in the Venezuelan and Central American markets and gold in Chile. Released in 1998, Crespo’s debut also earned a gold album for sales of over 500,000 copies in the first year after its release in the United States. « Suavemente » set a record for holding the top position on Billboard’s Hot Latin Tracks chart for six weeks. Part of the song’s success was its unexpected crossover appeal to English-speaking listeners, particularly in Miami and New York. » His album was mostly merengue influenced, but his follow-up albums would venture from these roots eventually.
Consequently, expectations for Crespo’s follow-up album were high. Pintame, which appeared in 1999, featured a mix of contemporary merengue and salsa tunes in addition to a couple of ballads. Most critics appreciated Crespo’s efforts to broaden his stylistic range. Although the reception for Pintame did not quite match the enthusiasm for Suavemente, the album earned Crespo his second consecutive Billboard Latin Music Award for Best Male Tropical/Salsa Album.
For his third album, Wow! Flash, released in 2000, Crespo continued to venture outside of merengue territory. As the singer told Billboard in an October of 2000 profile, « I think evolution is good as long as it’s well thought out. This is an evolved production that hasn’t lost its essence. » Crespo added, « The idea was to feature an Elvis Crespo who not only sang merengue. I wanted to prove I could do other things. But we also took care not to create the impression that we were just mixing things up. It’s hard to please everyone. If you change too much, they’ll also be disappointed. Now, I think I have a balance. » In addition to exploring new musical styles, Crespo changed his image with a haircut; his trademark shoulder-length locks were replaced by a more conservative style.
Although he had yet to record an English-language album to gain greater success in North America, Crespo did not discount such an option for the future. Indeed, with three well-received and strong-selling solo albums under his belt, he had already demonstrated that his appeal went far beyond a simple fad for Latin music. He continues to tour extensively around the world, solidifying his status as one of the leading merengue artists of his generation.