In this month’s artist feature, I would like to talk about one of my favorite female singers – she impressed Celia Cruz so much that she was bestowed the title “La Princesa de la Salsa” (“the princess of salsa”) by the Queen of salsa herself. I am talking about La India.
India – Ese Hombre – salsa version (note: Fabio warning! :D)
La India was born Linda Viera Caballero in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico in 1969. Linda’s family moved to New York soon after her birth, and settled in the Bronx (I am noticing a trend with great musicians and the Bronx…). Linda started a Latin freestyle group at the young age of 14, which she quickly left; soon afterwards, she signed a record contract with Warner Bros.
India got her big break after meeting Eddiversion of Madonna”. However, after the release of her first album, she decided that she did not want to pursue that path for her career (thankfully for us salsa lovers!). She also took on the stage name “India”, a nickname given by her grandmother because of Linda’s dark features and straight black hair.
India got her big break after meeting Eddie Plamieri (a legend in the salsa world), who happened to visit a recording studio while she was in a recording session. Eddie was so impressed with India that he helped produce her first Spanish salsa album, Llego la India via Eddie Palmieri (“La India has arrived via Eddie Palmieri”), which became one of the best-selling salsa albums of 1992, and cemented her status as a salsa singer.
She went on to work with a number of well-established Latin performers, including Louie Vega, Marc Anthony, Tito Puente and Celia Cruz. India’s trademark is her powerful vocals, in ways that I would compare to Celine Dion and Adele. For a perfect example of this, check out one of her biggest hits, “Estupida”:
India – Estupida
India’s range doesn’t end with salsa, she has also experimented with multiple genres including house, Latin jazz, reggaeton and pop. Here is one of my favorite salsaton (fusion of salsa and reggaeton) songs of hers:
India – Soy Diferente
With her tenth album being recorded this year, La India is one artist I will continue to follow; an amazing talent that brings variety to a genre that needs more great female talents.