Chapter 69 (Lisette Melendez)

Puerto Rican-American vocalist Lisette Melendez scored a handful of dance-pop hits in the early ’90s and helped revive interest in Latin freestyle, a genre that had largely fallen out of fashion by that time. Born in 1967, Melendez dedicated herself to singing at age 12. The East Harlem native needed to set herself apart from the dangers of growing up in the barrio, and took refuge in the sweet sounds of Bette Midler and Barbra Streisand. Singing along as she listened, Melendez studied their techniques and developed her own voice. While in high school, the success of Lisa Lisa spurred Melendez into forming her own group. Their performances caught the attention of producer Carlos Berrios, who soon had Melendez providing backup and lead vocals on some of his club hits, including 1988’s “Make Noise,” which was credited to Only in the Dark.

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