Life and biography
Bobby Cruz is one of those names that definitely does not require much introduction. This tremendous songwriter and Christian pastor has made a dream career in which he has earned all sorts of awards and recognition that demonstrate his value as an artist, including gold records, Grammys, platinum records, among other world-class awards.
Roberto Cruz Ramos was born on 26 February 26 1937 in Hormigueros, Puerto Rico. He grew up in a very humble family that was dedicated to farm activities for a living. His father was one of those many workers in the town who gathered sugar cane from the fields intended for growing that product and became a labour leader who was highly respected by his co-workers and locals. When the family moved to New York City, USA, he entered school, discovered his passion for music and began to be heavily influenced by performers and groups such as the Gran Combo de Puerto Rico, which he considered a source of inspiration.
In 1963, he met the man who would become his great musical running mate and with whom he would get many of the most important hits of his career. This was Ricardo Maldonado Morales, artistically known as Richie Ray, who was his neighbor and with whom he gave life to the orquesta de Richie Ray y Bobby Cruz. Even today, this is still considered to be one of the most important groups in the history of salsa, so no one can talk about this genre without mentioning both stars as compulsory references for anyone who wishes to study salsa in depth.
Together with Ray, he reaped unimagined success and won many awards, one of the most important being first place in the Orchestras Festival thanks to the song La Zafra, which conquered the public and the jury by its heartfelt lyrics which referred to the daily struggle of the workers in the sugar cane fields and their experiences. If we take into account the fact that the father of Bobby was a sugarcane worker and someone respected in his trade, this song acquires a far stronger meaning for anyone who has had the fortune of hearing it.
Within the year, more specifically in 1974, Bobby became an evangelical pastor after Ray invited him to attend the same evangelical church of which he formed part. He did not much like the idea at first, but then changed his mind and became a faithful servant of Jesus, as he defines himself.
That was how he started a very interesting facet in both his life and his artistic career. In a way, Cruz succeeded in mixing his passion for music with his new religious beliefs. This is how Bobby and Ray began to use a religious approach to their musical works, a decision that unfortunately led to the loss of a large number of their followers. However, that did not stop them and they went on to regain the confidence of their fans and members of their church, who were not very happy with the idea at first.
Currently, Bobby Cruz is involved in a host of projects that takes up a lot of his time. One of them is the launch of his new book entitled Hubo Una vez un niño, the pages of which tell the story of a group of young inmates and their experiences in prison. The artist used stories he heard during his visits to prisons in Puerto Rico and other countries as part of his work as an evangelical pastor. In those prisons, he discovered stories about boys born into good families and healthy homes, but that did not stop them from ending up in prison for many reasons.
The fact that many of these boys were sons of pastors really touched him and made him wonder what had led these boys to commit acts so reprehensible having grown up in Christian homes. Moreover, there were many criminals who wanted to join the church and redeem themselves after having broken the law at that time. All of these things inspired Bobby in such a way that he wanted to create a story where he could reflect all of these elements that bothered him. It is now available on Amazon and many other platforms through which those interested can purchase it.
As additional data, the Puerto Rican let it be known that he is already working on the television version of the book, which will consist of 10 or 12 chapters in total.
One of the projects that Cruz has in mind is the launch of a film based on the trajectory of the singer with his orchestra fellow Richie Ray. It will be titled Richie Ray y Bobby Cruz, los reyes de la salsa and is expected to be the closest thing to the reality lived by the duo in years of greatest splendor. Although people of any age can enjoy it, it is known that it will be focused on the public that enjoyed their talent in the 70s and the actors are immensely similar to the performers in the time.
Among other details, it has been revealed that the film is already made and is in the process of being edited for release this year. It is just not clear the name of the platform that will be used to broadcast it, since the artists are waiting for the most attractive proposal possible. It was rumored that there were talks with Netflix to be the streaming service charged with broadcasting the film, but nothing has been confirmed officially.
Official Facebook page: Bobby Cruz
By: Johnny Cruz correspondent of International Salsa Magazine in New York City, New York