In spite of the fact that Lisa Lisa is the voice behind some of the 1980’s most memorable songs, surprisingly little is known about the Puerto Rican native, born Lisa Velez of New York’s Hell’s Kitchen. She was born one of 10 children with the dream of being a recording star. At the age of 16 she decided to sneak out of her family apartment to go to The Fun House, a popular hang out for break dancers and rappers at the time. She heard Madonna was discovered here by a top producer, and realized this could be her chance! At The Fun House she met not a producer but percussionist, Mike Hughs, a member of Full Force, the band was looking for a singer. Lisa Lisa auditioned for this part and was instantaneously welcomed into the Full Force family. Her stunning voice and stage presence was the “spark” the band was searching for. Their first single “Wonder if I Take you Home” featured Lisa’s vocals and the group was signed to New York’s Personal Records. Not a matter of speculation is the massive amount of success Full Force and Lisa Lisa earned with their ingenious collaboration.
As the front-woman of Full Force’s Cult Jam, Lisa Lisa enjoyed a string of chart-topping songs, beginning with “I Wonder If I Take You Home” and created enough stir to secure the group a recording contract with Columbia Records. Their debut album, Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam with Full Force, built upon the success of “I Wonder If I Take You Home” with the ballad “All Cried Out”, earned Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam their second charting single and catapulted the album to platinum status. Released in 1987, their sophomore release, Spanish Fly, also achieved platinum sales with singles such as “Head to Toe” and “Lost Emotion” keeping Cult Jam on the charts and making Lisa Lisa an international star.