Official Biography (courtesy of Amaryllis Santiago)
Amaryllis, aka The Latin Phoenix ®™ is best known in the Latin community throughout the world for her sexy Latin image, she’s highly acclaim for her music in the Smooth Jazz R & B and Latin salsa markets. Amaryllis is called The Latin Phoenix ®™ because she refuses to give up on her dream of sharing music. Through the good and the bad times, she always manages to rise above adversity through prayer and her strong faith in God.
Amaryllis’s inspiration for music sparks at an early age in Lebanon, PA. Unfortunately music was not encouraged nor acknowledged due to her strict religious upbringing. Her Brothers, Ivan and Luis would always cover for her while in the midst of rehearsing or performing. Amaryllis was an inquisitive young girl; she learned how to wire old cassette players to the main stereo to simply record herself singing. Her Brothers would scream and say, “ENOUGH already” due to her continuous rehearsing. Amaryllis’s Brother Ivan; promised once she turned 21 years old, he would take her to perform at “Woofer Magoo’s” in Lebanon to sing Karaoke. Ivan kept his word and honored his promise to Amaryllis. As a result, a relationship was born and blossomed with the original owners of (Woofer Magoo’s) Georgie, Charles Bundy, and some of the other patrons.
Amaryllis was a dreamer, she pledged if given the opportunity to perform on the big stage she would personally reserve VIP seats especially for the Woofer Magoo’s Family. After a long musical journey of singing in different venues with many bands, her dream became a reality when Charles escorted her to sing her first song in the Jose Feliciano 2013 World Tour. Amaryllis was granted her first glance at singing in front of an audience at Woofer Magoo’s, back in the early 90′s and is saddened by the closing of the Karaoke bar in 2013, Amaryllis believes in her firm opinion, “not all was or is bad with Woofer Magoo’s and she is living proof of that.”
Growing up in her youthful years Amaryllis was shy, and when she would sing, she’d put her hands inside her pockets. Those who know her today might raise an eyebrow if the word “shy” is utilized in a sentence to describe Amaryllis. She’s been known to lead a conga dance or two while handing out promo material and affectionately known as the “aggressive queen of follow-up,” in some music circles, due to her fierce passion of connecting people together for projects.
Amaryllis’s hero and inspiration is her only Daughter Desa-Rhea Jefferson, who at age two was diagnosed with liver cancer. As a single mother Amaryllis promised Desi that she would never give up on her educational or music endeavor that was her covenant to Desi. Amaryllis earned her MA in Music & Third Sector Leadership. In addition, Amaryllis is a fierce advocate for Women & Children; and 26 years later her daughter Desi is in her third remission of battling cancer, a proud Mother of two boys, and an MBA graduate.
Amaryllis is clearly passionate about her purpose; in 2005 she took a leap of faith and gave her 2-week notice from her job as a Case Manager for HIV/Aids Clients and their families in the South Central Pennsylvania region. She realized that being an Artist would be a full-time commitment. She can hear the agencies breathe a sigh of relief, due to her being a diligent case manager and advocate for her clients. She definitely encouraged those in higher positions to work for their salaries.
The journey hasn’t been easy, Amaryllis is grateful that Warren Taylor and his Mother invested and believed in her gifts and talents. Despite the family/legal hardships and the deeply rooted pain of grieving the passing of Martha Taylor in 2014; Amaryllis doesn’t take life-lessons and this journey called life for granted she’s extremely appreciative of the love and support. Amaryllis credits Jayne Miller for being an inspiration within her life and for believing in her dreams and supporting her music.
Her upcoming 2015 projects and collaborations are with Ray Fry, lyricist and CEO of Midas King Productions (London, UK) and his team, and Grammy Award-winning Italian producer Giampaolo Pasquile and Michele Garutti, who are currently collaborating on her next Smooth R&B Album due to be released by Play Records in early 2015.
Amaryllis has also been working with Carlos Paez, the former General Manager of Musical Productions (M.P. Records) – one of the top Latin music labels with Sony Distribution.
While on a media/radio tour with Jose “Coco” Solis, her promoter in the Dominican Republic, she was introduced to Jose Peña Suazo, international merengue artist and creator of the group, “La Banda Gorda.” Suazo wrote, composed, and arranged a song for her upcoming EP album. The album will also feature original music by Julio “Gunda” Merced who is recognized as one of the most accomplished Salsa producers. (Among his accolades are over a hundred hits and seventy record productions in collaboration with Nino Segarra, Tito Gomez, Luisito Carrion, Gilberto Santa Rosa, MP All Stars, Puerto Rican Power Orchestra, Mimi Ibarra, Roberto Roena, and Willie Rosario.)
This will be her third Latin Salsa music project. Her previous albums, “Sabor Latino” and “No Me Doy Por Vencida” were GRAMMY and LATIN GRAMMY submissions for consideration in 2011 and 2012.
The “Sabor Latino” album was produced in collaboration with Aaron “El Kosherican” Levinson, winner of the Grammy for Salsa Album of the Year 2005. Edy Martinez, also a Grammy nominee, arranged and played piano on her song. (As musical director he’s accompanied icons Ray Barreto, Gato Barbieri, Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaría and Dizzy Gillespie. As a pianist, he has played with many legends of the salsa and Latin jazz world including Rubén Blades, Jerry Gonzalez, Celia Cruz, Alfredito de la Fé, Paquito de Rivera and others.)
The album “No Me Doy Por Vencida” reached #34 in The Tropical Latin Charts in 2012. It was produced in collaboration with Erben Perez (Mark Anthony’s Bass Player for 20+ years), and Craig White who is a 30 year veteran of all phases of the entertainment industry. (His engineering credits include projects with Celine Dion, Kool and the Gang, Gerald Levert, Wendy O. Williams, and most of the Philadelphia International Records roster; Phyllis Hyman, Dexter Wansel, The O’Jays, and Lou Rawls.)
The Next Level CD was her first original studio recording and received a Special Mention at Marché International du Disque et de l’Edition Musicale (MIDEM), the Cannes, France music trade fair. Amaryllis is the First Jazz Latina to have 2 songs in the Top 10 of MIDEM’s Preview Magazine in 2008. (#6 – Simply Me and #10 – VFW.)
Amaryllis’ company, Syllirama Entertainment, LLC, produced the Jose Feliciano “World Tour 2013” at The Forum Auditorium in Harrisburg, PA, where she performed as his special guest.
She’s a GRAMMY & Latin Academy of Recording Art and Sciences (LARAS) voting member, and former Governor for the Philadelphia Chapter of the Recording Academy. She is also a member of the HACC-Central PA Community College Music Industry Advisory Board.