Born Lisa Velez in New York's Hell's Kitchen, Lisa Lisa, the youngest of 10 children dreamed of becoming a recording star, while attending Julia Richmond High School, and working at Benetton, a New York City clothing manufacturer, where she folded sweaters. After hearing that Madonna was discovered by top dance/pop producer Jellybean Benitez at The Fun House, a non-liquor serving hangout for rappers and breakdancers, she'd sneak out of the family apartment after dark, hoping to be discovered in the same way.
Meeting Full Force: Paul Anthony, Bowlegged Lou, B-Fine, Baby Gerry, Shy Shy and Curt-t-t, who were built like pro football linebackers, was quite intimidating for young Lisa who was visibly nervous. After singing some songs Hughes wrote, she sang Sheena Easton's For Your Eyes Only. With that, Full Force was sure that they'd found the singer they were looking for. Signed to Full Force's management and production company, the group dubbed her Lisa Lisa and added Hughes and his friend, guitarist Alex Spanador Mosely as Cult Jam. Combining their signature beat and Lisa's vocals, the first single FF produced was I Wonder If I Take You Home. The group was signed to a NY-based label, Personal Records.
Lisa Lisa re-surfaced as a solo act on Pendulem, charting with Skip To My Lu, #38 R&B in late 1993 and When I Fell In Love in spring 1994 from the LL77 Album. The Spanish version, Cuando Me Enamore reached #16 on the Hot Latin Tracks, and was #1 in Puerto Rico. Lisa has performed in the theatre in the role of Evita, Maria in West Side Story, Anita in West Side Story, and most recently as the lead in the AMAS Theatre production of Barrio Babies. She still tours all over the world to sellout audiences and remains one of the most requested artists on radio stations across the country.
Lisa starred in the Nickelodeon show Taina, playing the young mom of a 14 year old girl who dreams of becoming a star. It was the first sitcom on television depicting a Latino family. Lisa has also completed a guest lead in the 300th episode of the popular NBC series Law & Order. Lisa remains a role model for her community, hosting events such as the Puerto Rican Day Parade, acting as spokesperson for the Literacy, Pass It On campaign, and countless other charitable and community based organizations. In 1989 Lisa was honored by President George Bush as the Most Accomplished Latin American Artist, National Hispanic Heritage Presidential Tribute.