Herman Olivera is a salsa singer from Newark, New Jersey. Born to Puerto Rican parents, he began his career in New York City where he earned his reputation as a “sonero,” that is, an expert in the demanding art of lyric extemporization. In a genre overrun by pop-oriented singers, Herman’s musicality and mastery in this regard garnered him the sobriquet of “El Sonero del Siglo XXI” (“Sonero of the 21st Century”). Today Herman counts among the most in-demand and hardworking salsa singers around. His voice literally permeates the sound of hard-hitting salsa from the 1980s to the present—with album credits with the likes of Tito Puente and Eddie Palmieri, among many others—where he has contributed to the continued vitality and development of the sonero tradition.
He began performing in his early teens and achieved international recognition in the early 1980s as the lead singer of "Conjunto Libre”—a legendary salsa group whose hits "Decidete," "No Me Echen La Culpa," and “Elena Elena" are now considered salsa standards by many. He then went on to form recording and performance collaborations with the who’s who of salsa, including Johnny Pacheco, Ray Barretto, The Machito Orchestra, and Israel Cachao Lopez, among many others. Since the late 1990s Herman has assumed the prestigious role of lead vocalist for the Eddie Palmieri Orchestra, with whom he currently maintains a busy touring and recording schedule. To date Herman has recorded on over 45 albums, received four Grammy nominations and is the recipient of two Grammy awards.
While Herman is best known for his work within established ensembles, in 2014 he recorded his debut album titled “La Voz del Caribe” (Salsaneo Records). The album had its North American release in 2015 where it was very well-received. Luis Medina, (broadcaster/DJ/producer) hailed it as “flawless, passionate and strong,” and Ben Ratliff (New York Times) viewed it as “a kind of textbook for (Herman’s) genre, mapping out the aims and dimensions of his art and making it happen.” As a follow-up Herman is currently finalizing his 2016 US/Canada “Esto Es Salsa!” tour with dates already confirmed in San Diego, San Francisco and Toronto. This tour will feature performances of his “hits” as well as new material. For this occasion Herman will be accompanied by the Herman Olivera Orchestra featuring renowned musicians from a cross-section of Latin American countries and backgrounds.