Brenda K. Starr

Brenda K. Starr (born October 15, 1966) is an American  singer originally in dance-pop, but now mostly in salsa-based music. She is also well known for her 1980s work with Freestyle music.


Starr was born as Brenda Kaplan to a Jewish American father, organist, Harvey Kaplan (also known as Harvey Kaye of the 1960s band the Spiral Starecase) and a Puerto Rican Roman Catholic mother. Her only album to make the U.S. Billboard 200 albums chart was her self-titled second album (her major-label debut), which peaked at fifty-eight. She has had two top forty hits on the Billboard Hot 100: “I Still Believe” (which peaked at #13) and “What You See is What You Get” (which peaked at #24 and at #6 on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play).

Her song “Sweet Surrender” was included in the soundtrack for the 1988 teen film License to Drive starring Corey Haim. During the late 1980s, Mariah Carey sang background vocals for Starr, and Starr helped Carey secure a recording contract by giving a demo tape of hers to Columbia Records executive Tommy Mottola at a party. By 1991, Mariah Carey had become Sony/Columbia’s star attraction, which caused Starr’s career to shrink in terms of commercial success. After being dropped from Sony/Columbia Records for lackluster sales of her second album, By Heart, Starr worked odd jobs to support herself and her family for several years, including one at a shopping mall in New Jersey.

Starr learned Spanish to help rejuvenate her career. From there, Starr became mostly a Salsa/Tropical and Latin Pop artist. After the release of her cover of Herida, which peaked at #16 on the Latin Pop Airplay and at #1 on the Latin Tropical/Salsa Airplay chart, her music career became successful again. From then, she released a string of popular, successful albums with many chart hits.

Recent times

Brenda was also a disc jockey at MIX 102.7, WNEW-FM, where she presented a request program “Under the Stars”, from 9 p.m. to midnight on Sunday nights before it changed formats. It appeared to have helped her music career since her concerts have begun to sell even stronger than before. The lead single from her seventh album, Atrevete a Olvidarme, titled, “Tu Eres” earned her a nomination by the Billboard Latin Music Awards in 2006.

Acting appearances

Starr has starred in several films, most notably in the 1980s urban film Beat Street, which had her portraying herself as a singer at an open-microphone audition.

Awards and recognitions

* 2002: Latin Grammy Awards: Nominated: “Best Salsa Album: for Temptation
* 2002: Latin Grammy Awards: Nominated: “Best Salsa Single” for “Por Ese Hombre”
* 2006: Billboard Latin Music Awards: Nominated: “Best Salsa Single” for “Tu Eres”


1985     I Want Your Love
1987     Brenda K. Starr
1990     By Heart
1997     Te Sigo Esperando
1998     No Lo Voy a Olvidar
2000     Petalos de Fuego
2002     All Time Greatest Hits
2002     Temptation
2004     So Good: 12″ Club Collection
2005     Atrevete a Olvidarme


1985     “Pickin’ Up Pieces”
1987     “Breakfast In Bed”/”Desayuno De Amor”
1988     “I Still Believe”
1988     “What You See Is What You Get
1988     “Straight From The Heart”
1991     “No Matter What” (with George Lamond)
1991     “If You Could Read My Mind”
1993     “So In Love”
1997     “Herida”
1998     “Si Mi Preguntan Por Ti”
1999     “I Still Believe/Creo en Ti”
1999     “Señor Amante”
2000     “Pétalos de Fuego”
2000     “Only Love”
2001     “Hold Me”
2002     “Por Ese Hombre”
2002     “Rabia” (Bolero Son)
2005     “Tú Eres”
2005     “Atrévete a Olvidarme”
2006     “Dámelo”

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