Wednesday, October 27, 2010


First, let me apologize to my faithful followers of the blog!!  I know the blogs about Le Parisen were suddenly gone...I was doing some editing, wanted to change some things, and when I went to retrieve them, I accidentally lost them!! UGH!!  I actually saw some followers having a conversation among each touched me actually that you were worried about me.  I am fine.  Now I know the true meaning of "backing up your computer & documents"!  LOL...

So we are almost 2 weeks away from the celebrating the big 25th Anniversary of Freestyle!!  Wow!  I can't even begin to tell you how crazy that sounds!   I have had this career as a recording artist for 24 years...yes, freestyle had a head start before I broke in the business.  If you are a freestyle freak, you will recall how freestyle spread like wildfire in New York, Florida, Iloinois and California!  Freestyle was in everyone's walkmans (lol, remember that?), cassettes and on the radio on almost every was huge! Freestyle became unanimous with New York culture!  Freestyle was a celebration of the latino culture influencing American dance music - it was clean, feel good music. It was about love, falling in love, losing love, wanting love, cheating love...bottom line it was about the basic feelings of the youth in the 80s.  In other words, freestyle was good, clean fun, have never heard about "gangsta freestyle" LOL...

The 80's were synonymous with freestyle, cavarrici's, high hair, aqua net hairspray, and nightclubs such as Palladium, 1018, Devil's Nest, La Mirage, Marty & Lenny's, Copacabana, Exit, Paled's, Red Parrot, and Emerald City!!  It was a wonderful time for all of us - we were free!!  We didn't have all the drama...we were just celebrating and loving life!  So at first this style of music had no name.  But somehow the industry decided it needed a label. I HATE labels...labels, I find them to be limiting.  Labels puts things in a box, to me, keeps things restricted. So the music industry began writing articles:  "What is this new wave of music?"  "The New Latin Hip-Hop...then it evolved to Latin because I think music is for all people, it is simply FREESTYLE!!  And the crowds that the freestyle shows drew were in drones of the thousands!!!  I will NEVER forget that!  I can never forget it!  And so,  freestyle became a frenzy, an out of control storm force that could not be stopped.  Or could it???

Suddenly in the mid 90s, something happened, and everyone has a different explanation for it.  In the mid 90's there was a station called HOT 103...Hot 103 had given birth to the freestyle by being the first station to play it.  And before you know it, major pop stations such as Z100 wanted to have freestyle artists to perform at their functions.  And what most people don't know is that in the inner circles of freestyle, it became a political war!  Station vying against station, fighting over us...We had a chance to cross over and be more pop, aka, TOP 40 - the very thing all artists strive to achieve.  And for a second we had a taste of it.  But what you don't know is that while many of the freestyle artists saw the chance, we couldn't take the opportunity.  You see, there was a threat going on behind closed doors. It was an unspoken threat:  If you do the show, the parade, the concert for such and such a station, we will black ball all your music and NEVER support your music again.  It may not sound scary, but it became extremely frustrating to feel that one small step could potentially ruin our in a way, many freestyle artists were literally held back. 

There is another theory as to why freestyle did not continue:  EVERYONE was doing it - everyone wanted piece of the freestyle pie...this is not a fact, just an opinion  here.  But I feel that in some ways, freestyle needed to grow - it needed to expand and change and evolve in the very same way that hip hop and rap has over the years.  For some reason, the demand for new freestyle was so HUGE and STRESSFUL, that many people just copied the same recipes from other songs, and before you know it...some people could not distinguish who was who.  Also because everyone wanted it, so many more freestyle artists were emerging...and it seemed that everyone was signing anyone, and thus, the quality of some artists, the standards were not as high anymore. I am not trying to put anyone down - it's an observation that many of us have talked about.

I will never forget the day I was at HOT 103...and an announcement was made that they were changing dials to HOT 97. In less than a year, sometime in the early 90's, HOT 97's program director announced that HOT 97 would no longer play freestyle...they announced they would be changing their format to play a new genre of music:  Hip-Hop!  It was the beginning of the end for freestyle!  And once New York stopped supporting freestyle, the other stations around the country followed suit.  And we were faced with a harsh reality that freestyle was "over."  We were told to go find jobs...I had even heard a rumor that the program director owned a restaurant at the time, and was said to have mocked us by saying, "If they need a job, they can wait tables at my place."  Ouch. That hurt.  I never forgot it.

I remember walking the streets of Parkchester, in the Bronx...and wondering, "What am I going to do?"  We had such a  tremendous success, that I think we didnt' see the end ever coming.  We felt invincible...that freestyle would last forever.  We were wrong...well, sort of.  I can't tell you what everyone did; I can only tell you what happened to me.  I was not ready for the rainy day.  I did not save enough money.   was so preoccupied with taking care of my family, my siblings, etc., that I kind of gave it all away.  And little by little, the shows slowed down.  the bills began coming.  It is VERY expensive to keep this business going. Each artist is their very own business...and they have LOTS of overhead:  you have to pay your manager, booking agent, road manager, dancers.  You have to constantly invest an re-invest into yourself...there are costumes to buy, shoes to wear, make up, hair, nails...and you have to keep it fresh to keep up the face e of the illusion you've learned to give the public.  The public loves to believe you have it all, when in essence, you are truly spending a LOT of money.  In less than a year, I lost my precious condominium that Ihad purchased at the age of 18!  Gone. Done.  My stubbon self refused to declare bankruptcy, so I paid off every single credit card.  I was stil singing, but instead of 12 shows a month, it was about 2...too little to suvive one.  I became an aerobics instructor, I worked for two attorneys, and every once in a while deal with the "shame" of someone recognizing me on the street, saying, "Oh, my God! Judy Torres?? Judy Torres works here?!"   Ah, yes it was a very humbling time for me...and I am happy to have been humbled!  It was a valuable lesson to learn...and I'm glad God gave me that lesson very early. 

And then something happened.  The phone started ringing again.  I was told that the people in the clubs were asking to hear me perform...huh? But the songs are so old didn't matter.  And in a couple of months I was working regularly perfornmng in clubs.  I wasn't the only one - George Lamond TKA Coro, Cynthia, etc...we all were working consistently.  And in a few more years, a new station re-emerged:  WKTU, the Beat of New York. And they supported freestyle...the people's hunger to hear it agin was satisfied. I was hired there and for 12 1/2 years I hosted the KTU Freestyle Free For All.  And soon after, the idea of freestyle concerts began to flourish, and we were once again thrown into a resurgence of freestyle, accompanied by new fans - the younger borthers and sisters and children of the original freestyle freaks!  We've been able to say we've performed in the big arenas:  Nassau Coliseum, PNC Bank Arts Center, arenas all over the country and finally the world famous Madison Square Garden....almost 25 years later!!  Sold OUT!!  It has been an incredible ride.

We are now less than two weeks away from the 25th Anniversary of Freestyle!! Twenty-five years!!!  A quarter of a century! If someone had told me I'd still be singing No Reason to Cry ans  Come Into My Arms 25 years later, I would never have believed them!  But yet, here we are...and I have to tell you how grateful I am, how grateful we all are, that you have stood by us through thick and thin.  And it is YOU, the PEOPLE who forced freestyle to be reincarnated!!!  I will take this joy to my grave!  And I will NEVER again take it for granted. I am well aware that we are all getting older - many of you have children, mortgages, and I fear the day that you wil all say, "Ay, I wish I could go to the show, but I'm too tired!" LOL...

And so, I enjoy

And when I step out onto the stage in two weeks to sing, I am going to soak up EVERY SINGLE MINUTE!!  I have some special things planned...I want to show the "industry", well, we STILL GOT IT!! And FREESTYLE isn't going anywhere!!  It is the voice of the people, it is a part of our is our LEGACY!!!                                        


  1. Hi judy! Just read your blog, very interesting :) it answered all my questions. Im 23 and just got into freestyle for about 3 years. I do remember hearing it growing up and i liked it. Just wanted to share something with you, when i started listening to freestyle i would blast it in my car and listen to it eveerrryyy day and for some reason i would like certain songs without knowing who it was. So one day i pkayed freestyle for my little sis to hear and she said... i think its the same person singing. It was you :) i kept playing no reason to cry and come into my arms and a few others. So then i said I like her style and her songs, shes my fav one. i got through school listening to comw into my arms every morning (no lie) and it brought me to a calm state of mind esp since my carrer was hectic (dental hygiene) lol im a lil off now. But just wanted to say that your songs along with many other freestylers helped me literally dance and get through school. Ive wanted to see you perform since 08 in A.C but school was tough couldnt take a break. Im hoping i can make it thos time :)) good luck with your show !!! I will continue blasting your songs everywhere i go. Take care hope to meet you soon!!! ~ ingry newark,nj

  2. What a great tribute to all the freestyle fans and artists. I love how none of you's turned to "gangsta" Judy, you have and always will be the "Queen" of freestyle, not just with your music, but with your entire being! What a blessing, to all the freestyle fans, you are.

    Trish, PA

  3. Everyone in Brooklyn, Staten Island and Parts of Queens knows that B91 played Freestyle before anyone in the city including Hot 103. How could we not, Mickey Garcia was part of our staff. We played George Lamond when he was Loose Touch. I could go on and on. I understand why our station didn't get the recognition up in the Bronx, Manhattan, some of Queens and on the Tommy Boy Freestyle series liner notes but the facts are the facts and we beat them to records all the time. Just ask the producers of the day as they brought us all the music by hand. ;)

  4. Hi Judy, I also read somewhere a similar story about the history of Freestyle.

    However during the 80s I was working 60 hour weeks in my warehouse job doing order picking - TONS OF OVERTIME-- but also like you I never saved the money!! Yes my parents told me but did I listen? Noooooo lmao instead I took cruise vacations 1-3x a year at $1800 - $2000 a pop lol- yes that overtime was spent in the Caribbean LOL..

    I always thought the money made from record sales and ticket sales covered the costs for you, your manager, road manager and dancers.. guess I was wrong.

    Leslie XOOXX

  5. Hi Judy: WOW 25yrs. Best years for music as far as I'm concerned. That was when music was good. Todays music has no soul. You have been named the Queen of Freestyle. What an honor. I love it. Like La India is La Princess of Salsa. I'm thankful that your still performing. I like the other frestyle artist, but your the one I come to see and will continue too see. Music is a hard industry all around. It was hard then and is harder now. I'm just glad we can still enjoy it on WKTU. I'm sure Beatstock will be amazing. Good Luck. God Bless.
    Love Connie Ruiz.

  6. Hey Judy, I remember when the radio stations stopped playing freestyle in the early 90's. I was in college at the time, and I just kept playing my freestyle tapes in my car. I was always driving a lot back then, and had friends in my car all the time listening to freestyle music. Then years later when it came back on the radio, a friend of mine said to me, "I turned on the radio in my car, and I felt like I was in your car!" LOL. I always kept it alive, and I still do. I'm glad i'm not the only one supporting Freestyle. I also cherish the music because back then when I felt like I had nothing in my life and I was stuggling everyday, I had my freestyle music to keep my spirits up. And going to the clubs to see my favorite performers was my little escape from my stressful life. And I will forever be thankful for that. The music got me through some tough moments. Music is a simple gift that can do wonders for the soul.

  7. Ay Judy, I must say I felt every word of this blog to the fullest! Funny how I think you have answered many of the questions I had back in the day about you...It's amazing how we strive to get up there and in the slightest blink of an eye "vavoom!" It's all gone! I can't exactly relate to your situation, for I did not have your fortune and fame. But I can relate in other ways, sabes? Here I am working so hard on my first Latin Freestyle album, and after hearing your story, ahora estoy, asustada! LOL...But Ima take your words and hold them close. I'll have what I will call "My personal Judy hand me down advice booklet" LOL...Like I said, Ima hold those words for dear life, cuz who knows where my voice will take me. Freestyle has always been la unica clase de musica que me encantava back in the 80's...I was stuck on it like flys on caca girl ! Y mira me ahora! I'm 36 girl and JUST now doing my thing...I always ask myself why didn't I do this when I was young(ER) ;.)
    Well, God does things de una manera for a reason, so let's see what he has in store these days! Honestly I didn't know I could sing until I lost my mother back in 1996..I sat in my house and recorded a song for her a couple yrs. later called "I Miss You Ma," and that's when my music career began! Thanks to my Mother, you, my sad ass past relationships and all the other Freestyle artists for the inspiration I have obtained over the yrs. Love you Girl...Get em Girl, cuz your music, your voice, and your style will NEVER DIE!!!

  8. Hi Judy:

    Wow..I'm glad that Freestyle is hot and alive. I just wished I had the money to come and see you guys at the Taj. Growing up, that's all I listened to and now I listen via internet since I moved to SC. I still think you are the greatest. Your music inspired me and still does til this day. You may not realize it, but you did help me heal heartbreaks. My brother-in-law (who recently passed)and I always played your music at all our parties/events. You are very powerful, beautiful and inspirational.. Keep up the good work and sing your heart out. I LOVE YOU JUDY...Have a great time at the bash and I will be home thinking how I wish I could be there. I husband was out of work for awhile and my bills are piled up to the ceiling. I would never be able to afford to go. Break a leg! Nat