Gilberto Santa Rosa is a renowned salsa singer, known for his versatility with both the tropical and romantica style as well as for being a talented sonero who is often called “El Caballero de la Salsa" or “The Gentleman of Salsa”. He is also known for his diverse recordings which range from traditional mambos, classic salsa ballads, and modern Latin styles. Many of his recordings have gone on to earn gold and platinum status.
Santa Rosa was born in the Santurce district of San Juan, Puerto Rico on August 21, 1962 as Gilberto Santa Rosa Cortés. He started singing, in his estimation, between the ages of six or seven. At ten he learned how to sing salsa and in 1975 at the age of twelve, he performed on a Puerto Rican television show. Even though he went on to study various instruments at the famous music school Escuela Libre de Música de San Juan, he would never forget his first love and would continue to sing as his main avenue of performance. His first big break came at the age of fifteen when he recorded backup for the trumpeter Mario Ortiz in the Mario Ortiz Orchestra. This would lead to recordings with Tommy Olivencia in the La Primerísima Orquestra, six albums with the Willie Rosario Orchestra, and job as lead singer of La Grande Orchestra. Santa Rosa would also record a tribute to Eddie Palmieri with the Puerto Rican Allstars called "Homenaje a Eddie Palmieri”.
The Gilberto Santa Rosa Orchestra was formed in 1986 and recorded many hits including "Vivir Sin Ella", "De Amor y Salsa", "Punto de Vista", “Perspectiva", and "Good Vibration". The group has recorded the well known albums “Perspectiva”, “Esencia”, “Auténtico”, “Expression”, “Fulana”, and “Viceversa”. Santa Rosa is still an active musician, most recently with the 2007 album “Contraste”.
Santa Rosa has won the 1990 Billboard Lo Nuestro Award for Best Male Singer, was a Puerto Rican good will ambassador to Japan, and has performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City. As a big fan of the late singer Tito Rodriquez, Santa Rosa has amassed a large collection of his memorabilia and has performed and recorded many of his songs. Santa Rosa has also been a successful stage actor, performing alongside Rafo Muñiz and Luis Vigoreaux in a production of “La Pareja Dispareja” or The Odd Couple.