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Producer, activist, composer, trombonist, arranger, singer, writer and humorist; the list goes on. Father of 4 sons, grandfather of 4 and a recent great- grand father; husband to Julia for 32 years; pilot, boater and techno geek.
Best known as the most successful Salsa music producer to date.
He’s produced and collaborated with 3 of its most important stars. His recordings with Hector LaVoe established the Salsa genre and opened an international market for the music; a partnership that yielded many great hits including the 2nd biggest seller of all time, ASALTO NAVIDENO. This album blended Puerto Rican folkloric music with an urban sound, introducing the Puerto Rican cuatro and Yomo Toro to the world.
He’s also responsible for Salsa’s #1 selling record. A 7 year collaboration with Willie launched Ruben Blades’ career and started the conscientious Salsa movement. 25 years later the critically acclaimed SIEMBRA still holds the #1 spot for sales. Willie produced and collaborated many great artists such as the late great Celia Cruz (4 albums). As a solo artist, producer or co-artist Willie Colon has had an extraordinary musical journey spanning 4 decades and countless recognitions the world over filling coliseums and stadiums on his yearly performance tours.
Willie lobbied Pope John Paul to reduce third world debt along with Bono and Quincy Jones. He traveled with CARE’s to bring clean water to villages in the Andes. He advocated for the AIDS stricken, the homeless, the victimized and the powerless here and abroad. He participated as an observer on a Congressional mission to the Middle East and was presented the Fashion Institute’s Humanitarian Award by Carolina Herrera and Oscar De La Renta. He received 2 doctorates for courage in art and humane letters and a fellowship from Yale University.
He has run for office three times in his birth place, New York. His advice and support is sought by candidates and causes; locally, nationally and internationally.