Jaci Velasquez (born Jacquelyn Davette Velasquez on October 15, 1979) is an American Contemporary Christian and pop singer. Her first name is pronounced as "Jackie".
Velasquez grew up attending church and her parents were singers. Her mother has Mexican ancestry; From both sides of her family, Velasquez also has Spanish, French, Scottish, and Arabic ancestry. When she was ten years old, her parents sold their Houston home and dedicated themselves to touring the United States with their Christian music. It was while on the road that she was discovered by a representative of Myrrh Records.
In 1995, Velasquez sang at an Alvin, Texas church (ESMIRNA) where she met Mauricio Ruiz, a local immigration consultant, as well as his wife, Flora Ruiz. They made a large contribution in support of Velasquez and her parents. This helped her and her family to travel the United States and launch her singing career.
Velasquez released her first CD album in 1996, and five of the songs on that CD became #1 hits, the album was later certified Platinum. She has since released six English-language albums, two of which were certified Gold. She has produced 16 #1 Christian radio hits and six other top 10 singles. She has won 7 Dove awards including New Artist of the Year and 2 Female Vocalist of the Year nods. In 1998, she signed to Sony Latin and was introduced to Rudy Perez, who produced her 1st Spanish language crossover album Llegar a Ti. After that, Velasquez was able to achieve the crossover appeal she desired, building a fan base among Hispanics as well as other Americans. Her Latin music success includes 4 Spanish language releases, 3 #1 Latin Billboard Singles, 2 Platinum albums, a Premio Lo Nuestro Award for New Artist of the Year and 2 Billboard Latin Music Awards. Velasquez was given a chance in 2002 to act in her first Hollywood movie, Chasing Papi. As well as Velasquez, this movie featured Sofia Vergara, Puerto Rico's Roselyn Sanchez and Mexico's Eduardo Verastegui, as well as Nicole Scherzinger in a cameo role; it was released nationwide in the United States in April 2003. The movie reached as high as #11 at the box office and grossed $6 million in total. Velasquez has appeared in over 50 magazines and sang for President George W. Bush multiple times.
On August 16, 2003, Velasquez married Darren Potuck, band member of AutoVaughn, who is from Goshen, Indiana. They were married under two years when divorce papers were filed and granted. Prayers are appreciated for healing.
Velasquez appeared in the December 2003 issue of Right On! magazine, where editor Cynthia Horner called her, among other things, a true role model to teens.