Juan de Dios Ventura Soriano “Johnny Ventura” was born March 8, 1940 in the city of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and from a very young age dreamed of becoming the best architect in the country without suspecting that the economic constraints that surrounded him, would obstruct his admission to University.
Therefor he decided to enroll in Ercina Chavalier commercial Institute, to become a commercial secretary, consisting of typing, shorthand, accounting and filing, namely, a short career program that would allow him to get into the labor market and make money in order to continue his university studies.
His destiny played out strangely for him: cultural activities were held at the Institute and Johnny, in order to please the girls of the Institute, participated as singer, dancer, reciter and animator. His classmates Andrés Araujo and Sergio Jiménez, urged him to participate in amateur programs of those times; and, as he resisted, they tricked him into going to Voz de la Alegria. Challenged by them, he practiced, sang and won first place. This happened one afternoon, on Thursday 2nd of June of the year 1956. 52 Years have passed since that important day for the Dominican Republic’s popular art.
Johnny studied singing and music at the school Voz Dominicana, a radio-television company, from which school of broadcasters, called Héctor. J. Díaz, he graduated as a professional broadcaster.
During his artistic life has taken his art through various countries in the world, including Puerto Rico, Haiti, Aruba, Canada, Jamaica; Venezuela, Curacao, Panama, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Chile, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Saint Croix, Saint Maarten, Saint Thomas, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Vieques, Tortola, Nassau, Nicaragua, El Salvador, in Europe, nearly across the continent and in the United States by almost all States and cities that make up the American union and also was the first Dominican artist to conquer numerous countries with his merengue music, this latter serving as important steps for many other artists.
He formed part of the orchestra Su Majestad of Rondon Votau, together with Carmen Severino and Nini Caffaro and after various groups, among which La Super Orquestra San Jose conducted by maestro Poapa Molina. In the last days of the year 1961, he joins the Group of Luis Pérez, with whom he recorded for the first time in February of 1962. Johnny Ventura is composer of 70% of the music that he plays and is the arranger of, at least, 80% of the music he has recorded.
El Combo Show by Johnny Ventura was declared on 9 occasions, the Combo of the year, by the prestigious NorthAmerican magazine Record World, whose Latin section was led by prominent Cuban journalist Tomas Fondora; Johnny Ventura has to his credit over 4,800 plaques and recognition by different entities of the world, both public and private.
Johnny Ventura was also elected by the Spanish People magazine as one of the 100 most influential figures of the 20th century.
He has received numerous honors from several Governments and municipalities in the world, where they were granted takers of the respective cities. In some countries, where he had the glory of being the first ‘merenguero’ to arrive, were declared days in his honor.
His discography is composed of 103 record productions, making him the most prolific Dominican artist in this respect, and whose recordings have been awarded with 28 gold discs, 2 Platinum, plus a Latin Grammy in 2004 and a Grammy Award for Excellence for his career in 2006.
In the city of Miami, Johnny was the ‘Rey de la Calle 8′ in the year 1987; in the Carnival of Barranquilla, Colombia, he won 4 Gold Congos and was the first Dominican artist to win the coveted Silver torch that is granted by the popular clamor from the public that attends the festival of Viñas del Mar in Chile.
He has recorded duets with various artists from the likes of Celia Cruz, Armando Manzanero, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Elvis Crespo, Olga Tañon, Sophy, Rolando La Serie, Ilegales, Grupo Niche, Víctor Víctor, Sergio Vargas, Wilfrido Vargas, El Jeffrey, Jandy Ventura, Milly Quezada, Néstor Torres, Héctor Acosta, Peña Suazo, Fernando Villalona, Rubby Pérez, Sexappeal, Cheo Feliciano, Daniela Romo, Fefita La Grande, María DíazLa India Canela, Miriam Cruz, Kinito Méndez, among many others.
In his country, he has won all the prizes that are awarded to artists and is part of the exclusive group that has received the’El Soberano’, which is the highest award given by the Association de Cronista de Arte of the Dominican Republic. He was also awarded by the ACE of New York, he is also the only Dominican forming part of the directors of the Academy of Latin music better known as Latin Grammys.
He has been honored by the Dominican congress as the ‘merenguero’ of the century, at the beginning of year 2000 he was also the first Dominican artist to be invited to the inauguration of an American President in 1974 when Jimmy Carter won.
Johnny Ventura is a lawyer by profession, he graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of ‘Tercera Edad’, in Santo Domingo his native Dominican Republic, he has been active in the politics of his country for more than 43 years, reaching positions such as; Deputy, Vice Mayor, Mayor and currently Ambassador for foreign investment, appointed by the President of the Republic Dr. Leonel Fernández.
Many consider him as the father of modern Merengue, others call him the joy of the country, the merenguero of the century, the living legend of Merengue, the national industry of joy, the largest horse, Lord of the Merengue or the son of the people.
This is our Johnny Ventura.