Born and raised in the Bronx, and now a Jersey City resident, raised in a single parent home, Judy Torres is an independent, self-sufficient woman who lives out her dreams every day and continues to strive to grow and progress. From childhood, she decided one day, while taking a bath, that singing was what would save her from the challenges and struggles in day to day life. She instinctively knew that singing was her calling – whether or not she could sing.
Her parents both encouraged her by providing a brush as a microphone and placing her on the dining room table to perform. After her revelation in the bathroom at about 9 years old, she quickly realized she needed to improve her skills and needed to make herself known. Saddened at the fact that voice lessons were not afforded, she opted to get involved at singing in the school choir and have her own “voice lessons” with Barbra Streisand and Styx records. Barbra taught her how to support her breath, and Styx taught her vibrato. By ten, she was writing her own songs and boldly introduced herself to Arista Records, stating that she was a good singer in the glee club with good grades. That determination and courage to take risks led to the beginning of a career that would flourish.
At seventeen, she was discovered in a nightclub in the Bronx, Sidestreet, where she competed in a Gong Show. George Vascones, one of the judges who almost gonged her for being humorous, approached her and soon became her first manager. Knowing Judy needed original material, he soon introduced her to producer and friend, Mickey Garcia. “No Reason to Cry” was soon released and after a year or so of promotion, Profile Records signed her, and subsequently released “Come Into My Arms”. Radio stations throughout the country played both songs and shortly became the favorites of people from all around. The success of these two singles granted her the opportunity to record her first album entitled “Love Story” for which she reached the Billboard Dance charts and received wonderful reviews. The self-titled single was released along with “Love You, Will You Love Me”, “Please Stay Tonight” and “Missing Part.” Although Judy was pursuing a degree while in college, Judy was forced to leave because of the success of the album. There was a huge demand for her to tour all over the United States, and was opening for celebrities such as Gladys Knight, the late Tito Puente, Menudo, Celia Cruz, La India and Lisa-Lisa. She even received network coverage when she brought Geraldo Rivera on stage to dance with her at Nassau Coliseum.
In 1992, her second album, “My Soul” was released, and Billboard sang her praises once again, comparing her to the sirens of the time such as Whitney Houston and Taylor Dayne. The album was dedicated to the prevention of domestic violence and to the survivors as well. The single, “I Love You for All Seasons” debuted and received national airplay and also became Judy’s first video. Judy has since has been featured on hundreds of compilations as well as recordings on Mic-Mac, Critical, Intersound and others.
Fifteen years later, Judy still packs nightclubs throughout the country without having a recent hit on the radio. The reason? She believes she’s worked very hard to be an entertainer as much as a singer. She feels that connecting with the audience is vital to the show?she wants to sing with them, for them, but not at them. She also tries to remain balanced and down to earth as much as possible so that she and the audience remain connected. She is unafraid to speak her mind, she is not flustered if her costume tears or if a heckler tries to disturb her. But it is her innate ability to touch the audience and love them with sincerity that keeps her alive.Her personality and performance skills have brought her to other careers such as Off-Broadway, plus size modeling for Ashley Stewart Stores, getting her story published (Chocolate for a Woman’s Dreams), performing her one woman cabaret shows, and a career with radio. She has worked at WKTU in New York for the last five years, appearing on the KTU morning show for a year and a half, and hosting her own #1, successful freestyle show Sunday evenings from 8 to 10p.m.
In her spare time, she volunteers at Aquinas High School as assistant director/choreographer to the musicals, and donates her spare time to charities such as Boys and Girls Club, Covenant House and Promesa. She is a frequent speaker at local schools where she addresses the importance of having a mission in life and the importance of a healthy self-esteem.
She is currently recording a greatest hits album where three original songs will be included as well. She cannot wait to surprise her audience with her next project: an original album showing her growth as a vocalist. No doubt, she is a survivor, a victor not a victim, a woman who perseveres through the changing times and a woman of substance.