From the slums of Puerto Rico to the world stage, José Feliciano, embarks upon a 55+ year career and becomes a 9 time Grammy Winner.
From Light My Fire to Feliz Navidad to Chico and the Man to global stardom, the film chronicles this under-appreciated singer/songwriter/musician.
Emmy nominated, Addy and Telly award winning writer, producer, director and actor Frank Licari teams up with thirty year music industry veteran, and first-time director, Helen Murphy, to bring you this compelling story of blind Puerto Rican singer, Jose Feliciano.
The film is co-directed by Khoa Le and the film was executive produced by Murphy, Licari and Le, edited by Paul Jaigua with cinematography by Egor Morozov.
Helen Murphy is a thirty year veteran of the music and entertainment industry. Among other accolades, Helen is ranked as one of Billboard’s 2020 Power 100. Murphy is the CEO of Anthem Entertainment and former CFO for Warner Music Group, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. Murphy is a seasoned strategic financial and operational executive with broad, top-level experience in media and entertainment, playing a key role in shaping major corporations as well as managing their key infrastructure. Prior to founding IMS, as EVP and CFO for Warner Music Group (WMG), she played a pivotal role in Time Warner's sale of WMG for approximately US $2.6 billion; creating the world's largest privately held independent music company. She orchestrated WMG's exit from the recorded music manufacturing business, selling its DVD/CD manufacturing and physical-distribution businesses to Cinram International for US$1.1 billion. In 2012, Ms. Murphy was the lead external negotiator for Sony Corporation and Mubadala Development Company to acquire The EMI Music Publishing catalog for $1 billion and to negotiate a long term administration deal for the Sony/ATV Catalog with Mubadala.Prior to joining WMG, Ms. Murphy was CFO for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. (MSO), where she led the company's highly successful initial public offering. At Westvaco Corporation, Ms. Murphy was CFO and initiated and completed a $650 million acquisition, reduced the company's capital spending and developed the strategic planning function.
Frank Licari has written, produced and directed over 200 live and filmed productions across four continents including six feature films, three network television shows, hundreds of live theatrical productions including five Off-Broadway plays, dozens of musical concerts, comedy events, commercials, corporate videos and webisodes.
He is the co-writer/producer of the film, Walt Before Mickey (Netflix, Amazon, Itunes), a former Blue Man with the Blue Man Group, the host of On The Town on PBS and an actor who has guest starred on Network and Cable TV: Blue Bloods (CBS), The Resident (Fox), Graceland (USA), Jessica Jones (Netflix), Bloodline (Netflix), Burn Notice (USA) and appeared in the feature films, American Made (Tom Cruise), Papa (Giovanni Ribisi) and Saw:Spiral (Chris Rock, Samuel Jackson). For the past 13 years, Mr. Licari has written, directed and produced the Palm Beaches Showcase of Films Festival.
In 2021, Licari appears as Dean Paul McFarlane on the Hulu show The Hardy Boys and he currently has two films in post-production. He has been a member of SAG/Aftra since 1996 and is a member of ACTRA.
FELICIANO: A Name That is Synonymous with MUSIC. It is synonymous with an international presence that has inﬂuenced popular music for two generations. It is synonymous with a presence that has
bridged musical styles in a way that has never been equaled. José Feliciano is recognized as the first Latin Artist to effectively cross over into the English music market, opening the doors for other artists who now play an important role in the American music industry.
As importantly, Feliciano has been acclaimed by critics around the world as “The greatest living guitarist.” Referred to as “The Picasso of his Realm,” José Feliciano’s accomplishments are highly celebrated. He’s been awarded over forty-ﬁve Gold and Platinum records; he has won nineteen Grammy nominations, earning nine Grammy Awards, including the “LARAS Award for Lifetime Achievement.”
José Feliciano’s musical career has been immortalized with a Star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame while New York City honored him by re-naming Public School 155 in East Harlem, “The José Feliciano Performing Arts School.” The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre, an ancient and prestigious Papal Order of the Catholic Church knighted José in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral and he received a Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Sacred Heart University in Fairﬁeld, Connecticut, for his musical, as well as humanitarian, contributions to the world. Guitar Player Magazine awarded him “Best Pop Guitarist,” placing him in their “Gallery of the Greats,” and he was voted both “Best Jazz” and “Best Rock Guitarist” in the Playboy Magazine reader’s poll, as well. In 1996, José was selected to receive Billboard Magazine’s “Lifetime Achievement Award.”
Continuing to be constantly in demand, José has performed for and with some of the most important people on Earth. He’s enjoyed playing with many of the top symphonic orchestras including the London Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. He’s appeared on major television shows worldwide; he has done a number of his own specials and his music has been featured on television, in ﬁlms and on the stage.
José was born blind, to humble beginnings, on September 10, 1945, in Lares, Puerto Rico. One of eleven boys, his love affair with music began at the age of three when he ﬁrst accompanied his uncle on a tin cracker can. When he was ﬁve, his family immigrated to New York City. Young José learned to play the concertina at age six, using a handful of records as his teacher. At the age of 8, he entertained his classmates at PS 57, and at 9, performed at The Puerto Rican Theater in the Bronx. Venturing beyond the accordion around that time, he taught himself to play the guitar with undaunted determination and again, with nothing but records as his teacher, practicing for as many as 14 hours a day. Exposed to the Rock’n’Roll of the 50’s, José was then inspired to sing.
At 17, José quit school. His father was not working at the time and he needed to help his family. He starting playing in coffee houses in Greenwich Village and for his salary — as was the norm during that time in small clubs — they’d “pass the hat.” He played in coffee houses, clubs and cafés from Boston to Cleveland to Detroit, Chicago and Denver. A music critic from the New York Times, reviewing his performance at Gerde’s Folk City, referred to him as a “10-ﬁngered wizard who romps, runs, rolls, picks and reverberates his six strings in an incomparable fashion.” He added, “If you want to witness the birth of a star, catch Mr. Feliciano before he leaves tomorrow night.” Around this time, Jack Somer, an A&R executive from RCA, went to the Village to audition a trio who was there, saw José perform and signed him to RCA, instead. This was, indeed, the Birth of a Star.
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