Born into the Soto Sordera clan of Gypsy flamenco singers, he spent his early years working as a sought-after singer accompanying flamenco dance ensembles with the likes of Mario Maya, Carmen Mora and El Guito to his tours with Antonio Gades. He garnered worldwide recognition as a solo artist with his groundbreaking 1998 recording Del Amanecer. Through his concerts and more than 600,000 albums sold over the past 15 years, he has made an enduring mark on flamenco.
Born in 1955 in Jerez de la Frontera (Spain), José Mercé (José Soto) is the great grandson of seguiriya maestro Paco Luz and nephew of Manuel Soto “Sordera”, a patriarch of Jerez flamenco After singing as a child in the students’ choir of the Mercy Basilica (from which he took his artistic name), he appeared in Los Jueves Flamencos de Jerez and in the tablao La Cueva del Pájaro Azul.
He arrived to Madrid when he was 13 years old to record his first album produced by Manuel Ríos Ruiz, who would later write that “the consolidation of José Mercé as a new figure in singing means, for Jerez de la Frontera, the continuity of the flamenco miracle.”
With numerous Latin Grammy nominations and over 600,000 albums sold in the last 15 years, Jose Merce is a major star in Spain. His flamenco adaptions of Latin American and Spanish topical songs such as “Te recuerdo, Amanda” by Chilean singer-songwriter Victor Jara; “Clandestinos” by mestizo music pioneer Manu Chao and “Al Alba” by Spanish singer-songwriter Luis Eduardo Aute, defy all categories, taking flamenco to a broader audience. The latest addition to his extensive discography will be an album produced by Javier Limon to be released on Blue Note EMI in the fall of 2012.
Amongst his many credits include his participation in two Carlos Saura films: Bodas de sangre (Blood Wedding) and flamenco.
His numerous honors and awards include winning Cordoba’s National Contest of flamenco Art in 1986, an appointment as Hijo Predilecto de la Provincia de Cádiz (Favorite Son of the Province of Cádiz) in 2007, the Medal of Andalusia in 2010, and the 2011 FCG International Award for the Performing Arts.
Puro y Jondo, with Fernando de la Morena (2002)
Lo mejor de José Mercé (The best of José Mercé) (2003)