Salsa legend Marvin Santiago was born December 26, 1947, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Marvin was born into a musically active family. His brother (Billivan Santiago) became a successful plena vocalist, and he was groomed from a young age to be a bolero singer. Preferring the rhythmically exciting salsa style, Marvin aspired to sing with the popular dance bands of the day, eventually landing a gig with one of Puerto Rico's most famous bandleaders, Rafael Cortijo. In 1971 Santiago joined up with another struggling vocalist, Bobby Valentín, to form a duo that would quickly become a national sensation. The duo's debut, Rompecabezas, was followed by a record that would become a salsa classic, Soy Boricua. The album's title cut became an anthem of Puerto Rican pride in a decade that saw many boricuas moving to the United States, seeking alternatives to economic hardship.