Erika Maria Ender Simoes was born on the 21st of december in Panama city, Panama. Her mother is brazilian and her father is Panamanian-American. Due to the origin of her parents, she grew up in a culturally diversified upbringing, not only because of the three different languages that she was lucky to learn at home, Spanish, English, and Portuguese, but also because she was able to grasp the combination of all three influences in both music and customs.

Very early in her life, her artistic skills became apparent, and she started writing her first songs when she was only nine years old.

Erika was so anxious to hear the crowd applauding, to be on stage and before the cameras, that early on she started getting involved in the arts by participating in children's musical contests and by appearing on television, either by herself or accompanied by her school mates.

At sixteen, she won a national school poetry contest, and later on, she performed as a singer on a Venezuelan TV program called "Sábado Sensacional," aired in April, 1992 in her homeland, Panama, on which she sang a "tamborera" (a Panamanian beat) entitled "Has Estado en Panamá?" [Have you been to Panamá?] (Lyrics by Juan C. Candanedo and melody by Carl Ender) She was accompanied on the program by the National Folklore Ballet directed by dance instructor Elisa de Céspedes. This song was recorded in a promotional single and represented Panama in the 1992 Expo-Sevilla, promoting Panamanian tourism that year and brought an invitation to Erika to perform at the Central America Presidents' Summit, and at other events.

At eighteen, while studying Social Communication in college, she was selected to participate in the Nation OTI with a song written by her called "Mar Adentro" [Into the Sea]. Erika won the National Tamborera Festival as best singer with the song "Panamá La Verde" [Green Panama] (by Carl Ender). This very same year she recorded an album of traditional Panamanian songs entitled "La Nueva Parranda de Toby Muñoz." Shortly thereafter, she started on national television on Channel 2 as hostess of a special event variety show, as announcer, and as producer of different TV segments, while singing and writing on her own.

Later on, she was hired by Telemetro Panamá, Channel 13, to be a TV hostess and producer of segments of a weekly musical show, on which she had the opportunity to meet and interview a number of great stars, such as Shaggy, Shakira, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Ricardo Montaner, Olga Tañón, among so many others...

During this period, she also had the opportunity to share the stage as a singer with big-name talents, such as Air Supply, Yuri, MDO, Ruben Blades and several other artists.

In 1996, she left television to debut in the theater, playing the main role of the Narrator in the musical play "Joseph, and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" (by Tim Rice/Andrew Lloyd Webber) directed by Bruce Quinn.

Later on, she became a part of Ruben Blades's band and traveled with it promoting the album "La Rosa de los Vientos," winner of the 1997 Grammy award. She recorded as a back-up singer on the song "No voy a dejarte arder" by Ruben Blades and in the production of an album called "Carnival," by Sting, which had the participation of several renowned singers, such as: Madonna, Lucciano Pavarotti, Bette Middler, and Elton John, among others.

At the beginning of 1998, she decided to move to Miami, FL, USA. After a brand-new and difficult start in a foreign land, Erika was chosen as the hostess of a Discovery Channel information technology show called "Vida@Linea", on which she worked for one year, while she kept knocking on doors to enter the competitive world of music. During this period, she was repeatedly selected to appear in several advertising campaigns on American TV and in other media for clients such as The Miami Herald, The Florida Lottery, Americatel with famous Don Francisco, and MCI with Latin star Maria Celeste Arrarás.

In 1999, her songs started to be recorded by artists from México and South America, and in 2000, she had the opportunity to translate the song "A Puro Dolor" (by Omar Alfanno) into English, and her translation was chosen by Sony Records to be recorded by the group "Son by Four." Shortly thereafter she composed the songs "Ay, Mama" and "Candela" along with Donato Poveda, which were interpreted by Chayanne on one of his albums. The song "Candela" brought Erika the "Best Pop Song of the Year" award from ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers).

Her fame as a composer began to grow among artists in the musical community such as Azúcar Moreno, Jaci Velásquez, OV-7, Donato Poveda, Elvis Crespo, Melina Leon, Giselle, Alejandro Montaner, Marcos Llunas, Eduardo Verastegui, Leonardo (from Brazil) and many others who have recorded her songs.

She has had the opportunity to record her own voice on such important CDs as "Divorcio," Julio Iglesias' most recent album.

Throughout this period, Erika never let go of her dream: to record her own songs. Today she continues writing for important singers as she launches her own musical entrée. Producers and performers of the stature of Randy Barlow, Teddy Mulet, Alejandro Jaén, Yacoce Simões, and Ricardo and Alberto Gaitan have participated in producing her album, as well as other well-known arrangers and musicians.

The song "Cheque al Portador" allowed her to qualify for the well known Viña del Mar (Chile) Song Festival in 2004 where she represented her country the first time Panama had had a contestant there in the 45 years of the event.


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