Patty Cabrera, a gifted singer and songwriter who has released CDs in both English and Spanish, has enjoyed widespread success and recognition in both sacred and secular music worlds. She has also gained a reputation as a thoughtful and outspoken advocate for dealing with the societal challenges facing today's youth.
Cabrera was born in Riverside, California, one of five children born to a father from Cuba and a mother from Puerto Rico. Music was an important part of her childhood with her siblings, who also were singers and involved with music. One of these, an older brother, increased her awareness of how music is put together by teaching her how to listen carefully and analyze how different musical effects were being created.
That guidance and the exposure she had to the music from her parents' Hispanic heritage and that of popular music, including rock 'n' roll, R&B, and other pop sounds current in the Southern California culture in her early years influenced her musical development and tastes. Since Cabrera was raised as a Seventh-day Adventist, she was also shaped musically by other influences, including the recordings of the King's Heralds quartet and the Heritage Singers.
She sang in the La Sierra Academy choir, motivated more by the chance to tour than to broaden her musical experience. Before she graduated from LSA in 1986, she and her friends had formed a Christian pop music group that performed frequently in a number of different settings and often featured her as soloist.
The activity with that group subsided after she enrolled at the University California Santa Barbra for a year, UC Irvine for two years, and then Pacific Union College, where she graduated in 1991 with a B.S. in public relations. While still a student at PUC, Cabrera signed a contract with Word Records and then recorded her first album, Patty Cabrera, which was released through them in both Spanish and English in March 1991.
Two of Cabrera's songs, which have been described as gospel music with an "Hispanic edge," were used by The Billy Graham crusades in Latin America in 1992. In 1994, she was commissioned by them to write a song, "Take it Away," for their Puerto Rican crusade. She then performed it and other songs at the crusades and via satellite to an estimated global audience of between four and five million.
Cabrera also released a second CD, Hasta Hoy, in 1994. The inspiration she received from her involvement with the crusades led to the release of a third CD, Always and Forever, in March 1996. She collaborated with Bob Parr, producer of the album, in writing several of the numbers on the CD, including the title song.
In that same month, while attending a gospel music convention in Nashville, she went on record with public statements about the need to get involved in helping young people meet the challenges they face in dealing with sex and drugs. While her record producer as well as radio stations and Christian magazine publishers were upset over her stance, others praised her courage, and she was listed that year as one of the "Most Beautiful People in the World" in People magazine's annual survey. She also sang at the Republican National Convention in San Diego that summer and, in the year that followed, on all the national television networks.
In 2002, Cabrera released a fourth CD, Love Someone Like Me, co-produced with Paul Dexter. Produced by Patrona, her own record company, it drew on the talents of many of the big names in the music industry. It has enjoyed huge success and received a 2003 Dove Award for the album's title song.
Cabrera's interests in spiritual ministry and concerns about youth have become powerful motivating forces behind her music and activities in working with the young, primarily through Metro Ministries. She has worked for over a decade with this organization, one that provides activities that help inner-city youth ages 16 to 21 to develop meaningful relationships with mentors and others in their own age group.
To best fulfill her goal of providing an effective spiritual ministry for others, Cabrera writes music with a straightforward message that deals with the realities of life and the part that a loving God can play. She then performs it in a way that connects effectively with those who listen to her recordings and attend her concerts.
Sources: Jeff Trubey, "Making Waves," Adventist Review, 17 July 1997, 12. Online sources: Biographies by Craig Harris in All Music Guide ;and at Peermusic; Interview in Today's Christian Woman, November/December 2002, 12; Annual Dove Award announcement, 2003; Andy Demsky, “Adventist records for the Word,” South Pacific Record, 14 March 1992, 9; Multiple online resources.