Rodolfo "Fito" Paez was born in Rosario, Argentina on March 13, 1963. He formed Staff, his first band, when he was 13. In 1977, he played in El Banquette with Rubén Goldín and Jorge Llonch. He began to appear solo in pubs the following year. Straight out of high school, he began touring with several bands and soon after that produced his first solo album, Del '63, which was released in 1984. It was promoted first in his hometown, but later garnered attention in Buenos Aires. The recording was put together with the help of some of Argentina's most prominent musicians, including Daniel Wirtz, Fabián Gallardo, Tweety González, and Paul Dorge. The disc won him critical acclaim as a songwriter and helped lead to future projects, including a 1985 album, Giros. The demo of that album earned him the praise of Luis Alberto Spinetta, as well as a partnership -- Paez's next album, 1986's La La La, was a duet with Spinetta. The duo supported that album with a tour that reached all the way to Santiago de Chile. The same year, he participated in the Thousand Days of Democracy festival with Spinetta, Juan Carlos Baglietto, Silvina Garré, and Antonio Tarragó Ros. His 1987 recording, Ciudad de Pobres Corazones, marked a dark, political turn in his work. It was dedicated to the memory of his aunt and grandmother, who were assassinated in Rosario. The album seethed with anger, but it was also more rhythmic and showed greater songwriting depth than his previous recordings.
Paez got his first taste of production work with Ey, which was released in 1988. Recorded in New York and Havana, it also showcased many of the musicians that he had worked with previously, including Guillermo Vadalá, Guillermo Colombres, and Osvaldo Fattoruso. It also featured the trumpeters and saxophonists of the group, Afrocuba. Less harsh than his previous recording, it was one of his most balanced records. Tercer Mundo, released in 1990, explores Latin American cultural influences and showed the harsh world of poverty and exploitation. It, too was critically acclaimed, but it was Paez' 1992 album, El Amor Después del Amor, that marked the pinnacle of his commercial success. The album sold more than 600,000 copies and when Paez toured to support it, he found himself playing to sold-out shows for 40,0000 people. Shortly after its release, he played a benefit concert for UNICEF which raised more than $420,000. The follow-up, Circo Beat, had impossibly high expectations and though it had several hit songs, including "Mariposa Tecknicolor" and "Tema de Piluso," as well as a companion album, Circo Beat Brazil, which featured Brazilian remixes of its hits, it only sold around 350,000 copies. Several other projects were completed in the late '90s, including an acoustic album, Euforia, and 1998's Sabrina & Paez: Enemios Intimos. The year 2000 brought another balanced, superbly produced album, Abre Paez. He also took home two Grammys at the first annual Latin Grammy Awards in fall 2000. ~ Stacia Proefrock