María de los Ángeles de las Heras Ortiz (4 October 1944 – 25 March 2006), better known professionally as Rocío Dúrcal (Spanish pronunciation: [roˈθi.o ˈðuɾkal]), was a Spanish singer and actress. Widely successful in Mexico, she earned the sobriquet of Reina de las Rancheras (“Queen of Rancheras“).
In 2005 Dúrcal received a Latin Grammy Award for musical excellence, a prize that is awarded by the Governing Board of the Recording Latin Academy to artists who have made creative contributions of outstanding artistic significance during their careers.
In 1970 Dúrcal married Filipino-born musician Antonio Morales (known professionally as Júnior), who would manage her singing career. In 1972, Antonio Morales began a series of television shows in Spain and Latin America singing with his wife as a duet. Their first child, Spanish actress Carmen Morales de las Heras, was born in December 1970. After the birth of their second child, Antonio Morales de las Heras, in April 1974, Morales decided to give up his career to devote time to their children. Dúrcal meanwhile continued her film and singing career. In 1979 she had her third child, Shaila Morales de las Heras, who took up a singing career under the stage name of Shaila Dúrcal and is also a successful singer.
In 1977, Dúrcal signed a contract with Ariola Eurodisc (with singer-songwriter Camilo Sesto supporting her in her projects) dedicating herself to the musical career. That year, while in Mexico, she met the Mexican singer-songwriter Alberto Aguilera Valadez, better known as Juan Gabriel, who decided to record a whole album of rancheras performed by Rocío Dúrcal entitled Rocío Dúrcal canta a Juan Gabriel. Without further advertising, the LP received high levels of sales, so Dúrcal and Juan Gabriel considered the possibility of a new recording together. They ended up doing 5 LPs, marking the revival of Rocío Dúrcal as a singer. The final collaboration between Dúrcal and Juan Gabriel emerged in 10 albums. Dúrcal’s album named Canta A Juan Gabriel Volumen 6 (1984) is among the top ten best-selling albums in the history of Mexico. For this album Rocío Dúrcal received her first Grammy Award nomination.
The collaboration of Dúrcal with Juan Gabriel was interrupted by disagreements between the artists and because of problems of Juan Gabriel with his record label, so Dúrcal continued to record albums with other songwriters such as Marco Antonio Solís and Rafael Pérez Botija (with whom under his leadership in 1981 she recorded the album of ballads Confidencias). In 1988 she recorded the album Como Tu Mujer with producer Marco Antonio Solis.
In 1990, she recorded her first album on CD format entitled Si Te Pudiera Mentir. In 1991, Durcal offered a concert at the National Auditorium in Mexico City, recorded in a double disc El Concierto… En Vivo. Between 1992 and 1993 she recorded the album Desaires, produced by the Mexican singer and songwriter Joan Sebastián. In this album she reprises ranchera.
In 1995 she launched her production Hay Amores Y Amores, with songs written and produced by the Argentine Roberto Livi. For this album she is nominated again to the Grammy Awards in the category “Best Latin Pop Album”. In 1997 the double album Juntos Otra Vez brought Rocío Dúrcal and Juan Gabriel together again for the last time. That album was made by an engagement with the record company and not by the desire of both artists to continue to cooperate.
In 1998, under the direction of her discoverer Luis Sanz, Dúrcal starred in the Spanish TV Show Los negocios de mamá, broadcast by Televisión Española. In 2000, she celebrated 40 years in the industry. In that year she returned to ranchera music with the album Caricias, under the production of songwriter and producer Bebu Silvetti. In 2001 Rocío Dúrcal recorded Entre Tangos Y Mariachi, again produced by Bebu Silvetti, an album that includes 10 of the most famous Argentine tango arrangements interpreted with ranchero/bolero style like her previous album. In the summer of 2001 Dúrcal made a successful tour in Spain, after 13 years of no shows in Spain.
After a year and a half absence, she returned to the stage on 19 September 2002 with a concert at the National Auditorium in Mexico, which was recorded in a double album that was released on CD and then on DVD on 22 October 2002, En Concierto… Inolvidable. The album was nominated for a Latin Grammy Award. In 2003, the artist received another Latin Grammy Award nomination for her album Caramelito, produced by Kike Santander. In May 2004 she returned to Spain to record what would be her last album Alma Ranchera, which was nominated for a Latin Grammy Award, but did not win.