Born in 1961 to a well-known Seville family, by his early twenties José Manuel Soto was writing pieces for traditional choirs and performing in bands with friends. By 1983 he had decided to become a singer/songwriter, and three years later he managed to release his debut album, Desde Mi Orilla, for a small local label. Soto's big break came in 1988, when he was signed by CBS on the basis of the crossover potential of his material, an apt combination of typical romantic fare and rumba. Over the following years, Soto would release a string of extremely successful albums, invariably named after their biggest single, such as Por Ella (1988), Como una Luz (1989), and Déjate Querer (1992). Soto's mainstream popularity waned in the second half of the '90s, but he remained a beloved performer in Andalucia.