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Somaya Reece (born June 17, 1983) is an American rapper, model, and actress of Salvadoran descent.
Reece was born and raised in South Central, Los Angeles, California. She is widely known for starring on the hit VH1 reality show Love & Hip Hop. Biography: Early life: Somaya Reece was born of two immigrants from El Salvador. Her family settled in South Central, Los Angeles, where she was born and raised with five other siblings. Reece dropped out of school at age 11, and became involved in local gangs. She resolved to get out of the gangs and went on to receive her GED. At the age of 17, she began to pursue a career in photography using basic disposable cameras. She then attended UCLA, where she took theatre classes.
During this time, while working at a local hotel as a housecleaning maid she was discovered by a William Morris talent agent. 2003-2010: MySpace and career beginnings: Reece became viral on the social networking site MySpace. By 2012, she obtained over 30 million views and almost 900,000 friends. In 2006, started her own photography company. She shot multiple campaigns with major companies and magazines, including AT&T, Sprite and Maxim en Español. In 2007, Reece and producer Scoop DeVille hosted the satellite radio show « The Buzz », a hip-hop comedy show. In 2008, Reece was nominated « Internet Hottie » by Spike TV « Guys Choice Awards ».
In 2009, she was named the #1 Latina artist on MySpace. Her debut single « Mira Mi Pum Pum » achieved over 3.3 million spins in just ten and a half weeks. Her second single, « Girls Night » produced by The Pharmacy, reached over 1 million spins in less than 10 weeks. In 2009, her music successfully began the cross over into the UK. In September of 2009, Reece’s single « Ooh Baby Baby » was in rotation at Liberty Radio and Europe’s top radio station Choice FM.
In February 2010, Reece’s in-demand viral presence caught the eye of several major record labels, leading to offers of a recording contract. After several months of negotiating, Somaya Reece signed a full distribution record deal with INgrooves and Universal Records as their partner. Reece went on to release her single « Tramp » off her currently untitled debut album, which was formerly titled « Miss Opinionated ». The song released virally as a « listening » record on, becoming the most controversial, highest viewed/commented record within a 48-hour period, with 500,000 plays to date. « Tramp » was released on iTunes on February 23, 2010. Within the first 4 hours of release, the single made headlines again. iTunes placed « Tramp » on their front page news under « News and Noteworthy » next to today’s popular recording artists.
In early 2011, Reece moved to New York City. Reece sealed a reality television show with VH1 as their star lead artist of Love & Hip Hop. The show follows Reece and other female artists, such as singer Olivia, as they try to make it in music industry. The show became a hit, with record-breaking viewers for the network. The show had two highly successful seasons. In April 2011, she released a single « Would You Still Love Me » featuring rapper XO. Shortly after, she was named the « Hottest Latina In Music » by Maxim en Español. Later that year, her single « Dale Mami » featuring rapper Lumidee was released. The music video for « Dale Mami » premiered on the Mun2 show « Urban Tip » on January 11, 2012. In 2011, Reece scored the soundtrack for Go for It!, featuring the song « Ooh Baby Baby ». The second season of Love & Hip Hop premiered on November 14, 2011. During the season, Reece heavily promoted her single « Fuego », which she performed during a showcase. In late 2011, Reece collaborated with Louis James on his debut single « Eh Mama ». The song’s music video debuted in late 2011 on Youtube, with the song premiering on iTunes on January 2, 2012. The song gathered much media attention in the Dominican Republic, gaining positive reviews. In February 2012, Reece was a host and guest commentator for VH1’s « 100 Greatest Woman in Music » to celebrate the most inspirational female artists of the past few decades.
In March 2012, due to severe health issues relating to chronic lower back pain, Reece underwent a breast-reduction surgery. Reece heavily supported female rapper Lil’ Kim on her Return of the Queen Tour, as she appeared at multiple of the concerts, including LA Pride on June 9 as well as hosting and performing at the June 13 concert in San Francisco. In May 2012, Reece was ranked #192 on IMDB’s « 500 Sexiest Women Alive » list. On July 9, Reece’s single « Party with the World » made its television debut on the 9th season of Oxygen’s Bad Girls Club. In November, Reece released her Spanish single « Descontrol ». The song quickly gained popularity in Latin America, charting in the top 5 in Dominican Republic’s radio charts. 2013-current: Departure from Love & Hip Hop, fitness brand and debut album: In January 2013, the third season of Love & Hip Hop debuted, but Reece did not return along with Emily B and Chrissy Lampkin. Latina Magazine named Reece as one of their « Favorite Latinas » in their January issue.
Reece is working on launching her own fitness brand that includes DVD’s, fitness wear, and protein shakes. This endeavor landed her a $5 million deal, with the project currently being untitled, but is referred to as « Somaya’s Fitness Challenge ». In 2013, Reece’s Latin album is set to debut, with producer Richy Peña producing the project. In February 2013, Reece moved to Miami to work on her album and for promotion for the Latin market. On March 10, Reece performed on Pitbull’s Mr. 305 Inc. stage on the widely famous Calle Ocho.