Erika Ender Full Bio

Erika María Ender Simões was born in Panama, Republic of Panama, on December 21, 1974. She is the daughter of a Brazilian mother and a Panamanian/American father (with European and even Asian roots). Due to the origin and ancestry of her parents, she grew up with strong musical influences and customs from multiple countries, and she was fortunate to learn Spanish, Portuguese, and English.

From a very young age, she demonstrated her artistic abilities and began writing her first songs at the age of 9. At an early age, she started making a name for herself in the artistic world, participating in children's music contests and performing on her country's television, both alone and with her school friends.

At 16, she won the interschool poetry contest (at the national level) "Vístete de Patria" and later made her debut as a singer on the Venezuelan program "Sábado Sensacional," held in Panama in April 1992, as part of the tour celebrating the 500th anniversary of the discovery of America. There, she formally began her professional career, singing the tamborera (Panamanian rhythm) "Has Estado en Panamá?" (L. Juan C. Candanedo/ Carl Ender) alongside the national folk ballet of Profa. Elisa de Céspedes. This song was recorded on an album (LP) as a promotional single; it represented Panama at the Expo-Sevilla 1992 and promoted Panamanian tourism during that year, in which Erika was a guest artist at the "Summit of Central American Presidents," among many other events.

At 18 years old (1993), while starting her university studies in "Social Communication," she qualified for the national OTI Festival with her own song ("Mar Adentro") and won the National Tamborera Festival as the best performer with "Panamá La Verde" (Lyrics and Music: Carl Ender). That same year, she re-recorded the album "La Nueva Parranda de Toby Muñoz" with well-known songs from her homeland.

In 1994, she entered television through channel 4 (RPC, Panama) in the segment "Son del Patio" of the Saturday program "Son de Sabor," and later became a figure on TVN (Channel 2 Panama) as a presenter of special events, announcer, and producer of segments, while continuing to sing and write.

Later, she was hired by Telemetro Panama, Channel 13 (1995-1996) to be the presenter and producer of segments of the weekly musical program "EL MIX DEL FIN DE SEMANA," where she met and interviewed great artists such as Shaggy, Shakira, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Ricardo Montaner, Olga Tañón, among many others.

During that time, she also shared stages as a singer with artists such as Air Supply, Yuri, MDO, Rubén Blades, and others. In 1996, she said goodbye to television screens and made her theatrical debut in the musical "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" (Tim Rice/Andrew Lloyd Webber), directed by Bruce Quinn, where she played the female lead role of "Narrator."

She then joined Rubén Blades' orchestra as a backup singer during the tour for the Grammy-winning album "La Rosa de los Vientos" in 1997. She recorded backing vocals for the song "No voy a dejarte arder" by this artist on Sting's "Carnival" production, an album featuring contributions from artists such as Madonna, Luciano Pavarotti, Bette Midler, and Elton John, among others.


In early 1998, she decided to move to Miami, Florida, USA. After 9 months of a new and difficult start in foreign lands, she was selected by Discovery Channel to host the program "Vida en Línea" (broadcast to the United States and all of Ibero-America) for a year, while continuing to knock on doors in the competitive music world. During this period, she was also chosen as the face of multiple advertising campaigns, such as Miami Herald, Florida Lottery, Americatel alongside Don Francisco, and MCI with Maria Celeste Arrarás.

In 1999, her songs began to be recorded by artists in Mexico and South America, and in 2000, her English version "Purest of Pain" of the song “A Puro Dolor” (original by Omar Alfanno) was chosen by Sony Discos to be recorded by the group “Son by Four”; this marked the group's crossover and entered the international charts, including the American Billboard list.

She then wrote with Donato Poveda the songs "Ay Mama" and "Candela," which were performed by Chayanne, and the latter earned her her first ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) award as "Best Pop Ballad Song of the Year 2001."

Since then, her name as a songwriter began to grow in the artistic world, and today, she is considered the most successful Hispanic-American female songwriter, creating multi-territorial hits that have traveled the world. Her unique musical versatility has allowed her to diversify her art in completely different genres and markets, breaking all kinds of parameters and paradigms.

At 42 years old, Erika became the youngest person to enter the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame, an honor endorsed by her then almost 3 decades of professional experience and impressive achievements. She is considered one of the 25 Most Powerful Women by People en Español magazine and has also repeatedly occupied a privileged position in the list of the 50 most powerful Central Americans according to Forbes magazine and the 15 most creative people in the region.


With more than 200 awards and recognitions throughout her career, it is worth noting that she has 2 Latin GRAMMYS. In 2016, she won Best Regional Mexican Song of the Year for the song "Ataúd" (Ender/Moreno/Vélez), performed by Los Tigres del Norte, and in 2017, she won Song of the Year for Despacito (Ender/Fonsi/Ayala). She is the first and only Panamanian woman to win this prestigious award, as well as the only Central American songwriter to receive it. Ender also has 74 gold records, 70 platinum records, and 6 diamond records (the only female songwriter), representing the highest recognition from the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America).

Erika Ender is also the only Hispanic songwriter to be nominated for a GRAMMY in the "SONG OF THE YEAR" category, with the global hit DESPACITO, marking another of the many records she has achieved in her career in international music.

Despacito, in its original version (Ender, Fonsi & Ayala), broke multiple records worldwide, and in the remix version, to which Justin Bieber joined, the song climbed to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, where it remained for 16 consecutive weeks, tying the record for the most weeks at the top of the chart at that time, and becoming the only Spanish-language song to stay at #1 for so many weeks. "Despacito" was the #1 global streaming song, as well as in sales, and its video is the most viewed in the world (of all time) and the first to surpass 6 billion views. Additionally, the song broke the record for a song on the Billboard Hot Latin Songs chart, remaining at the top of the charts for 110 weeks.

The singer-songwriter tied with Mariah Carey as the female songwriter with the most successful #1 song of all time on the Billboard Hot 100 chart until 2019. She is also the only female songwriter to achieve a #1 on this chart with a Spanish-language song.

Ender, who writes in Spanish, Portuguese, and English, crosses from one genre and language to another with such professionalism and naturalness that she has had singles and significant songs with stars as diverse as Justin Bieber, Akon, Marc Anthony, Jenni Rivera, Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee, Prince Royce, Tigres del Norte, Chayanne, Gloria Trevi, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Claudia Leitte, Leonardo (Brazil), Ednita Nazario, Elvis Crespo, Víctor Manuelle, Son by Four, Horóscopos de Durango, Milly Quezada, Mijares, Lupita D'Alessio, Ha*Ash, Luis Enrique, Malú, Azúcar Moreno, among more than a hundred others.

At least 40 singles from her pen have been at the top of popularity and sales charts in different regions and territories, and more than 200 albums have recorded her songs.

Hits like Despacito (Fonsi/Yankee/Bieber), Tu vida en la mía (Marc Anthony), Aparentemente Bien (Jenny Rivera), Cinco Minutos (Gloria Trevi), Candela and Ay Mamá (Chayanne), Ataúd (Tigres del Norte), Purest of Pain (Son By Four), Quero acender teu fogo (Leonardo), Enséñame a vivir sin ti (Gilberto Santa Rosa), Alguien Más and La Pasión Tiene Memoria (Ednita Nazario), Bésame (Azúcar Moreno), among many others in Pop, Rock, Tropical, and Regional Mexican, as well as in Portuguese and English-speaking markets, have been on popularity charts and have given her an important position as an author, due to their high radio rotations and sales.


Ender sings with her heart on her sleeve, which makes her magically connect immediately with her audience, whether singing her ballads acoustically or her rhythmic music based on catchy melodies and intelligent lyrics. She can create a roller coaster of feelings in her listeners with her deep and heartfelt interpretations and her vitality in up-tempo songs.

First places with singles like ÁBREME LA PUERTA, LUNA NUEVA, CHEQUE AL PORTADOR, QUIEN SALE NO ENTRA, MASOQUISTA, SIGO CAMINANDO, EL LUGAR QUE ME VIÓ NACER, TE CONOZCO DE ANTES, among others, have led her to turn her songs into hits that have become classics in her homeland and other territories.

She has reached first places in charts in Brazil, Peru, Puerto Rico, Spain, Ecuador, and Chile, among others, where her music has successfully taken her to perform. She has 7 internationally released studio albums: MP3-45, Tatuajes (nominated for Best Singer-Songwriter Album at the Latin Grammys 2017), EriKa MúsiKa, Cueste lo que Cueste, Ábreme La Puerta, and Panamá Mía (a tribute to her country), in addition to the CD/DVD "En Concierto."

She has recorded duets with Gente de Zona, Claudia Leitte, Jerry Rivera, Emmanuel (Portugal), Diana Reyes, Debi Nova, Christian Pagán, among others, and has sung duets with Roberto Carlos, Valerie Simpson, Fonseca, Alexandre Pires, Pedro Capó, Rosana, Ednita Nazario, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Gian Marco, and Melina León; she has also shared stages with multiple international artists such as Megan Trainor, Vanessa Williams, Dionne Warwick, Alejandro Fernández, and Juan Luis Guerra, among others.

The song "Cheque al Portador" allowed her to qualify for the renowned Viña del Mar Song Festival in 2004, representing her country, Panama, for the first time in 45 years of the event, and she recorded her voice on important albums like "Divorcio" by Julio Iglesias.


In the world of television, Ender has also had a prominent and respected career as a presenter, actress, and celebrity judge on well-known reality shows. She is a producer and creator of formats, including TalenPro, La Cuerda, and Vital, among others, and has her own company for content and production. Highlights of her on-screen work include:

Cinema/TV as an actress:

Celebrity Judge:

As a presenter, highlights include:

As the face of brands and international commercials: Miami Herald, Florida Lottery, MCI (alongside María Celeste Arrarás), and Americatel alongside Don Francisco. In her country, Panama, she has also been the face of multiple brands such as COPA Airlines, MOVISTAR, CERVEZA PANAMÁ, ALMACENES EL CAMPEÓN, MACHETAZO, among others.


ENDER is a Global Ambassador for Special Olympics and has also been the spokesperson for international campaigns such as MOVE IT OR LOSE IT for the INTERNATIONAL OSTEOPOROSIS FOUNDATION alongside Queen Rania of Jordan, footballer Paolo Rossi, Jet Li, and Kirk Pengilly of the band INXS, and she supports multiple causes for the common good.

Committed to her duty as a human being, she has developed commendable philanthropic work. In addition to supporting multiple causes for her country and the world, she founded the Puertas Abiertas Foundation in 2009, working for Panamanian children and youth through music, values, individual integrity, education, and social responsibility awareness. Her foundation has developed projects to eradicate child labor, offered motivational music workshops both inside and outside the country, provided regular and free classrooms for children and young people eradicated from child labor and at high risk and low income, and created the TALENPRO (Talent with Purpose) project, which has had a global impact as a Guinness World Record holder for the "largest social/global development competition in the world." It is a national interschool competition that includes entertainment, culture, education, values, and solidarity through social work in new generations, functioning not only as a great art platform but also as a school of life, benefiting community projects and with them thousands of children and young people each year and providing scholarships to all winners in the various artistic categories within the competition.

With over 30 years of career, Ender is undoubtedly the Panamanian woman who has made the most history in the world; a Hispanic woman who has broken records and created new and successful paths, and a unique example as a woman who excels simultaneously and with excellent results and achievements in all her artistic facets, while leaving a great legacy as a professional and human being, serving as an example that anything is possible and empowering others globally through her work and life testimony to follow their dreams based on talent, awareness, and merit.