José Montserrate Feliciano García is a blind Puerto Rican singer, virtuoso guitarist and composer, known for many international hits including the 1970 holiday single "Feliz Navidad".
Feliciano was born in Lares, Puerto Rico, one of twelve children. He is blind because of congenital glaucoma. He was first exposed to music at age three. When he was five, his family moved to Spanish Harlem, New York City and, at age nine, he played on the Teatro Puerto Rico. He started his musical life playing accordion until his grandfather gave him a guitar. He reportedly sat by himself in his room for up to 14 hours a day to listen to 1950s rock albums, classical guitarists such as Andrés Segovia, and jazz players such as Wes Montgomery. He later had classical lessons with Harold Morris who earlier had been a student with Segovia.
At 17, he quit school to play in clubs, having his first professional, contracted performance in Detroit.
In 1963, after some live performances in pubs and clubs around the USA, especially in Greenwich Village, NY, where he played at the same time as Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, he was signed at RCA Victor. In 1964, he released his first single "Everybody Do the Click". Later, in 1965 and 1966, he also released his first albums The Voice and Guitar of Jose Feliciano and A Bag Full of Soul, two folk-pop-soul albums that showcased his talent on radio across the USA, where he was described as a "10 finger wizard". He also was invited to the Newport Jazz festival in 1964.