Modern-day Latin soul singer Lugo was born Edwin Anthony Lugo, raised in the Bronx, and started singing in his father's church at age three. He attended New York's High School for the Performing Arts, and later studied music at the University of Texas. He returned to New York and won the amateur-night competition at the Apollo Theater several nights in a row. From there he went on to work as an actor in musical theater, appearing in the Broadway production of Paul Simon's The Capeman, as well as The Children of Times Square. In the early '90s, he also began writing songs for dance-pop and Latin artists, including Tracie Spencer, Yomo Toro, Judy Torres, Idalis DeLeon, and Odalis Garcia. Toward the late '90s, he played percussion in Christina Aguilera's backing band, and turned his attention to crossover jazz. He sang lead on several tracks by the Holland Tunnel Project on their 1999 album A Smooth Taste of Jazz; wrote material for acid jazz guitarist Ronny Jordan; and both wrote and sang on Norman Brown's Grammy-winning Just Chillin' in 2002. Also in 2002, Lugo's first full-length release, Good to Go, appeared on the Cafe de Soul label, showcasing his jazzy, Latin-flavored brand of smooth soul.