Soraya Raquel Limilla Cuevas was born in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, one year after her family moved from Colombia.
Soraya became interested in music when she was 5 years old, when she heard her uncle playing music. Her parents bought her a guitar, which she taught herself how to play. She also played classical violin, and did her first public performance at Carnegie Hall in New York City as a member of the NYC Youth Philharmonic. She was class valedictorian at Point Pleasant High School, and began writing her own music.
Soraya attended Rutgers University in New Jersey, where she studied English literature, French pholosophy, and women's studies. She was too shy to play for large crowds, but overcame her fear. She played for audiences at coffee houses, and rallies around the Rutgers campus. She then worked as a flight attendant.
In 1994, Soraya got a record contract with Polygram Records/Island Records, and released her first album in both English and Spanish called "On Nights Like This/En Esta Noche". Both albums did well, and she toured in the U.S., Latin America, and Europe. She was a guest performer for artists such as Natalie Merchant, Zucchero, Sting, Michael Bolton, and Alanis Morissette.
Sorayas songs were on the top of the charts in Latin America, Europe, and in the U.S. Hispanic markets. Her first single, "Suddenly/ De Repente" reach #1 in Billboard Latin Pop listings, with the English version on the Audlt Contemporary mainstream. Her second album, "Torre de Marfil/Wall of Smiles", titled from a song that was co-written by her idol Carole King was released in late 1997, and helped her to reach worldwide recognition.
In 1992, Soraya's mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and when Soraya was 22, her mother passed away. Soraya would go with her mother to doctor's visits, and they both did research, and participated in the Race for the Cure, and in 2000, Soraya was also diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer, shortly after releasing her third album. She had to take time off from touring to fight the disease.
In 2003, Soraya was in remission, and feeling healthy. She returned to music, with the release of her fourth album, self titled "Soraya". The songs were about her struggles, beliefs, and love for life. She won a Latin Grammy for "Best Album by a Singer-Songwriter" for this album, and was back on top.
In 2006, she released her final album, "El Otro Lado de Mi", and then passed away at 37 years old. She had lost her mother, grandmother, and aunt to breast cancer, and was the first Latin spokesperson for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. She toured America to raise awareness, and even wrote a song to encourage women like herself, called "No One Else'Por Ser Quien Soy."