Born in Cebu to a composer, Velez first came into the limelight when she won an amateur radio singing contest in the mid-1930s. Prior to the outbreak of World War II, her singing career thrived, and she popularized one of her father's songs, Sa Kabukiran. Velez also won the heart of Jose Climaco, the manager of the radio station which had sponsored the contest which won her fame. They were married in 1942 and had one daughter.
Velez's film career began upon the resumption of Filipino film production after the end of the war. She joined LVN Pictures, and with her husband as director, starred in such films as Binibiro Lamang Kita, Ang Estudyante, and Sa Kabukiran, inspired by the song that had earlier earned her fame. Her leading man in these films was Bernardo "Narding" Anzures, a former child actor.
After the success of Sa Kabukiran, LVN Pictures decided to cast Jaime de la Rosa as Velez's leading man in her next film. The decision caused distress on the part of Anzures, who had seemingly become obsessed with the married Velez.
On the night of June 26, 1948, Anzures paid an unexpected visit to the Quezon City home of Velez. Upon his arrival, he stabbed Velez to death and a housemaid who had come to her mistress's assistance. The crime was committed within view of Velez's toddler-daughter, who was unharmed during the incident.
Anzures was promptly arrested, tried and convicted for the murders. The crime and the subsequent trial was cause celebre in Manila. Anzures later died in jail from tuberculosis; his exact motives for the murder were never fully determined.