Manage episode 298048660 series 2469182
Alex Cuba grew up 50 minutes west of Havana immersed in the music of his town Artemisa. His father, the musician Valentin Puentes, is a household name in the country and prioritized Cuban music in the house growing up. When Alex was six years old, Valentin told his son not to sing, leading Alex to concentrate on his bass guitar playing. As a teenager, Alex rebelled and started soaking in the sounds of American music; blues, jazz, rock and funk. This has lead him to develop a unique style of Latin music that crosses cultures and appeals to people who don't even speak his language. He sings English, but is most comfortable singing in Spanish. We talk about how even though a lot of his fans are English speakers, they often have an emotional reaction to his music even though they don’t know what he's saying. He expands on how emotions transfer via music no matter what language.
in 1995, Alex was allowed to tour in Canada with his dad's band and met someone who would forever change his life, his future wife Sarah Goodacre. They eventually ended up married with children and living in Cuba. After awhile, they moved closer to her family in Smithers, B.C., where they have single handedly created a Latin music industry in the small Canadian mountain town. Despite not being able to work with major record labels due to the Cuban Embargo with America, Alex has thrived as an independent artist with 4 Latin Grammys, 3 American Grammy nominations, 2 Junos and numerous other accolades. We talk about what changes he experienced in himself while recording his latest album 'Mendó’ during the pandemic. Alex, like many musicians, was forced to change plans and ended up working on the album at his house, while collaborating with other guest musicians remotely. We also talk about how he wanted the cover to reflect his African heritage. Brianna McCarthy, an artist from Trinidad and Tobago, illustrated the cover and Alex talks in depth about its meaning and importance.