The Grapevine Q&A: Alex Cuba
Alex Cuba is a Latin Grammy/Juno winner, singer-songwriter who is not tied to tradition; Alex has a vast musical vision. His sugarcane-sweet melodies, pop-soul hooks and powerful guitar riffs, relinquish a conventional stereotype that exemplifies much of the Latin music landscape.
The Grapevine (GV): What was your childhood or earliest ambition?
Alex Cuba (AC): There was a time in my childhood when I wanted to be a doctor, and that lasted a few years, but at the age of 14 music became important for me and I went into it full on embracing it with all my heart and soul and I guest it was a point of no return.
GV: What is your favourite piece or song and when did you first hear it?
AC: My favorite song is “Oh Melancolía” by Silvio Rodriguez. I was around 12 years old when I first heard it.
GV: How did you get started in the music industry?
AC: It started back in Cuba, when I stared playing with a Jazz band called Temperamento in Havana.
GV: What do you do to prepare for the stage? Are you nervous or comfortable? Has that changed over time?
AC: I always make sure that I have a good set list for every show, and I put a lot of time into writing them. Once I’m happy with the set list, that gives me a huge sense of confidence to go on stage, but the heart always beats a bit faster just before going on. Over the years that has changed a bit, I seemed to be a bit more confident, but as always I never take for granted any audience or performance, and that way of thinking has always been the same for me.
GV: Are there any recent inspirations for your music?
AC: Not really, I continue to draw from my past influences that I learned so much from.
GV: How do you incorporate other elements, beyond the music, into the stage performance?
AC: Something that I love doing at my concerts is talk to the audience, engage them in a way that they become part of the show. I also love making them sing with me, and it is always amazing when that feeling of engagement is there. That brings the concert to a whole different level.
Saturday, September 23, 1:00pm: Songwriters’ Circle (Festival Theatre) – Bill Plaskett, Kaia Kater, Naming the Twins, Alex Cuba