Episode 25: Alex Cuba
Singer - songwriter Alex Cuba was born Alexis Puentes in Artemisa, Cuba, but since 1999 he has lived in Canada. He has won two Juno Awards and two Latin Grammys, and his songs have been recorded by many other Latin pop artists.
Growing up, he was immersed in music at a very young age. His father was a respected guitarist and teacher named Valentin Puentes, and as a young boy Alex appeared in his dad’s guitar ensemble on Cuban national TV. He then went on to become an in demand bass player on the Cuban jazz.
He immigrated to Canada in 1999 after marrying a Canadian in Cuba. He and his twin brother Adonis first settled in Victoria, British Columbia, and worked as a duo, the Puentes Brothers, and received a Juno Award nomination. In 2003, Cuba moved to Smithers, British Columbia, the hometown of his wife, Sarah, whose father is a local politician.
I first met Alex nearly a decade ago, when his first solo record “Humo de Tabaco” had just been released. We stayed in touch over the years, and eventually in the fall of 2014, we worked together on the production for his fifth solo record, Healer. Recorded mostly in Brooklyn, the record will be released in the spring of 2015. This interview was recorded late in the evening following a long day of recording, and I think you can feel it in the candor and delirium of the conversation.
Alex is one of the most naturally gifted songwriters I’ve ever come across – his creative output is nonstop and intense. He has a deeply intuitive approach, but at the same time he has a deep formation in traditional Cuban music, and a wide-open pop sensibility.
But the thing that has intrigued me about Alex since I met him is how he reconciles his identity as a contemporary Latin singer songwriter with his adopted home in the wilds of British Columbia.
Stream it here or download it from the iTunes Music Store.