Cuban-born B.C. musician took on new challenge in 7th album: playing every instrument himself.
A report by Ashley Moliere for the CBC.
Coming up with an album title is one of the last things singer-songwriter Alex Cuba does when creating new music. Cuba says he always tries to find the perfect word or phrase that will translate in English, Spanish and French.
When he was listening to his latest work, he thought it sounded “sublime.” He looked up the meaning of the word online, and something clicked.
“It said, in Spanish, ‘only art can make you feel the sublime’ and that’s what totally put a stamp on it,” Cuba told Hot Air host Margaret Gallagher while explaining how and why he named his seventh album Sublime.
For this latest album, the Cuban-born, Smithers, B.C. based artist decided to do something he’s never done before. He played every single instrument on the album himself.
Cuba described the process as “fun” and said he can look back and be proud that he made that decision. But, with pride came a bit of doubt.
“The album came out way better than I expected,” Cuba said while laughing as he explained that he’s always been comfortable playing string instruments, but had never played percussion on an album before.
The Latin Grammy and Juno award-winning musician recorded the album in B.C., Cuba, Spain and Mexico and worked with some of Latin music’s biggest players including Kelvis Ochoa, Silvana Estrada, Leonel García, Omara Portuondo, Alex Ferreira and Pablo Milanés.
The Canadian impact
Cuba has lived in Canada for 20 years, with most of those spent in Smithers. He said living in Canada has had a huge impact on his sound and has enhanced his North American influence.
“Canada helped make my influence authentic,” said Cuba.
One song on the new album, Cantando de Alegría, specifically reflects things that have happened to him in Canada. He said people have approached him to say his music changed their lives or helped them through a difficult time.
“Even for people who don’t understand what I’m singing about, they still feel the music,” Cuba said.
Cuba’s seventh album, Sublime comes out Sept. 20. He will also be touring B.C. in November.