Alex Cuba was riding through a snowstorm near Quesnel, British Columbia, on Sunday night when his name rang out a few thousand miles south at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The Afro-Cuban singer, born Alexis Puentes, was traveling home with his wife and youngest son after playing two nights with the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra when he became a Grammy winner for Best Pop Album Latin of the year. Mendo,
Shortly after heavy snowfall began, Cuba said he received a phone call from his New York publicist telling him of his first Grammy win.
“I think I’m still a bit in shock. It was very surreal,” the entertainer said, reacting to his victory on Monday on CBC. BC Today.
Cuba said he started “freaking out” with excitement after hearing the news, before driving to Quesnel and calling his parents. His father, he said, is in charge of teaching him music and that phone call was “so full of incredible happiness”.
“Mendo,“, which he says loosely translates to “soul stuff,” was recorded in his living room in Smithers, British Columbia, during the COVID-19 pandemic with the help of engineer John (Beetle) Bailey.
A pandemic silver lining, Cuba said, is that he learned to design his own music and says it has “opened many creative doors”. He starts building his own studio next month so he can do it more often.
Cuba has lived in Canada for more than 22 years and has won several Latin Grammy Awards – a separate competition from the American Grammys – as well as several Juno Awards.
He told CBC when his album was released last May that his music has become more socially conscious and especially recognizes his own Afro-Cuban heritage.
Cuba commissioned Brianna McCarthy, an artist from Trinidad and Tobago, to illustrate the cover of Mendo to reflect his African heritage.