British Columbia

Alex Cuba releases new album, recorded in his Smithers living room

Award-winning musician Alex Cuba released a new album Friday that he recorded in the comfort of his own living room in Smithers, B.C.

The musician collaborated with people from all over the world

Canadian-Cuban musician Alex Cuba released his new album, Mendó, on Friday. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press)

Award-winning musician Alex Cuba released a new album Friday that he recorded in the comfort of his own living room in Smithers, B.C.

The Cuban-born songwriter says he was still able to collaborate with musicians from all over the world on his new album, Mendó, despite the pandemic.

"When I began to imagine this album, I knew I didn't want it to be small in any way. Neither did I want it to be known forever as the album that was born out of the pandemic," Cuba said.

Cuba has lived in Canada for over 22 years and has won multiple Latin Grammy Awards as well as several Juno Awards.

In an interview for Hot Air with Margaret Gallagher, Cuba said COVID-19 restrictions made the new album different from others because he was not able to go into the studio. 

But he added that he thinks working from home inspired something different in his music. 

"This year of the pandemic, you know, has left me with something beautiful inside of me. I now believe that magic can happen anywhere music-wise," Cuba said.

Cuba wanted the cover of his new album to reflect his African heritage. (Brianna McCarthy)

Cuba says his music has become more socially conscious and features special recognition of his own Afro-Cuban heritage.

African heritage

Cuba says he commissioned Brianna McCarthy, an artist from Trinidad and Tobago, to illustrate the cover of the album to reflect his African heritage.

"She made me look like an African prince. And I love that because I think that's what happens when music comes to me. I think that's what comes over me, my roots, and my connection with Africa," he said. 

Cuba says that when he began working on the album, he had no idea he was still going to be able to collaborate with musicians from all over the world. 

"I walked away with six collaborations on the album, six duets, you know, from Lila Downs in Mexico, to Gian Marco in Peru, to Raul Midon in New York," Cuba said.

Cuba says the flexibility of being able to work from home allowed him the creative freedom to create an album that makes him proud. 

Alex Cuba has a new album called Mendó. He's Margaret's special guest this week. 54:00

With files from Hot Air

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