Singer-songwriter Alex Cuba hails from Artemisa, Cuba (1 hour west of Havana) and resides in Smithers, B.C. (14 hours north of Vancouver). Musically, he lives everywhere in between. His trademark sugarcane-sweet melodies, pop-soul hooks and rock chords subtly subvert commonly held notions of what Cuban music is. Alex is on the vanguard, crafting a cross-cultural sound that mirrors his geographical journey. Not tied to tradition, this Cuban-Canadian prefers his vintage Gibson over el sencerro (cowbell) anytime.
From his earliest years in Artemisa, he was immersed in music. Alex's first stage appearance on national TV was at the tender age of four, playing claves (a percussion instrument) in a group directed by his music instructor father. Alex went on to study guitar, tres, percussion and bass, practicing eight hours a day during his teens.
After a stint with his twin brother Adonis to record Morumba Cubana, as The Puentes Brothers, Alex departed from Cuban music norms to follow his own path. His debut CD with the Alex Cuba Band, “Humo De Tabaco”, earned him a Juno award for World Music Album in 2006, with the single “Lo Mismo Que Yo”, featuring Ron Sexsmith charting in the Top 20 at BBC Radio 2. For “Humo”, Alex took UK producer Martin Terefe to Cuba to record the album’s funk infused horns and percussion, a sound that got under Terefe’s skin. By extension, that “Alex*Cuba sound” is now evident on Terefe’s productions for Craig David, Ron Sexsmith and Jason Mraz.
After a musical and spiritual evolution, Cuba returned to the studio, this time with co-producer Joby Baker of Victoria, to record “Agua Del Pozo” which was released in Canada in February 2007 under his own Caracol Records imprint. Acclaimed for its blend of tempo, instrumentation and songwriting, the album is a clear evolution from the debut, punctuated by the introduction of Alex's electric guitar, a vintage Gibson. “Agua” earned Alex his second Juno Award for Best World Music album 2008.
2008 was a huge year for Alex*Cuba, delivering a rousing showcase at SXSW, garnering strong media coverage and selling-out tours in the U.S. In addition to the Juno an “indie” Award was added for Favourite World Music Artist at Canadian Music Week 2008. In June, Caracol Records re-released “Agua del Pozo” in Canada through EMI Music with brand new artwork. With his explosive live presence he performed in the UK, Japan, Spain, the US and Canada, including fall showcases at the prestigious WOMEX conference in Seville, Spain and the Canadian Trade Mission in Tokyo, Japan before dashing back to North America for the Transmission Conference and his second consecutive sell-out at New York's Joe's Pub.
In the digital space, Alex Cuba has had four iTunes Singles of the Week (Canada, U.S., Japan, Netherlands), has charted on various iTunes charts in Canada, the U.S. and Japan, has built an impressive online community and has had major content features on Myspace, Yahoo!, AOL and other portals. Alex recently collaborated with Nelly Furtado for her Spanish language debut album “Mi Plan” (My Plan) being released worldwide (Universal Latino) in September. The creative chemistry between Alex, Nelly and James Bryan was magical and resulted in multiple co-writes including the first single - “Manos Al Aire” (Hands in the Air) and the title track where he appears as an invited guest on vocals.
In between tour dates, Alex has been recording his third album at Baker Studios in Victoria, B.C. The self-titled project is slated for an October Canadian release and a Spring 2010 U.S. release. Featuring surprising new grooves, new electric guitar inflections and varying tempos and structures, the album is an important step in Alex Cuba’s ongoing musical revolution. He recently released a pre-mix of “Caballo” (Horse), a sizzling Cuban-funk-rocker, to fans as a small taste of what’s to come.
With a heart as big as his retro 'fro, Cuba takes it all in stride and focuses on what he does best: crafting songs that cut through linguistic and cultural barriers like a machete through sugarcane.