Canadian Alex Cuba returning to Grammys

TORONTO -- If Canadian musician Alex Cuba has learned one thing from attending the Grammy Awards, it's that anything goes when it comes to red-carpet attire -- even a pod.

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The Smithers, B.C.-based singer-songwriter is nominated for a Grammy for best Latin pop album for "Healer."

It's his second time getting a nod in that category after 2011, when he attended the awards show and found himself next to quite a spectacle on the red carpet.

"I was there when Lady Gaga came on the red carpet inside an egg," he recalled. "I was there standing right beside her. That is the Grammys for you.

"So I'm not going to go in an egg, but I'm going to get funky. Just have fun with what I wear."

Cuba is used to taking such chances. As he put it: "Everything I've done has been a risk in my career."

In 1999, for instance, he moved from his hometown of Artemisa, Cuba, to Vancouver with his wife so he could experience a different culture and create music in a new environment.

The transition was "easy," said Cuba, who grew up playing guitar and bass and wrote his first song while serving in the Cuban army.

"I didn't even feel it. Never looked back, never said in my life, 'I miss Cuba.' Never."

Perhaps his success while he's been in Canada has helped with that transition.

Cuba has earned two Juno Awards and a whopping four Latin Grammys, the latest of which came in November for "Healing."

It's his first bilingual album and features English-speaking artists including David Myles and Ron Sexsmith.

"I did it for the first time in my career and I didn't know what to expect and I'm quite happy with it," said Cuba of the bilingual aspect.

"I think the album is getting more radio play than all of my albums and it's because of that."

Another risk he took on the album: He didn't use any horns.

"That was a major step to take on this album," said the father of three, "because I have horns on a lot of my albums except this one.

"I was thinking for years that the sound of the horns on my album was some sort of bridge between where I come from and where I am."

Cuba said he likes doing something new with every album. As a result, he's not sure if he'll do another bilingual project.

"But having said that, the door has been opened, so I don't know what to do," he added with a laugh. "I better walk through, I guess."

Though this is Cuba's second time attending the Grammys, it still feels special.

"If not more, because I feel that now the fact that I am an independent artist, it means more to me than it did before," he said.

"And also I did this album with not a lot of expectations. I just wanted to do this album."



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