Afro-Cuban singer/songwriter Aymée Nuviola didn’t earn the nickname “La Sonera del Mundo” for nothing. As a tireless advocate for the Afro-LatinX and Afro-Cuban community, Nuviola is also an ambassador of Latin music of all varieties, seamlessly transitioning from genre to genre with a classically trained foundation. She’s released several acclaimed albums and toured all over the world, earned a GRAMMY and a Latin GRAMMY, collaborated on multiple GRAMMY-winning albums, portrayed musical icon Celia Cruz in the Telemundo series, Celia, and was hailed as one of People En Español’s “25 Most Powerful Ladies of 2021.” In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, BMI caught up with Nuviola to discuss her remarkable career, her creative roots and her passionate role as an emissary for music.
This month marks Hispanic Heritage Month. As La Sonera del Mundo, a singer/songwriter who has performed all over the world, what does your Hispanic heritage mean to you and how does it influence your writing?
The Hispanic heritage is acquired as an immigrant in the United States, where we really nourish ourselves seriously from the immense cultural wealth of each of our peoples represented here in this country. It is essential for me as an artist to be able to capture and offer the world the great potential of our people. Without this cultural richness that we contribute by living with each other in the United States, my art would not be so forceful and so genuine.
You’ve said that music is like an island without borders. What do you hope listeners take away from your music?
Being born on an island in the Caribbean, people can minimize our intellectual or cultural wealth by measuring it through geographical dimensions. But the reality is that 33 musical genres have been created in Cuba, with this I mean that in my musical DNA there are no borders nor small territories.
You’ve won both a GRAMMY Award and a Latin GRAMMY Award, been hailed as one of People En Español’s “25 Most Powerful Ladies of 2021,” are credited as one of the progenitors of the TIMBA genre and acted and performed as Celia Cruz in Telemundo’s series, “Celia!” – what of your many, many accomplishments are you most proud of?
First of all, I want to tell you that I feel very proud, blessed and grateful to the people and institutions that have given me the opportunity to achieve all this. I do not do or achieve anything alone in this world. I believe that my greatest achievement in life, after knowing and following God, is to be able to do things with humility and excellence. When someone recognizes me on the street, I can see that they feel worthily represented by me in everything you mentioned above.
That is why I will go for more. I ask God to give me health and a long life to be able to leave a worthy legacy on this earth as one more immigrant who also came for the American dream and achieved it.
What’s the best bit of advice you received when you were still starting your career in music?
I tell you that at first I only received advice from a musical point of view. Everything in my environment was very innocent. When I started traveling with an 18-man orchestra, life gave you surprises and you started to need support and advice that could strengthen yourself and help you continue. If that advice comes from a giant artist, it is worth triple! Being 19 years old, I was participating in a music festival in Cancun, Mexico, and there I met my dear Johnny Ventura, and he was kind enough to invite us to Willy Colon’s wedding so that he could meet Celia Cruz! Imagine! There came my first great advice in my musical life. Celia looked at me fixedly and said, “Take good care of your throat, because it is your work instrument and therefore your financial support. Never waste your time on things that threaten it.” Celia took off her earrings and gave them to me. That was a powerful statement that I always carry with me.
Which part of the process brings you the most fulfillment – songwriting, recording or performing?
Difficult, this question … I would tell you that the three stages are extremely powerful and comforting and it is the defining process of the life of an artist/composer.
The creative process is painful but vital. Whenever I sit at the piano to compose, I suffer. But when the song gives birth, the rejoicing is like having a newborn baby in your arms. The second part is the studio. In there, between producers and musicians, the song grows to dimensions never imagined and is very comfortable.
But the stage is vital to be able to end this circle of life in a big way. That is why we must all take care of ourselves, vaccinate ourselves to get out of this pandemic soon and be able to reunite without any concern. The life of an artist depends a lot on the stage and the contact with the public from it.
What role has BMI played in your journey thus far?
BMI protects us and our copyright in this country. My first economic income that helped me to establish myself as an artist and to be able to live on my compositions was defended by BMI. My gratitude and my respects for all those who make it possible for my musical work to be protected.