This piece was originally published on FYIMusicNews.

Before Alex Cuba arrived for this interview, I recalled my first encounter nearly 20 years back with The Puentes Brothers. Adonis and Alexis played the Beaches Jazz Festival street scene. Producer Peter Cardinali made the pair a priority and produced a brilliant recording, Morumba Cubana, grounded in traditional Cuban dance.

The years pass, and I hear of this rising young Cuban star, Alex Cuba, and wonder if there was a connection. Four Latin Grammy Awards, two Grammy nominations for the best Latin pop album and a growing universal following — this must be the same guy.

Cuba dropped by my house, all part of a promo blitz, and we had a long-awaited conversation. I’m a man surrounded by acceptable clutter: keyboards, microphones, walls of CDs, dog toys and a basement studio rug that bulges in the middle, for which I’ve found no remedy. Cuba found comfort in that.