Aymée Nuviola is a Grammy- and Latin Grammy-winning singer, pianist, composer, and actress. As one of the finest timba artists -- a furious brand of Afro-Cuban dance music -- Nuviola is, however, regarded globally for her cross-genre diversity and her powerful singing voice. While her tunes are rooted in Latin jazz, timba, son, guaguancó, guaracha, and charanga -- all decorated with urban electronic sounds -- she delivers these styles in unique juxtapositions as steamy boleros, tangos, rhumbas, bossa nova, and occasionally rock and even classical music. She has been favorably compared with Celia Cruz (whom she played in a Colombian telenovela about the singer), Billie Holiday, and Sarah Vaughn. In addition to her own recordings, she is a noted collaborator. She has worked with a wide range of artists including Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Negroni's Trio, Rey Ruiz, Kat Dahlia, and Charlie Aponte, to name a few. From her first single, 2008's furious dance hit "Salsa con Timba" to 2013's scorching son "Fiesta," from her sophomore long-player En La Intimidad, Nuviola's resonant voice, trademark phrasing, and innate sense of tradition is juxtaposed with an artful restlessness and innovation, be it in arrangements, lyrics, polyrhythms, or harmonies. Her vision and energy bore fruit almost immediately. 2014's First Class to Havana won a Latin Grammy for Best Salsa Album and a Grammy for Best Tropical Album the following year. In 2016, she appeared with Septeto Santiaguero on their Grammy winner No Quiero Llanto: Tributo a los Compadres. She and Kat Dahlia worked together on the funky Cuban chart-topper "La Negra Tiene Tumbao," from Nuviola's hit album Regreso a la Habana. Nuviola was born in Havana, Cuba in 1973. Her mother was an educator who also taught piano, and her father, an electrical engineer, was an amateur singer. She began playing piano at age three. It was the beginning of a musical education that followed her through her youth. She composed and sang along with the piano, inspired by the work of Benny Moré, Elena Burke, Omara Portuondo, Orquestra Reve, and José Antonio Méndez. At age nine she and her sister Lourdes formed the duo Las Hermanas Nuviola. Aymée graduated from the Manuel Saumell Conservatory in Havana and started getting session work. She sang on recordings by Irakere, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Pachito Alonso, and NG La Banda. Led by her debut charting single "Salsa con Timba," Nuviola issued her debut long-player, Corazon Sonero, on Reyes Records in 2009. While no other tracks hit the charts, the album was universally well-received by Cuban critics for the freshness of its modern production inside traditional forms; it soon found its way to tropical radio stations across the Caribbean. She played stages throughout Cuba as well as jazz festivals and developed a reputation nationally as a compelling and powerful vocalist. In 2010, she met film, television, and radio producer and director Paulo Simeón. They married a year later and he became her manager. Nuviola wouldn't return to recording until 2013 when she released En La Intimidad, an album that flexed the singers' vocal muscles in an original program of boleros, and jazz and pop ballads. Marc Anthony and Oscar De Leon sang her praises to the press and to their own fans, and named her "Sonera del Mundo." The album earned her a Cubadisco award nomination for Singer/Songwriter of the Year, and Best Popular Music Album. To capitalize on the attention, Reyes acquired the rights to Corazon Sonero and released it a couple of months later. She toured the Caribbean and parts of Latin America. She followed it a year later with her first bona fide hit album, First Class to Havana, which was full of textured, breezy salsa and jazzy guaguancó. While Rubalcaba appeared on "De la Habana Hasta Aqui," a resonant ballad, other tracks, such as opener "Paco," created a blend of traditional and pop elements to become a dance club staple across the Caribbean and in Europe. In addition to Rubalcaba, other guests included Pedrito Martinez, El Mola, and Alexis Valdez. This set, too, was nominated for Cubadisco and Grammy awards. She was a featured performer on that year's Salsa Giants World Tour, which took her to stages across Mexico and Latin America. By 2015, Nuviola was a household name in the Caribbean. She played Celia Cruz in the Telemundo biographical series Celia, which was shown in 45 countries including the United States. That year she also played the historic Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, for the debut of the Latin American Music Award" and closed her performance with a heartfelt tribute to Cruz. In 2016, Regreso a la Habana (produced by one of her most important teachers, Sergio George) was nominated for another Cubadisco award, and netted the smash single "La Negra Tiene Tumbao" (feat. Kat Dahlia). It preceded her widely acclaimed debut appearance at the North Sea Jazz Festival the following year and peaked at number eight in the U.S. on the Tropical Albums chart. Nuviola enlisted Baby Rasta y Gringo for her next single, "Bailando Todo Se Olvida," an intense meld of salsa, son, Latin funk, and soul. Following the charting single, the album Como Anillo al Dado ran up the Cuban charts and she took home her first Latin Grammy for best Tropical Fusion Album. Later in the year, she was cast in Ernest Dickerson's film Double Play as an actress and singer. Nuviola spent the next two years touring and collaborating with other artists. She again appeared at the North Sea Jazz Festival, and took home an award as an audience favorite; she also played Madison Square Garden in 2018. In 2019 she issued the 13-track A Journey Through Cuban Music, that featured her interpretation of classic Afro-Cuban tunes and featured an all-star guest list including Omara Portuando, Rubalcaba, Chucho Valdez and Munequitos De Matanzas, Mayito Rivera, Samuel Formell, and others. The album charted across the globe at streaming, while her concerts in the U.S., Mexico, and the Caribbean sold out months in advance. At the 2020 Grammy Awards, A Journey Through Cuban Music shared the Best Tropical Album award with Marc Anthony's Opus.
© Thom Jurek /TiVo
© Thom Jurek /TiVo
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