Angela Alvarez Talks Best New Artist Win at Latin Grammy Awards: ‘I Had to Wait 80 Years to Get Here’

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Latin Grammy best new artist winner Angela Alvarez stopped by the Variety Studio, presented by DIRECTV, to talk about her historic win and shared the mantra and key pieces of advice that led her to the big achievement.

In a humble tone, the 95-year-old Cuban singer told Variety that she was honored to be surrounded by artists who appear much more professional than she is — despite the fact that she has been singing and writing songs since the 1930s, albeit in private, never quite imagining what the future had in store.

“This is something that happened from day to night,” she said. “I’ve always loved to sing since I was a little girl… when the family would have parties for Christmas or birthdays, I was the artist — they’d make me long dresses and announce my entrance to sing.”

Alvarez learned to sing as a child but put the hobby aside to settle down and start her family – most of whom were in attendance, including her grandson Carlos José Alvarez, who produced Alvarez’s eponymously titled 2021 record.

Backstage, Alvarez posed with her red and gold gramophone as teary-eyed spectators flocked around her. The best new artist category did see a tie, however, with 25-year-old Silvana Estrada.

When asked what her advice would be for new artists, she offered a reminder: “Your life starts today. Always aspire to achieve something — chase the inspiration to sing, to pick up an instrument to paint — do it. And don’t get stuck on the idea that you may fail. Keep going and moving forward and when you finally do get to the end, that’s when you can say I can or I can’t — but always try it first.”

Alvarez continued: “There are many open doors out there — the only person shutting those doors is yourself. If we don’t try, the doors will be closed. I had to wait 80 years to get to where I am here today.”