“To those who have yet to fulfill their dreams, know that although life is difficult, there is always a way out and with faith and love everything can be achieved,” the Cuban-born singer said in her acknowledgment. She shared the prize with Silvana Estrada, 25, a Mexican musician.
For Alvarez, the road to becoming the top new artist was far from easy. Her journey was fraught with several setbacks, starting with her father’s early disapproval of her plan to become a professional singer.
“You sing for the family, but not for the world,” she recalls him saying.
He recorded his Nana’s songs. Now, at age 95, she’s been nominated for a Latin Grammy.
Alvarez was also separated from her four young children for two years during a time of political turmoil in Cuba in the 1960s, and she later lost her husband and only daughter to cancer. Through it all, she never gave up on her dream of sharing her music with the world.
Her grandson, LA-based composer Carlos José Alvarez, decided to produce an album of his grandmother’s music, due for release in June 2021. He did it mainly for his family and never expected what would follow for his grandmother, whom he calls “Nana”: a documentary film and a role in the recent reboot of “Father of the Bride” starring Andy Garcia.
Winning a Latin Grammy is the latest addition to Alvarez’s list of triumphs in later life.
“There have been so many wonderful surprises here,” Carlos Alvarez, 42, told The Post. “This project is the gift that keeps on giving.”
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His grandmother’s story, he said, highlights “the need to fulfill that dream that lives in each of us.”
In her acceptance speech, Alvarez thanked her grandson, who accompanied her to the awards ceremony in Las Vegas and stood next to her on stage.
“He was the one who helped me get here,” she said.
Praise for Alvarez poured in on social media as fans called her an inspiration.
“The reminder that you should never stop dreaming,” one person posted on Twitter.
“Dreams don’t age”, said another tweet.
Indeed, Alvarez said in her speech, “I promise you it’s never too late.”