In 2008, audiences around the world flooded Broadway in hopes to experience an innovative, modern, Latin-music infused show called In The Heights. Deservingly so, it went on to win the Tony Award for Best Musical and the Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album. Latinos rejoiced, as we witnessed a historic moment: the Tony Award for Best Orchestrations went to the show’s Music Director, the first and only Latino ever to be nominated and win such a prestigious award in that category: Alex Lacamoire.
Latino Rebels’ Marlena Fitzpatrick had the chance to sit down and have a pleasant chat with Alex about his career, his Cuban roots and his new Broadway-bound musical, Hamilton.
Marlena Fitzpatrick (MF): Let’s go there sin tapujos. You studied at the Berklee College of Music, the sanctuary of jazz and contemporary music, and you’re Cuban. Anyone would inevitably assume you to become the next Latin jazz star. So, why not a residency in the “Blue Note” and become the next Eddie Palmieri or Michel Camilo? Why Broadway?
Alex Lacamoire (AL): [Laughter] Good question! I learned in Berklee that I wasn’t really cut out to be a jazz musician. What I learned was that in order to be a good jazz musician you have to LOVE the genre and really focus on it. I never listened to enough jazz, or practiced it enough, or concentrated on it enough. The best way to describe it is this: in college if I had the choice of listening to Led Zeppelin or Wes Montgomery, I would have rather listened to Led Zeppelin.
MF: Absolutely! So, you are a rocker at heart. I’m a rocker at heart too.
AL: Exactly! And the truth is that although I learned jazz, I didn’t have passion for it.For the rest of the interview click here