Wow. How to summarize all that has happened in the last two months? First of all, I'm quite terrible at keeping up with social media. I know it's supposed to come naturally to my generation, but I think I missed something when they were handing out our millennial credentials. Mostly I find myself getting caught up in what I'm doing in the moment and feeling guilty that I should be posting more updates about it. I've already accepted the fact that this may never change. So, for you my dear reader, what this means is you get a very long blog post every few months. Deal?
View from our apartment in Havana on Avenida 23. Photo by Jonas Heinzerling
For those who don't want to read too much (millennials, I'm talking to you), here's the 5-point summary of what I was up to in Cuba for a month:
1. Recorded a music video for "Honey River" (The Nautilus), to be released in early 2019
2. Started the visa application process to be able to perform in Havana with my Cuban band next year
3. Recorded tracks for 6 songs on the NEXT album, to be released in 2020
4. Had a live interview on Habana Radio and was featured in an article on Havana2Go online magazine
5. Laid on the beach for five days
On this trip to Cuba I was once again accompanied by my electric violinist/producer/father T Bruce Bowers for part of the time. We met up with the same production team that brought you The Nautilus, producers Laura and Moisés along with band members Rayhner, Yoelsy and Luiso. It was beautiful to see how the second time around things had an even smoother flow. We know each other better now and can say what we need to with more ease, helping us clarify our goals more quickly.
With the musical crew. From L to R: Yoesly, Rayhner, Me, T Bruce, Moisés, Laura, Luiso
This time we also brought along videographer and photographer Jonas Heinzerling for what was supposed to be five days of video and photo shoots. Thanks to Hurricane Michael, Jonas' flight was delayed and we lost one precious day, giving us only four to get all the shots we needed. But everyone, especially Jonas, stepped up to the challenge and gave it their all. We loaded gear up a ladder to get to our rooftop location, we trekked through the heat all across Havana taking photos, we stood in traffic to get the perfect shots, and we climbed to the top of El Morro to capture the sunset. In the end, we managed to collect all the scenes necessary for the upcoming "Honey River" music video, new promo photos for myself and the band, plus a lot of behind-the-scenes footage at the recording studio. A successful four days, I'd say.
We had a blast recording tracks for the next album. "Next album??" you may say. "Didn't you just come out with the last one?" Yes, reader, you're right. The truth is I already have my work cut out for me with promoting and touring The Nautilus, but I was bursting at the seams with new songs and eager to start the next project. So I decided to take advantage of being in Cuba for a month and lay down tracks for the first six songs off the album. I'm not even sure what the album title is yet, but I do know which is going to be the single! I'm already excited about how it's sounding.
While I was in Havana we also started the tedious process of getting the necessary visas for me to be able to perform in Cuba. Ever since recording "The Nautilus" in Havana last year I've wanted to do a follow-up CD release with my Cuban band. But this has proven to be much more complicated than I thought. We had to do a lot of application writing, meetings with officials, presenting said application, more meetings with officials, and waiting patiently and smiling. I should have known by now, nothing is easy in Cuba. But the good news is, we laid all the groundwork and hopefully by next summer we'll be able to perform in Havana with the full band.
To top off this productive month, my wonderful producer Laura Martínez got busy setting up interviews, both radio and magazine, to promote The Nautilus and talk about what's coming in the next album. I had a live interview on Habana Radio, accompanied by Laura. You can listen to the whole thing (in Spanish) here:
And I also had the pleasure of being interviewed by Iviani Padín for Havana2Go digital newspaper (photo below). She wrote a beautiful article, also in Spanish, but with option for an English translation. Read the whole thing HERE.
With Iviani Pedín of Havana2GO.
Lastly, I laid down on a beach for my final 5 days and worked on nothing more than my tan, a great way to decompress from all the running around.
My tan, however, is long gone after one month back in the frozen Wisconsin northwoods. I'm keeping myself busy indoors with gigs and recording this winter. Stay tuned for more updates. Hope to see you at a show soon!