“To those who have yet to make their dreams come true, know that although life is hard, there’s always a way out and with faith and love everything can be achieved,” the Cuban-born singer said in her acceptance speech. She shared the award with Silvana Estrada, 25, a Mexican musician.
For Alvarez, the path to becoming best new artist was far from easy. Her journey was fraught with several setbacks, beginning 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 remembers him saying.
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, L.A.-based composer Carlos José Alvarez, decided to produce an album of his grandmother’s music, which was released in June 2021. He did it mainly for his family, and never anticipated what would follow for his grandmother, who he calls “Nana”: a documentary film and a role in the recent “Father of the Bride” reboot starring Andy Garcia.
Winning a Latin Grammy is the latest addition to Alvarez’s list of late-life triumphs.
“There’s been so many amazing surprises around this,” Carlos Alvarez, 42, told The Post. “This project is the gift that keeps on giving.”
His grandmother’s story, he said, highlights “the need to fulfill that dream that lives in every single one of us.”
In her acceptance speech, Alvarez thanked her grandson, who accompanied her to the awards ceremony in Las Vegas, and stood beside 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 do not age,” another tweet said.
Indeed, Alvarez said in her speech, “I promise you, it’s never too late.”