Success doesn’t have an expiration date.
In the recently concluded Latin Grammy Awards, one thing rang true – it’s never too late to chase after your dreams, no matter how old you might be.
That night, when the nominees for the best new artist were called, one of them was 95-year-old singer Angela Alvarez.
Alvarez was the organization’s oldest nominee and after that night, she was also their oldest winner.
As her name was called, she was welcomed with applause and a standing ovation. The senior stood in disbelief as the Latin communities celebrated her well-earned success.
Bedazzled and glittered, Alvarez was still very energetic for her age. It was reflective of her songs that while mellow, possessed a certain electrifying tone. But her journey to the Grammy Awards stage started at a time when her dreams were deemed impossible.
She knew her love for music at a very young age.
Alvarez grew up in pre-revolutionary Cuba and as much as she wanted to embrace her talents, her father and grandfather prohibited her from pursuing a career as a musician.
She then wrote songs in secret and only performed in front of her family. She was a hidden talent and would stay so for decades.
As the Cuban Revolution unfolded, her life changed drastically.
Faced with uncertainty, Alvarez made what she dubbed the most difficult decision in her life. She decided to send her family far away.
Her four children, part of a migration operation sponsored by the United States, were sent to the US to study.
At that point, her passion for music had to take the back seat once more because she had to focus her energy on reuniting with her family. Eventually, they settled in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
She continued writing songs but still only performed for her family.
That is until five years ago when she was 90 when she received her big break.
Her grandson was recording some of her songs and compiled them into an album with the help of another Cuban, Ocean’s Series regular Andy Garcia.
They then documented Alvarez’s journey – from her younger years, the battle she fought, then culminating the story in her first concert in one of Hollywood’s historical nightclubs.
Carlos shared that her grandmother was reluctant at first about the prospects.
“I called her up and I said, ‘Nana, do you want to do this?’ First, she said, ‘I’m not going to Los Angeles! For what?’ And I say, ‘To record your album!’ And she’s like, ‘OK, I’m there!’” Carlos recalled, as quoted by The Guardian.
Her self-titled album was then released last year, which paved the way for her to be nominated for the best new artist award.
She won the award alongside Silvana Estrada.
With her triumph, she encouraged other people, especially dreamers, to not give up. Her success is a testament that if we keep on doing the things we love, the opportunities will eventually and most surely find us.
“There are people who give up, but I did not give up – I always fought,” she said during her speech, “I promise you – it’s never too late.”
Watch one of her performances in the video below.
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