While driving home to Smithers from the Okanagan with his family through heavy snow Sunday, Alex Cuba found out his album Mendó won the 2022 Grammy Award for best Latin pop album.
The Afro-Cuban singer was returning home with his wife and youngest son after two nights performing with the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra, a previously announced engagement that collided with Grammys night.
Shortly after heavy snow began falling, Cuba said he received a phone call from his New York publicist who shared news of his first Grammy win.
"What a surreal moment, man," he said of the blustery turn of events.
"Maybe because we are coming out of the pandemic, this has an amplified meaning."
Mendó, which he said loosely translates to the "substance of the soul," was recorded in his living room in Smithers during the COVID-19 pandemic with the assistance of engineer John (Beetle) Bailey. It was the fourth time Cuba was competing in the best Latin pop album category. He had been previously been nominated in 2011, 2016 and 2018.
The Grammy will join the two Juno Awards and two Latin Grammy Awards on Cuba's mantle.
"Music has given me hope and positivity," Cuba said, "so I wanted to maintain that throughout the album. There's no sad songs."
Cuba has played in Prince George many times during his career, including during the 2015 Canada Winter Games and at the 2019 Heatwave Celebrate Cultures Festival. He performed via livestream during the 2021 Coldsnap festival and during a free livestream concert Premier John Horgan hosted in April 2020 during the first COVID-19 lockdown.
It was a good night for Canadians, with Joni Mitchell and the Weeknd also picking up Grammys, while Justin Bieber lost in all eight categories that named him.
Another big Canadian winner was sound engineer Charles Moniz who now has seven Grammys on his mantle after picking up his latest for Silk Sonic's "Leave the Door Open," the smooth throwback hit that snagged record of the year. Moniz, who grew up in Burlington, Ont., is a longtime collaborator with Bruno Mars, who is one-half of Silk Sonic with Anderson .Paak.
Yannick Nézet-Séguin won the best orchestral performance Grammy as conductor of "Price: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 3." The Montrealer had been nominated in three classical categories.
Dream Theater, whose members include lead singer and songwriter James LaBrie of Penetanguishene, Ont., won best rock performance for "The Alien.”