Acclaimed singer-songwriter to receive honorary degree

Media Release
Person wearing black hat and white t-shirt.
Talented singer, musician and music producer Alex Cuba will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from UNBC during the 2024 Convocation Ceremony (photo credit: Alvaro Nates).

Prince George, B.C. – Alex Cuba, an internationally recognized and award-winning musical artist, will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Northern British Columbia during the 2024 Convocation ceremony at the Prince George campus on May 31.

Born Alexis Puentes in Artemisa, Cuba, the singer-songwriter immigrated to Canada in 1999 after marrying his wife, Sarah.

Choosing to re-locate a few years later to Sarah’s hometown of Smithers in northwestern B.C., the majestic mountain backdrop has been an inspiring place to raise a family, launch a musical career and contribute to the vibrant musical and artistic fabric of the community. It’s proved to be the perfect vantage point to watch the popularity of his unique sound take hold and spread across the country and around the globe.

Singing in both Spanish and English, Cuba’s music draws from his Latin heritage, as well as African influences, with a mix of funk, jazz and pop.

“I like to describe my music as a fusion between a mango seed and an apple seed — it makes a tree that grows in Cuba and Canada,” says the talented artist. “I’m a Latin musician, but I’m incredibly proud of my Canadian side and the situations, inspirations and experiences that make my music unique to me.”

Cuba has managed his career and put out his records independently, eventually launching his own record label Caracol Records. His solo debut album Humo De Tobaco won a Juno Award for World Music Album of the Year in 2006.

Since then, he has put out another eight albums, winning numerous accolades including a second Juno Award, four Latin Grammy Awards, two SOCAN Awards and a Grammy Award for Best Latin Pop Album in 2022.

Over the years Cuba has collaborated with artists he’s admired, including Ron Sexsmith, Corrine Bailey Rae and Nelly Furtado. Cuba worked with Furtado to co-write several songs and record a duet for her album Mi Plan, which went on to win a Latin Grammy Award.

In 2022, Cuba received an honorary degree from Queen’s University recognizing his ongoing importance to the Canadian music world.

Most recently, the Grammy winner headlined the Prince George Symphony Orchestra’s Mainstage concert at Vanier Hall in March. “My music takes me far and wide, but having the opportunity to create and play with local musicians and share our love of music with community will always be a highlight,” says Cuba. “Music helps to bridge divides and build connections — it’s truly gratifying to think my music may contribute to community-building in northern B.C., I’m thrilled to be receiving this honorary degree from UNBC.”

Cuba will receive the honorary Doctor of Laws degree during the morning ceremony celebrating the Class of 2024 at Convocation on May 31.