We all wish we could share a room with our favorite music artists. When a song resonates deeply with you, you want to learn anything and everything about its creation: How did it come to be, what were its initial inspirations, and what twists and turns emerged during the writing process?
That’s where HBO Latino’s series A Tiny Audience comes in. The program, which premiered with a first-look episode this past December, organizes intimate concerts with Latin music artists and the audiences who adore them. After performers share "tiny" secrets with the crowd, they play stripped-down renditions of some of their favorite songs.
The network brought the show — which is cohosted by Miami-based singer-songwriter Sarah Packiam — to the Magic City last Thursday, February 27, for an episode at the Gibson Guitar Miami Showroom. Attendees enjoyed as close to one-on-one time as they would probably ever experience with the likes of Fonseca, Fifth Harmony’s Ally Brooke, and Jackie Cruz, who's best known for her role as Flaca on Netflix's Orange Is the New Black.
Format-wise, A Tiny Audience resembles MTV Unplugged and VH1 Storytellers — long-running programs that empower artists to share their work and the stories behind them in smaller, more manageable venues. Guests of Thursday's show were able to not only ask their favorite artists burning questions but also get the inside scoop on new projects and forthcoming music.
It's an exciting opportunity for all participants involved. “Music is so powerful," Cruz said the day of the show. "Just to sit down with an artist to get to know them... it's like they’re your homie!”
Beyond the endearing quality of Cruz's excitability, the event saw her open up to her Miami fans. She shared that music was her first artistic love and offered insight into the songwriting process behind her album Hija de Chavez as well as what exactly the album means to her.
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As Cruz detailed the story behind the record and her journey in the entertainment industry, the experience felt akin to bringing a new friend up to speed on your life thus far. Even if only for a little while, the lines between fan and friend seemed increasingly blurred.
What makes music so special isn't just the emotions artists project onto their own songs, but the stories audiences form while listening to the music. Even if a tune was written with a specific narrative or from a particular state of mind, it can mean something completely different from one listener to another and still resonate widely. Case in point: Thursday saw pop singer-songwriter Debbi Nova share a song she wrote as a tribute to a late friend. By the time the song ended, there wasn't a dry eye in the house.
Artists are more than their live concerts or curated social media accounts, and A Tiny Audience does a topnotch job of illustrating as much. For fans lucky enough to attend a taping, it brings them closer than ever to their favorite musicians.
HBO and various digital platforms shared new episodes of A Tiny Audience last Friday, February 28. Besides Brooke, Cruz, and Fonseca, expect performances from other beloved Latin artists, including but not limited to Juanes, Natti Natasha, and Jesse & Joy.