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Aymee Nuviola: La Sonera del Mundo

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In this week's Miami New Times, we profile 30 of the most interesting characters in town, with portraits of each from photographer Stian Roenning. See the entire Miami New Times People Issue here.

From winning a national televised singing competition as a teenager in Cuba to being selected to play Celia Cruz on a Fox Telecolombia biographical telenovela, Aymee Nuviola has been living a dream.

"It's a great satisfaction," she says of her upcoming role as "la Reina de la Salsa" at the height of Cruz's career. "It's going to be a tribute to her, but it's also celebrating a joyful woman who shared lots of love with her music and who represented her music all over the world."

Filming for Nuviola's segment of the 80-episode, hourlong series won't begin until mid-February, but earlier this month, the singer caught a glimpse of her future at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. Joined by two other singers, Nuviola sang in Salsa: The Music of Celia Cruz, a concert dedicated to "la Guarachera de Cuba."

"La Sonera del Mundo," as Nuviola has been nicknamed, was born with the fervent blood of a musician running through her veins. She's been playing the piano since she was three.

"I fell in love with music and the arts at an early age," she recalls. "My mom taught piano lessons during her spare time. I studied classical piano and started singing with my sister when I was 9."

Shortly after being named Cuba's most talented on Todo El Mundo Canta when she was only 15, Nuviola and her sister joined Pachito Alonso y Sus Kini Kini, one of the island's most popular orchestras. The pair later formed their own duo and moved to Costa Rica and then Mexico.

"We had better job opportunities in Mexico, but we felt we were too far away from Cuba, and to be honest, we knew more people in Miami," she admits. "One day I figured, Why not move to Miami?"

Thus began Nuviola's solo career. From singing alongside her cousin Luis Bofill at Havana Dreams in Doral, to performing at Madison Square Garden in a tribute concert to Latin radio icon Polita Vega, to joining the Salsa Giants on tour this year, the singer made a name for herself well beyond the 305.

Now, with a 2015 Latin Grammy nomination for Best Salsa Album for First Class to Havana, Nuviola is reaping the fruits of her years of labor.

As for the future, "I'm a woman with lots of faith," she proclaims. "I trust in God. You can never think too highly of yourself. You have to be prepared to keep on growing. You never know the path God is going to put you on."

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