Friends of local musician Alex Diaz, better known as Xela Zaid, have started a crowdfunding campaign to raise money that will go toward helping Diaz recover from a stroke he suffered in December just before Christmas. Organizers ask that anyone who enjoyed Diaz's work to donate to help the musician regain his ability to speak. He has been a staple of the Miami music scene for more than three decades.
According to the crowdfunding page, Diaz has been released from the hospital and is recovering, but he's unable to communicate verbally. The campaign has a $10,000 goal to help Diaz, who has no health insurance. That amount will cover speech therapy-related expenses that Medicaid has so far not covered. The delay in receiving therapy and the treatment he needs could greatly affect his ability to recover from the stroke.
Diaz, winner of New Times' 2013 Best Solo Musician, spoke about the release of his album Orange Violet before his stroke. “We all grow and evolve on many levels, and I've always found refuge in the spiritual realm," Diaz told New Times about the content of his new project. "It's always saved me from the insanity of the world and helps me find peace within. At the time of recording Orange Violet, I felt I was outgrowing many things from the past and it was time to embark in a new direction, not only artistically but spiritually.”
Diaz has been known for years as an artist who wasn't afraid to experiment musically in ways no one else would even think to attempt. His mid-'90s record, Motorama, released under the moniker "Ho Chi Minh," is considered an under-the-radar indie masterpiece.
As of now, the crowdfunding campaign has garnered nearly half of its goal. If you or anyone you know would like to donate to the recovery of Xela Zaid, visit the musician's YouCaring page.
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Ryan Yousefi is a freelance writer for Miami New Times, a lover of sports, and an expert consumer of craft beer and pho. Hanley Ramirez once stole a baseball from him and to this day still owes him $10.