We had the good fortune of connecting with Zaida Alfaro and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Zaida, is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?
“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” Mae West. Mae West, whose entertainment career consisted of being an actress, singer, comedian, and a sex symbol in her day, defines life, down to the tee. My mother, since I was very young, also instilled in me that similar frame of mind. I believe that we all are faulted for thinking ‘we have time.’ I came to realize that we do not. So if you want to succeed in your dreams, attempt to accomplish that without hesitation. Luckily, I was raised surrounded by a supportive family. When I first approached my parents about my music career, I was (19) at that time, and I said that I wanted to take one year off from college to pursue my dreams of being a musician. I remember my mom’s wide, beautiful smile, along with a nod that spoke words, even though she had not uttered a single one, and my father simply saying, “as long as you eventually graduate from college.” And that was the fire that sparked my music career; that was my version of “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” My first album “Train Ride” officially started my musical journey. Through all my trials and tribulations, musically, I kept reminding myself to keep going. I only did have one life to live, and limited time, so I had to do it with intensity, and a strong belief in myself. So, I made the decision, many years later, to release an EP called “Little Box of Secrets” as an independent artist/producer. My current single and music video “Serendipity” was released globally in November 2019 through UK based independent record label M’n’N Records. In addition to being a singer/songwriter, I am also a published author. My first cozy, mystery novel, The Last Note: A Miami Music Mystery was published in 2018. I am currently working on the second novel in that series. So I am definitely living by the words of Mae West. I continue to pursue my music and my writing, voraciously, even intertwining them from time to time. Music and writing is my life, and I intend to live it right.
Please tell us more about your career. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
There are many female singer/songwriters in this country. Anyone can write a song, but the difference is that I have to make it my own. I have to make myself unique, in order to stand out and be that one in a million. I am a storyteller, and through my songs and my beat-up classical guitar, I use my voice to tell a tale, passionately. One of my challenges was not taking on more than I can handle. Even if you think you can do it all on your own, you can’t. Learn to ask for help. It is important to take regular breaks and look after your own well-being both physically and mentally. A lesson that I learned, the hard way, was to believe in myself. When I started out (in my teenage years), I relied on others to direct me. I believed that I was talented because I was told that I was. But as I became older, and my experience in this industry fortified, I learned that I had to believe in my skills and in myself as a whole. By then, my confidence level cultivated, and the music industry became easier to understand. I am excited about my most recent release single Serendipity. I am working alongside M’n’N Records and together we continue to promote the single and video. I am also working on my second cozy novel for my book series, A Miami Music Mystery. I am excited to hopefully get it published/released this year.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love doing local activities and supporting local restaurants. I would definitely take my friend to Key Biscayne, and take the scenic route to the light house. We would soak up the sun, bike ride, and maybe even rent a kayak. Coconut Grove has a plethora of restaurants, but my favorite restaurant in that area is Lokal. It’s not often you can have a turkey burger with glazed donuts as your bun! As far as wine is concerned, Vinos in the Grove is the place to go. The ambiance is calming. The music, the scenery, and of course the wine selection makes for a relaxing night to catch up on each other’s lives, with no interruptions, well, except for when we take a sip of wine. I would introduce my Latin roots to my friend by going to Little Havana. There is so much going on at once, a cigar roller at the cigar shop, a 3-piece band playing unplugged on the corner, and of course, if you need a shot of energy, a cafecito at Versailles would do the trick.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I dedicate my shutout to my mom, whose continued belief in my talents and all my craziness, encourages me to never give up on my dreams.
Pepe Soto; K Photography