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A Soulful Sound

By Hannah Amorello

 

Local artist Belén Cusi has been working for years to fine-tune her unique sound, which she now defines as Latin Soul Pop. This new and intricate sound is indicative of Cusi’s individual character and spirit as an artist. The Texan native and now Boston-based artist is passionate about her sound and notes that make her unmatched in the music industry. Cusi has been able to grow and develop musically by embracing her Latin roots and finding her own voice. 

Cusi’s passion for music began when she was eight years old and sat behind the keys of a toy piano. She begged her parents for actual lessons and, through enough persistence, found herself in a piano class soon enough. She grew up surrounded by classical influences. It wasn’t until she made the move from Texas to Boston that she found her voice.

“I was sort of a late bloomer. I played classical music, but I had a lot of other interests,” said Cusi.

Although Cusi’s roots stemmed from training in a classical setting, that was not exactly what she was seeking for herself. As a talented and curious young girl, she dreamed of a life beyond Texas and, potentially, outside the realm of classical music.

When the time came, Cusi decided to attend Boston University, where she studied journalism. Her time in college pushed Cusi outside of her comfort zone and kick-started her personal musical journey. Exploring her voice and dabbling in songwriting helped her realize that music was something she could see herself pursuing.

Although the music industry has proven to be competitive on many levels, Cusi and her guitarist Andrés Echeverry are very optimistic.

“It all depends on your perspective. We all want to make it big, you know, whatever that means,” says Cusi.

Making it big is something that Cusi and Echeverry have decided they will define on their own terms. In her case, Cusi has chosen to define success as reaching a level of mastery on her instruments and establishing a connection with her audience. The two have clearly established their own parameters for achievement. The music they create boldly strays from the general norm of pop music and captures the body and soul of their listeners.

Embracing her Latin roots and celebrating them through vibrant sound, Cusi prides herself on her distinctive approach. She and Echeverry recognize the way in which modern music objectifies women and portrays a certain image. For them, the music acts as a conduit for spreading their own beliefs and ideas.

Although her sound is constantly developing, her desire to reach her audience remains consistent.

“I want my music to have a deep resonance with them; I want to give them chills, have the audience dancing, and just get up and move,” said Cusi.

Through their shows, the two have succeeded in creating this type of engaging experience. The Latin American flair seen throughout their set, coupled with the soulful performance, culminates in what Echeverry describes as a “tour throughout South America.”

Finding balance between fun and feeling within her music is deeply important to Cusi. She aims to write lyrics that give people the courage to get up and move, while also conjuring deeper emotions.

Inspiring her audience is definitely a priority for Cusi. She has been inspired by a multitude of artists and music genres throughout her own lifetime. Mercedes Sosa, an Argentinean folk singer, is one artist in particular who has greatly influenced Cusi’s music. Cusi herself shares this Argentinean heritage and relates to the lyrics and messages Sosa brings to her music.

“I certainly like the feeling and the sound she uses and would love to incorporate the depth in her music into my own. I connect with her on a lot of levels — emotional, artistic, and musical,” said Cusi.

Considering she draws influence from a variety of styles and artists, she exposes herself to a diverse, unrestricted pool of inspiration. Within her own music and sound, Cusi hopes to elicit the same response from her audience that her idols have drawn from her.

“I’m hoping people will experience the things that I do when I hear songs that I will never forget. I would just love for my music to give people chills,” said Cusi.

While Cusi is primarily a solo act, her performances could not come together without the help of her fellow musicians. Cusi is responsible for engaging and entertaining the audience, while Echeverry and his fellow musicians act as the binding force, creating a cohesive unit on stage. Echeverry, a Colombian native, fell in love with the guitar at age nine and has performed in a variety of musical groups throughout his lifetime. His eclectic musical background has made him an ideal partner on stage. In terms of sound, each artist prefers an organic and acoustic sound to a more manufactured one. Their ability to rely upon one another on stage is a testament to their bond as performers.

Cusi has come a long way musically — from dreams of being “the next Taylor Swift,” to music that is soulful and sensual. Now, Cusi is considering what comes next for her.

“I’m very much looking forward to playing more shows. I’m in the process of putting out my next album, so I’m excited about writing new material, and solidifying that, and recording it,” said Cusi.

Since much of her professional development as a musician has taken place in Boston, there is obviously a lot for her to be thankful for here. Despite sentimental ties, Cusi finds that her next professional step lies in New York. The young artist shows no signs of slowing, and she seems genuinely excited for what lies ahead. Her audience is just as eager to follow her journey. 

@belencusi


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