What a Difference a Day Made marks American vocalist Ermelinda Cuellar’s first widely-distributed release. Born to Peruvian parents in Texas, Cuellar is well-known to Houston audiences playing both jazz and Latin music in the region. Her background, bandstand experience, and training in opera result in vocals with clear intonation, rhythmically precise improvisations, and passionate story-telling in both English and Spanish. Listeners remark that her vocal quality is reminiscent of Ella Fitzgerald. The authentic Latin grooves provided by some of Texas’ top musicians provide a heartbeat for this album that she hopes will “lighten your soul”.
The project was conceived at the height of the pandemic. With venues closed, Cuellar wanted to create work for her underemployed bandmates. They began recording in December 2020, but Covid hit close to home. Percussionist Anibal Ambert came to the recording session with what he thought was a cold after a negative Covid test. A few days later, he was re-tested and found to have Covid. His condition worsened rapidly, and five days later he died. Heart-broken, Cuellar found it difficult to even listen to the project, or to find the strength to finish it. However, she and the band knew Anibal would have wanted them to push on, and put their collective work out into the world.
Ermelinda learned resilience and how to make the best of situations from a young age. Her Peruvians parents secured work as live-in servants for a rich woman. It was here that she first heard live bands and beautiful recordings at the events in the Houston mansion. Due to racism and attitudes toward immigrants, the way the family was treated worsened, and the family had to leave from their living situation. However, the music she heard inspired her to pursue a career as a vocalist. Largely self-taught at jazz, she holds a degree from Opera Performance from the prestigious Moores School of Music at University of Houston.
Please contact the artist directly for interviews or questions. CDs are available.