The Magic of Mexican Trio Kaay and Their First Latin Grammy Nomination
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María Bernal was standing by her father’s hospital bed when she found out her group, the Mexican trio Kaay (@kaayoficial), had been nominated for a Latin Grammy.
“I was with my father because he was sick — he fell down,” she says. “And he had a lot of complications and was in intensive care.”
After telling him the news, María began to sing one of the band’s songs, “Para Cuando No Esté,” which translates as “for when I am gone.” He passed away moments later.
“It’s weird, just the duality of life,” she says. “The good thing is he actually got to hear the news before he went away.”
Though Kaay’s first nomination was marked by sadness, María, along with fellow band members Cecy Leos and Renée Suárez, is ecstatic about the recognition. It’s a proud moment for the band, considering all the work they put into their last record, Desequilibrio.
“This album is our soul, our life. So it’s a great time for us,” says Renée.
Kaay’s story begins eight years ago, when María had the dream of starting an all girl band who wrote their own songs and played their own instruments. At the time, she and Renée had been studying music together at school, so she invited her to audition.
“I was like, ‘What? Auditions? No way, I hate them,’” says Renée. “María said, ‘You have to go, it’s for my project!’”
Much to her relief, Renée made the cut. Now all they had to do was find a third member, which was easier said then done. Though they saw many musicians, none of them had what they were looking for — until Cecy showed up.
“It was like magic,” says Renée. “She was the exact piece, musically speaking, that we were missing. And then she played one song we have on our first album. And we absolutely fell in love with her music.”
That close relationship between the three members comes out both in their music and their photos, where they are always smiling, always together side-by-side, running off to their next adventure. Though the last eight years have been tough on the group (“It’s not easy in Mexico to do pop music,” says Renée. “Everybody wants to hear music in English”), the Latin Grammy nomination feels like the culmination of all the hard work they have put in — this despite the oddity of being an eight-year-old band nominated for Best New Artist. (The Grammys consider a “new artist” anyone who “has not reached a prominent level of recognition at a regional level.”)
“It’s better,” says Renée, “because we have a stronger career than our competitors so that makes us feel confident.”
You can follow along with Kaay’s trip the Latin Grammys over at