By Greg Carannante
City & Shore Magazine
To say that Ana Cristina Cash married into a musical family would be something of an understatement. When the South Florida-bred singer-songwriter tied the knot two years ago with John Carter Cash — the only child of Johnny and June — she climbed onto American music’s family tree of grassroots royalty.
Born in Miami to parents who fled Cuba in the early 1960s, Ana Cristina Alvarez launched her professional career at age 6 as a singing contest champion on Sabado Gigante, the long-running Spanish-language variety show. At 16, Sony’s Latin music division released her first, eponymous album, and three years later, she became the first Hispanic to perform the Star-Spangled Banner at a presidential inauguration, for George W. Bush’s second term.
Cash’s distinctive sound harmonizes well with the Cash legacy, blending rockabilly, blues and country, but she gets all decked out for the holidays with the recent release of My Christmas Collection. With 11 chestnuts, including a bilingual rendition of Silent Night, the album also features a duet with her husband and producer on Baby It’s Cold Outside. The couple also co-wrote the album’s original number, Santa Claus Is Real. And she calls album highlight, Carol of the Bells/God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, “the most intricate and detailed recordings of my career.”
“I am the only person doing the various vocal parts, essentially becoming a one-woman choir,” says Cash, who possesses a vast vocal range. “We ended up with over 200 of my vocal tracks for the song.”
Before setting out from her Nashville area home for one of her frequent family visits to Miami, the 33-year-old singer took time out to lay down a vocal for our standard Quote Unquote interview.
Aside from the weather, what do you enjoy most about South Florida?
I love visiting my family in Miami as much as possible and I love the food! I am Cuban-American, so I can’t wait to eat Cuban cuisine when I am there. Key lime pie is also a must when visiting the Keys and stone crabs when they are in season.
Are you a beach person or a pool person?
I am most definitely a beach person. I love the warm Atlantic Ocean water.
When in your life are you or have you been the happiest?
I felt so happy after the birth of my daughter, Grace June Cash. I was also incredibly happy on my wedding day.
What do you do when you’re stuck in a traffic jam on I-95?
I listen to the radio! If in Miami, I like to listen to Y100-FM.
What music are you listening to now?
I listen to a lot of classic rock. I have Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album on repeat as well as songs from Queen and David Bowie.
Are you a fan, and if so, of what?
Cookies. All sorts of cookies.
Do you do social media?
I have a Facebook music page as Ana Cristina Cash. On Instagram and Twitter, I am @anacristinacash. You can also go to anacristinacash.com and just click on the social links.
Who is your real-life hero or heroine?
My grandmother, Maria Amelia Vasquez. She is in her mid-90s and still has an amazing sense of humor.
If you had to choose: Rocky or Raging Bull?
Rocky! There is a lot to be said about his perseverance.
What car are you driving now?
What do you like most about yourself?
I am very goal-oriented. I like to surprise myself by tackling things that I find challenging or difficult. This has helped me grow as a person.
What places in South Florida do you recommend to guests visiting from out-of-town?
Joe’s Stone Crab if it’s stone crab season! They have the best Key lime pie I’ve ever tried. Also Versailles Cuban Restaurant on Calle Ocho.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I wish that I could tolerate some foods more than I do. I have an aversion to certain kinds of foods — pickles, mayonnaise and mustard being some of them.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?