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About Sammy Arriaga

Miami isn't necessarily a hotbed for country music, nor have there been many Cuban country vocalists, but Sammy Arriaga is the exception that proves the rule. The Miami native kickstarted his career when he decided to head to Nashville in 2011 to audition for the tenth season of American Idol, and he made it all the way to Hollywood. Prior to that, he wasn't necessarily a huge country fan but, as he told the Miami New Times in 2015, his father suggested he specialize in country for American Idol since that was usually successful. Arriaga didn't make it into the final 24 on Idol but he continued to pursue country music, touring regularly and releasing a debut single called "Lighter Up" in 2014. The next year brought the ballad "Cold in Miami" but he really started to gain momentum in 2016 when he released the "acoustic mixtape" Banjos N Bongos. Here, he started to incorporate Latin rhythms into his mainstream country and he continued in this path on the 2017 EP Meet in the Middle. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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