Artist of the Week: Niho

Each Wednesday, Rocks Off arbitrarily appoints one lucky local performer or group "Artist of the Week," bestowing upon them all the fame and grandeur such a lofty title implies. Know a band or artist that isn't awful? Email their particulars to introducingliston@gmail.com.

Once again, we received a significant amount of dope bands and performers staking their claim to Artist of the Week, so thanks for that. Do keep sending them in, as we’ve rather enjoyed the unexpected ego boost that's come with kingmaking.

We’ve been feeling a bit ethnocentric lately, plus our cousin just got a job at the United Colors of Benetton store, so this week we’re totally digging Cuban songbird Nihosotty Mozas, Niho for short. On our patented Cuban Songbird Rating System, we rate her two and a half hot Cuban guys out of four.

We hollered at the Latin pop-fusion performer earlier this week, and she was kind enough to answer a few questions.

Houston Press: On your Myspace page, it says you've been in Houston since the "time of [your] exile." Why were you exiled? And how did you make your way to Houston? We're really hoping it was via a makeshift boat or raft or something.

N: I considered myself a logical person and didn’t put my life in danger. I was exiled because I left Cuba with a visa to visit Colombia and never went back; I am considered a “defected person.” After that, I decided to follow the American dream and I came to this country illegally, but in a comfortable aircraft.

HP: Hey, that’s the same way we left our parents' house. Not in a comfortable aircraft, we just never went back. Talk a little about your work as the face for many Hispanic media agencies. What's that all about? Did you get to meet any big names doing that?

N: That means I had done commercials for different Hispanic businesses, such Millennium Mortgage, H&D Beauty Parlor, JC Auto Repair, and the Texas Lottery. I had the honor to work with Cesar Augusto, the greatest radio voice in my humble opinion. And also I had the pleasure and honor to have him [introduce] me onstage in the Colombian Fest this past July 20, 2008.

HP: That’s cool, congratulations. What’s even cooler though is finding out that Hispanics are running the Texas Lottery. We really are taking all the jobs. As a Cuban artist who happens to be an immigrant, what are your feelings on the whole immigration debacle?

N: I am an immigrant; I support and wish the best for all those brave [people] who take the chance to start in a different culture and in an unknown country. Immigration is a tough subject, because it goes beyond economics and affects people emotionally and psychologically. Many people do not want to give credit to immigrants’ strength and courage.

HP: Do you think it's racist whenever a media person and asks your feelings on the whole immigration debacle?

N: No. The socio-politic periods since the beginning of [time] have been [a cause] of the different art tendencies, and of course immigration is part of it.

HP: That may be the smartest answer in Artist of the Week's short history. We’re not even entirely sure we understood it. Kudos. What should people know about you? Why should they listen to you?

N: People should know that I love what I do and I do it for them as part of their voice. I write and compose for them, and talk about the daily life and how to stand up for yourself, how to succeed, and how to love deeply but not allow anyone to hurt you.

HP: Cool. Last thing, and this has nothing to do with anything, but we’ve got a bit of a fascination with Houston’s most rugged and intimidating rapper ever, Z-Ro. You can solidify yourself as our favorite Latin-pop fusion artist of all time if you can name any two songs he raps.

N: Why Z-Ro?... okay, “Why,” “I Hate You” and “Hard Times.”

HP: Holy shit.

Catch Niho every Thursday from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. at Robusto’s Cigar Lounge, 20940 Katy Freeway, Suite 1, and 4 p.m. Sunday, August 10 at the Pupusaton Festival in Hermann Square in front of City Hall. Her album, D’ Rosas…?, is available on her Web site, www.nihomusic.com.

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