Hispanic Heritage Month: Elio Piedra’s story

Elio Piedra is a musician and DJ in North Central Florida who immigrated to the U.S. from Cuba
Published: Sep. 15, 2020 at 5:57 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15-October 15 and recognizes the positive influences Hispanic-Americans have on the United States.

For this week’s Hispanic Heritage Month spotlight, we learned how one musician and DJ in Gainesville is bringing the fiesta to North Central Florida.

“Working day in and day out for my dreams and you know, still making it happen,” Musician and DJ Elio Piedra said.

Piedra came over to the United States from Cuba nearly nine years ago without knowing how to speak English.

“Hundreds and thousands of immigrants, they come to this country changing their dreams and their goals. It is very important to stay grateful,” he said.

He began his music career at nine years old at the School of Music in Cuba, later attending the Arts Conservatory Raul Sanchez and graduating at 18 years old.

“By the age of 16, I was already playing with well known bands in Cuba,” Piedra said.

You may have already recognized him by his signature look at events around Gainesville, with his shades and fedora.

“I always say people may not remember what I play but how I make them feel. For me it’s more important how you feel,” he said.

At events, Piedra has played anything from blues, jazz, salsa and country music. He also plays the piano, drums and percussion.

During Hispanic Heritage Month, Piedra said he wants to encourage people to talk to each other and ask questions.

“Different styles and different countries, and they are all beautiful and they are all fantastic and there is so much to learn from every single culture,”  he said.

We at TV20 are celebrating Hispanic culture this month by bringing you weekly stories of Hispanic-Americans who are working for their American Dream in North Central Florida.

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