From driving a garbage truck to the Latin GRAMMY’s
a story of hardship, dreams, and perseverance
It hasn’t been easy for Ray Machado, founder and lead singer of the musical group Maxima Alerta. After reaching notoriety with his group in Cuba, he found himself censored and blocked from working by the communist Cuban government. He then sought asylum in the United States to find freedom and opportunity. But life has not been easy.
Upon arrival in the US, Machado lived in Jersey City, NJ in a basement apartment with his Dad and his family, and worked as a super in a building while at the same time working in a factory. In late 2015 he moved to West New York, NJ; but just a few months later his Dad passed away. Luckily, Ray finds a job as a garbage truck driver and laborer picking up garbage in the City of Union City, NJ. Grateful to have a job and able support his wife and two daughters, he continued to dream about one day doing what he loved most… music. Like many Cubans before him, he came seeking freedom and a better life for himself and his family, even if that meant never being able to do what he loved most. His luck improved when he was notified that his first song recorded in the United States, and recorded through much personal sacrifice, “Vive la Vida” made it to the Latin GRAMMY’s - 1st Round of voting in the category of Urban Fusion. Here's Ray's heartwrenching story... a story of hardship, dreams, and perseverance.
Ray Machado Gómez (director of Maxima Alerta) was born in the city of Santa Clara, Villa Clara, Cuba, where he studied and graduated in 1997 as Audio Engineer from the Instituto Cubano de Radio y Television in Havana, Cuba. He worked as sound engineer on concerts featuring Cuba’s most distinguished musical artists including Cándido Fabre, Paulo FG, and El Chispa y sus Cómplices. In June 20, 1999 in Santa Clara, he formed his musical group, Maxima Alerta. Ray was the lead singer, musical director, and composer for most of the songs of the group.
Maxima Alerta was one of Cuba’s best known and loved fusion bands. The group moved to the US and it is now based in Hudson County, NJ. It is known for its fusion of Cuban Music and other genres forming a fresh hip sound. From son cubano to conga, from cumbia to merengue, from rap to ballads… all with a fresh modern sound taunting audiences on their feet to dance and have a good time.
While in Cuba, the group became a local favorite, and for four years Ray worked hard to develop their unique sound and build a following. In 2003 Máxima Alerta exploded on the national scene, hitting radio and television stations with two songs, “Echar pa’ lante” and “Adegüello 1895” which very quickly became popular throughout the country. Thanks to these successes, in 2004 they delivered their new album “Llegaron los Alertas”, recorded at Abdala Studios owned by renowned singer/composer Silvio Rodriguez with the French company Lusafrica, and joining their catalog and sharing the stage with popular groups such as La Orquesta Aragón, Polo Montañez, Anacaona, Isaac Delgado, Osdalgia, among others.
In 2005 Máxima Alerta was nominated to Cubadisco as “Best Album Rap, Dance and Hip Hop” which garnered the group great popularity both nationally and internationally, as well as topping the charts. Later in 2009 the group returned to the top of the charts with the song "Ay Lola" ("La Figura") written by Machado and recorded with the multi-award winning and internationally renowned group Gente de Zona (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITDlIriuVzU).
Later in 2011, they released the CD “Alertas para Todos”, recorded and produced by Nando Pro in Havana, Cuba. This is an album containing fourteen tracks, of which six featured special guests: Yulien Oviedo (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCzfuPinxgI) and Dantes (Charanga Habanera); Alexander Delgado y Randy Marcos (Gente de Zona); Sisto Llorente "El Indio" (Orquesta Aragón); Los Cuatro; and Alain Daniel and Ramón Lavado (El Chacal) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPt_N0WeB0s). The CD also features a song dedicated to one of the greatest Cuban baseball players, Victor Mesa (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTBzAsTs29g).
After enjoying much success in Cuba, the Cuban government thought the lyrics of one of the group’s songs was not in line with the totalitarian communist regime, and blocked the band and Ray from performing. Ray was not willing to compromise and modify the song and decided it was time to leave Cuba and seek freedom in the United States. A country he always loved and dreamed of.
Once in the United States, Ray Machado reorganized the group with the help of Lucio Fernandez, whom he had met through his Dad. Fernandez had his own successful solo musical career, but the two quickly became friends. Later, Fernandez became the group’s lead singer and manager, and the group took form. Shortly after, the group recorded a new song. In October 2015, Maxima Alerta was reborn in the United States performing in two SOLD OUT concerts in New York City with renowned merengue singer Fernandito Villalona (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AjgxeALnQMQ). In 2016, Maxima Alert released its new song "Vive la Vida" with an accompanying music video: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9YEtBVjltIc
The group is proud to call Hudson County, New Jersey home, and they perform regularly at special concerts around the area (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iop3u9ozVL4).