What Matters to Alexis Cuadrado

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Debbie Millman has an ongoing project at PRINT titled “What Matters.” This is an effort to understand the interior life of artists, designers, and creative thinkers. This facet of the project is a request of each invited respondent to answer ten identical questions and submit a nonprofessional photograph.

Alexis Cuadrado is a senior music producer at Made Music Studio and has spent over three decades composing, producing, and teaching music around the world.

What is the thing you like doing most in the world?

There is not one single thing, that is not who I am. I love my music, spending time with my family, chess, exercise, and my dog. If one of those things is missing, I do not feel complete.

What is the first memory you have of being creative?

I have very early memories where creativity played a role. I recall being in my crib, probably around two years old, and we had a toy record player called the “disc eater” attached to the crib that would play records, and you could swap them out for other songs. I also have a distinct memory of being in preschool and drawing a sun.

What is your biggest regret?

When I was younger, I was, at times, too self-conscious and cared too much about what others thought. I regret spending so much energy and thoughts on what other people did when I could only control my own thoughts and actions.

How have you gotten over heartbreak?

Time is the only way to get over heartbreak. Time and resignation that the heartbreak happened and to try and move on.

What makes you cry?

I am definitely a crier. Everything from Pixar movies, especially the beginning of Up and the end of Toy Story 3, to, of course, crying over death and losing loved ones. I also cry tears of joy when thinking about my twins.

How long does the pride and joy of accomplishing something last for you?

It’s quite brief! I try to stay in the moment, but I ultimately have an artistic and child-like desire to always look to what’s next creatively. That’s one of the reasons why my work at Made Music Studio is such a good fit for me. It is very fast-paced, and you need to juggle a lot of client accounts and responsibilities. I like to think of it as a sushi conveyor belt — always looking ahead to what might be coming up next. It allows me to be both a producer and a composer. I’m able to use my past experience as a musician and also guide the production process, similar to my time as a professor at the New School.

Do you believe in an afterlife, and if so, what does that look like to you?

I do believe in the afterlife but not necessarily in a spiritual way. I believe the people we have loved and lost are alive in our memories. I lost both of my parents two years ago and only three months apart from each other. To me, they are still very much alive in my mind and my dreams.

What do you hate most about yourself?

I don’t hate myself in any way. I work hard to correct or change the things that I may not like but I do not hate myself.

What do you love most about yourself?

I love that I am always trying to be better. I understand that perfection doesn’t exist, but I strive to always improve and be better and overall be a good person.

What is your absolute favorite meal?

I am a person with eclectic taste, especially when it comes to food. Being from Barcelona, I, of course, love and cook traditional Spanish cuisine, but here in Brooklyn, I can try something new every day. I love being surprised by food and the experience of trying new foods — whether a burrito with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos in it or a special molecular gastronomy meal.

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