10142016_05.mp3

Harold López-Nussa is 33 and when he was a kid, he really wanted to be a major league baseball player.

But his family steered him in another direction: toward jazz.

"I came from a musical family," he says. "My mother was a piano teacher, my father he's a drummer. My uncle, he's a jazz piano player in Cuba. So, I grew up into the music when I was born, until today."

For almost two years now, Cubans like López-Nussa have watched enormous changes take place in their country. Some call it the " Cuban Thaw."

The US and Cuba have restored diplomatic relations. Sanctions have eased. 

And for the younger generation, the future looks a lot brighter. That's the way it looks for López-Nussa. 

Not only is it easier to travel, but he's been signed by a record label in the US

He says, "The fact that I'm a Cuban musician who lives in Havana, Cuba, and released an album with an American label, well, maybe three years ago that wasn't possible. So, this is something that made me dream, not just for me, but for my colleagues in Cuba, musicians, artists in general. I think that we're living in a very special period for Cuban artists because we have the opportunity to come here and to get more exposure to our art."

López-Nussa is in the midst of a US tour. It's his second stint here since relations have opened.

He's living the life of a musician, on the road, with fewer government restrictions holding him back.  

"The thing that I like most is to meet new people. To try to get a new audience to our music. That's something very special for us. Have the opportunity to play each night for different people and make new friends from there, that's something very special. The fact that I am far away from my home, from my family, from my daughters and my wife, we'll that's something that I don't like. But it's a balance between us."

From PRI's The World ©2016 PRI