“To be called a refugee is the opposite of an insult; it is a badge of strength, courage, and victory.”
Have you ever thought about the life of a refugee? Miserable, helpless, and hopeless are the words that depict a refugee’s feelings. Fleeing from the homeland and starting a life from scratch in another country is risky. People leave their land for a better quality of life and better opportunities; indeed, it’s a tough job. Their whole life revolves around acquiring the survival mechanism in a new country.
According to a World Health Organization (WHO) report, many refugees and migrants experience mental disorders, particularly anxiety and PTSD. The migration ratio was elevated; around 89.4 million in 2020 fled to different countries worldwide. So, what is the future of migrants? Do they live in a miserable state all their life? Unfortunately for many migrants, life brings nothing much to them. Still, an entity like Maria Elizabeth Del Rey has made a remarkable journey from a Cuban refugee to a Latin Grammy Nominee.
On 13 July 1959, Del Rey was born in Havana, Cuba. She was very young when her family left Cuba and settled in Florida. So, her entire childhood was spent in Miami Beach, Florida. This migration didn’t stop Del Rey from chasing her dreams. She graduated from Miami Beach Senior High. Del Rey attended the University of Miami School of Music, and the University of California, Los Angeles, where she studied business entertainment. Since childhood Del Rey was keenly inclined toward music, she used to play cello with the Miami Philharmonic and the Detroit Civic Orchestra, which eventually set the foundation of her immaculate career, comprised of 50 international award-winning music products, educational books, and videos in various languages in the global family academic market.
Del Rey began her momentous career in 1984 as a music producer in Los Angeles. She was liable for writing, producing, and performing on Spanish Language advertising campaigns for brands including Coca-Cola Worldwide, Target, Sears, Barbie, and theme parks, including Toon Town in Disney World, Plaza Sesamo in Monterrey, Mexico, and Disney on Ice shows.
After having a successful tenure, in 1998, Del Rey started her own independent label record company Mirey Music Group. She creates mixed-media, stop-motion fabric art films and socially conscious music for children from toddlers to teens. Besides many other notable songs, she released Lullabies of Latin America. The song became a massive hit, winning a Parents Choice Gold Award and Latin Grammy Award Nomination in 2000. Not only Lullabies of Latin America but her other songs, including Universe of Song, and The Peanut Man, won more Parent’s Choice Awards.
The continuous success of her label drew everyone’s attention toward Del Rey. The sales success of Del Rey’s indie label MMG crafted music for Little People in 1998 to distribute her work. Soon, Kid Rhino and Time Warner Inc spread her label’s music in thousands of stores nationwide, including Virgin Mega Stores and Barnes and Noble.
Coming from a refugee family Del Rey has always been eager to help children through her art. From 1997 to 2012, Del Rey traveled the US with her original production of The Bridge El Puente (BEP), a musical multimedia journey through Latin America. This musical journey focused on helping children experience a prosperous and empowered view of Latin America at national performing arts venues; Del Rey headlined 500-2000 seat venues, and the tour reached over 67,500 children.
If we look around, the focal point of parents’ life is children. They can go to great lengths to provide and protect their children. But sometimes parents need guidance to nurture their children to make them better human beings and an asset to society. For this purpose, Del Rey founded ChildGood Magazine in 2012. This journal was for creative families. She published 14 issues over four years on Apple Newsstand (currently Newsstand software) until Apple Newsstand closed in June 2016 and pivoted to News.
Many prestigious organizations and media platforms awarded Del Rey to honor her talent and diligence. Latin Grammy-nominated her for producing Lullabies of Latin America. She won Gold, Silver, and Honorable Awards from Parents’ Choice on four occasions, the Carnegie Centennial-New York Public Library Grant Award, and a Gold Award from National Parenting Publications for her various pieces of work throughout her career. Del Rey attended the Women’s Millennial Peace Conference United Nations Geneva, Switzerland Delegate Performer representing the Children of the Americas.
Conclusively, from a Cuban refugee to a Grammy Nominee, Maria Elizabeth Del Rey completed a full circle of success. She is an extraordinary recording artist, music producer, and entrepreneur with her incessant efforts and skills in creating soulful and dynamic music for kids. Del Rey has produced and performed several Fortune 100 advertising campaigns for the international bilingual market. She was the first woman producer to be nominated in the children’s album category at the first Annual Latin Grammy Award in 2000 for the best Children’s recording in America. Today Del Rey has acquired a distinguished position in the musical world, and many notable artists feel proud of by collaborating with her.