Lead singer and SLP founder Lisset Diaz (center) with bassist Alejandro Gonzalez (bottom left), lead guitarist and co-founder Miguel Comas (top left), keyboardist Wilfredo Gatell (top right), and drummer Angel Luis Millet (bottom right). Photo courtesy of Sweet Lizzy Project
So I have been following #sweetlizzyproject on TikTok for quite awhile now and I can honestly say I love this band.
Cuban indie pop-rock group Sweet Lizzy Project has always done things their own way. While the first step for most bands would be to agree on a name, SLP–as the group prefers to be called–worked backwards, designing their logo without yet knowing exactly what they would call themselves. Founders Lisset Diaz, the lead singer for the group, and Miguel Comas, the lead guitarist, already had an idea of what the “L” and “P” would stand for: “Lizzy” for Lisset’s childhood nickname, and “Project” because the band was a work in progress. All they were missing, then, was the “S”.
“Yo no sé, yo no soy sweet,” Lisset laughs as she tells me the group’s origin story over Zoom. “Or I’m, I don’t know…I’m not so particularly sweet that the band should be called ‘Sweet Lizzy Project.’ But we’re too far along in our career to change the name now!”
The band has enjoyed the increased creative freedom and access to resources that they have here in the U.S., and have even continued to play despite COVID-19.
While she may not be sweet–though her sunny disposition would suggest otherwise–Lisset and bandmates Miguel, Alejandro Gonzalez, Wilfredo Gatell, and Angel Luis Millet are all wicked talented. A biochemist by training with a love for singing and songwriting in English, Lisset never thought she would make a career out of music. “I thought I would save my songs for my grandkids,” she shares. “Iba ser la cool grandma de las canciones.” But that changed when she met Comas, a guitarist and music producer, and showed him her songs.
The two decided to produce a record together, aptly titled The Beginning, which was nominated for two Cubadisco awards in 2013.
Seeing how positively their music was being received, Diaz and Comas decided to form a full-fledged band. In 2015, the group took home a Cubadisco award for their first album, Heaven, and watched their popularity grow steadily from there. However, SLP’s real breakthrough was the release of “Turn Up the Radio,” a country-fied English-language version of Descemer Bueno’s “Súbeme la Radio” (originally sung by Enrique Igelsais) that had the whole island spellbound.
In 2017 the band was selected to participate in the PBS documentary Havana Time Machine, which detailed the musical journey of Raul Malo, lead singer of The Mavericks, through Cuba. Recognizing their talent, Malo offered SLP a recording contract in Nashville, where the band has been based for the past four years.
Lisset Diaz, Co-Founder, Sweet Lizzy Project