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Friday, August 11, 2017

Boom Exclusive Interview: Sabrina Nieves of 'The Cover Girls'


(In case you missed it...
Here is a great recent chat with Sabrina Nieves of The Cover Girls.)

Isn't it interesting how some music just really stands the test of time? Being a DJ's kid I can rattle off songs and artists easily, My dad trained me well and a corner of my brain has 40 years worth of music neatly filed away, just in case I need it some day. Then there are those groups and artists that for whatever reason really stand out. The Cover Girls are a big one for me. I can't tell you exactly what it was that initially made me pay attention, but "Because Of You" was my song back in 1987. Mixed in with my hair bands there was a bit of freestyle music and these ladies topped the list. 


I can distinctly remember taping The Cover Girls off of Open House Party because they hadn't hit locally (yet) and even though I could have had my dad order their album I hedged on that because I had my rocker image to maintain. Any long suffering fan of freestyle music knows that The Cover Girls went through a line up change when Angel Sabater left as lead vocalist and was swiftly replaced by Evelyn Escalera. What many don't know is that her departure was completely anticipated, so much so that Escalera had already been trained and was simply waiting for that phone call to come naming her as the new lead voice of The Cover Girls.


What's interesting is the fact that Escalera has been performing with the group regularly for the last 25 years and still takes heat for daring to replace a singer who left on their own accord. She has been joined onstage for the last 12 years by Sabrina Nieves and Lorraine Munoz and let me tell you, these ladies really kill it. After catching a recent freestyle show in Westchester County, NY where The Cover Girls performed, I had the privilege of chatting with Nieves for a few minutes and I quickly realized that while my teenage self loved the originals, my grown up self is far more in tune with the class act that blew me away onstage a bit earlier.


While Nieves readily admits that there is often "noise" that surrounds them, she is completely humbled by the love that they do receive. The connection that these women actually share is pretty intense too. As it turns out, Nieves and Munoz actually go all the way back to 4th grade and they attended the same performing arts school together. In their earlier years Nieves focused on dance while Munoz was more into voice training. While they naturally hoped to one day work together, neither ever could have imagined that they would spend over a decade together performing with The Cover Girls. 

Cate Meighan: What is it like for you to still work with Evelyn and Lorraine after all of these years?

Sabrina Nieves:  It's actually pretty amazing. I really respect what Evelyn has done, she is THE longest running Cover Girl! I think that she also really respects Lorraine and I, what we bring to the stage as well. We all really love and respect the Cover Girls brand and want our performances to be the best that they can be. But behind the scenes we are all really just clowns (laughing). We have so much fun and nothing breaks the bond we share. Even if we are busy with our 9 to 5 jobs and don't talk for a bit, once we finally do get together it's always all good. 


C.M.:  Is there any new music on the horizon for Cover Girls fans?

S.N.:  It's funny because we have written and we have recorded some other things! We also realize that we only get so long on stage and people really want to hear the classics. They come to a freestyle show to hear the old songs and we really understand that. As long as we can get out there and keep performing them then that's what we're going to do. There is a real sense of peace with where we are at now. It's good, really good.

C.M.: What is it like to perform the same songs for so many years?

S.N.:  I love it! I'm a boss and a mother in my daily life so this is what gives me a chance to play dress up! There is a moment at the start of every show when Evelyn, Lorraine and I are just standing there. When the music hits and the lights go on- that feels like it's my moment. It's funny because I also instantly look for a heckler. If I find him then I will work extra hard to try and change his mind about us (laughing). I also really love when the crowd sings along with us. "Show Me" is my favorite song to perform and it's always last. It feels like a lot of people came just to hear that and to hear them singing the words with us is just the most amazing feeling!


C.M.: What would you like to say to the fans that come out to support The Cover Girls?

S.N.:  Oh my gosh, the Cover Girls fandom is diehard! There are those people that really do follow us from show to show, so much so that I kind of look for them (laughing)! We are so very grateful for all that the fans have done to support us. We love that they have introduced our music to their kids and now we have another generation of fans following us. That's honestly what helps to keep the Cover Girls alive, so thank you!


Talking to Nieves makes it extra easy to root for these ladies. The talent is obvious. Escalera's live rendition of "Wishing On A Star" kind of rips the roof off of any building, but the grown up Cover Girls are also role models. They juggle children, are businesswomen, have nursed broken hearts and whatever else life has thrown their way, all with a little grace and a whole lot of class. 


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