Upclose With Kim Kuzma at The Palm Cabaret

By Debbie White

One of Vallarta’s dearest, funniest and most loved divas of song has returned this season to The Palm Cabaret! Yes, I’m referring to Puerto Vallarta’s beloved songstress, Kim Kuzma!
Back for her 10th season of performing in Vallarta, Kim Kuzma is excited to be back where things began for her 10 years ago. “It’s like going home,” comments Kim. She enjoys her friendship and camaraderie with the entertainers and staff at The Palm and the support and encouragement that they offer each other. “We’re all in the same boat, trying to put on the best shows possible. We promote one another, elevate one another – it’s really a positive experience!”

Kim and her band started their Acústico show at The Palm five years ago and since that time it’s become one of Puerto Vallarta’s top shows and ‘hottest tickets.’
So what are the ingredients that make Acústico fresh, exciting and popular each new entertainment season? To start with, Kim always manages to come up with dramatic, new song ideas combined with truly unique mashups that keep people raving about the show and coming back for more. She blends new and familiar songs with Spanish favorites, from Rihanna to Michel Legrand and a little Enrique Iglesias with each and every performance. Respected by musicians, critics and fans alike, Kim brings sass, high energy, wit and amazing vocal ability to the stage each new season.
With songs like, “Windmills of Your Mind,” “This is My Life,” “Hoy Tengo Ganas de Ti”, “California Dreaming”, “Bamboleo,” “Sweet Dreams” and “If You Love Me,” Kim and the band lead their audience on a glorious musical journey that won’t soon be forgotten.

Another reason for Acústico’s enduring popularity is the team of extremely talented musicians who hail from all parts of Mexico. Joining Kim this season are Eduardo Leon on guitar, Fernando Gonzalez on rhythm guitar, Roberto Falcon on bass, Jeronimo Guido Martinez on drums and Bob Tansen on flute. Kim continues to bring special guest musicians to the stage who add excitement and variety to the performances. Kim and the band perform their Acústico show every Sunday and Wednesday night at 7 pm.

Much of the music in this year’s show is from their outstanding new CD, Acústico II, that has been highly praised by fans and critics, alike. When asked about the ‘creative process’ involved in making the CD, Kim says,” Well, it definitely was a labour of love. I find the whole recording process somewhat tedious…Hard to keep my attention span focused on one song for 8+ hours a day. But I did it for I’m very hands on, much to the chagrin of my producer! Carlos Santana produced the CD here in Vallarta and actually appreciated my hands on approach. I know the different nuances of my voice enabling me to hear what might be missing and what could be added during the editing process. Creatively, myself and the guys look at the songs that move people the most and then I add my favorites as well. We added new musicians on this CD, like ‘Pollo’ Adaleny on percussion who is an absolute master Cuban percussionist/drummer, Presiliano on trumpet and David Esqueda on piano for “If You Love Me,” which is so elegant with only Eduardo and him instrumentally.”

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When asked about the close bond that she and band share, Kim explains, “First off, it’s based on our love of music. Plain and simple. I’ve stated this before onstage and off – This band made me love music again… Allowing me to creatively ‘mash’ songs together with live instruments, is in my eyes, a gift from these musicians. It’s a very creative thought process and the fact that they trust me to try it and make it work is a blessing for me. Believe me, there’s been some moments of stress but in all honestly, pretty much little drama, much less than I’ve ever dealt with in the past. I think that has to do with healthy egos from the guys and mutual respect for one another. They are my ‘brothers from other mothers’!”

Kim Kuzma is very postive about her return to The Palm and is enjoying the amazing season that she and the band are having there. With strong ticket sales and great reviews from folks along with stellar reviews on Tripadvisor, things are going well for their Acústico show. Kim explains, “It has been great – I’ve enjoyed being back in the Olas Altas area, returning to The Palm Cabaret – nothing against anywhere else – I simply started at The Palm and found my world was getting smaller here, not walking down Olas Altas as much as I used to. And I’ve seen the change in the faces in the audience by doing so, along with the incredible locals/friends that have supported us all along. This season we are also performing at Luna Lounge in Bucerias once a month and we just had a wonderful turnout at our show in Ajijic, Jalisco just this past week. One key thing I want people to know is that we rehearse extensively… We do so in order to learn new songs, create new song ideas to keep it fresh for people so they don’t think ‘once is enough,’ that we never change the show. We continue to add songs to our repertoire and love performing new material for audience members. We’ve had some people come time and time again each season, bringing friends that are in town, mentioning to me that it’s a ‘no brainer’ for them to do so. They know their friends are going to enjoy the show and they themselves hear the new material we’ve added, keeping it fresh along with some favorites!”

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Kim is also adding a new solo show with Jean-Guy Comeau accompanying her on the piano at The Palm starting Saturday, Feb 27th at 9pm. This show will feature songs by Annie Lennox of the renown band Eurythmics. She’s’ really excited to try something different, something that people in PV have yet to see her do. Kim’s show schedule and tickets for her PV performances can be found at The Palm’s website http://thepalmpv.com/.

When asked about what draws her and other performers to Vallarta year after year, Kim comments, “I’m pretty sure straight across the board if you asked all the visiting musicians the same question… WEATHER! Lol! All in all though, PV has truly grown up in the entertainment sense. People are now used to the fact that yes, one must pay to see top notch, professional entertainment, including locals or guest artists that travel and performs elsewhere. This is our living for many for us and we take it seriously. And audience members are realizing that you get what you pay for and I am so proud of what PV has become in the past 10 years that I’ve witnessed… More and more known for the incredible entertainment you can see, all within blocks of one another instead of driving all over a huge city to do so. How fortunate are we all? Also, with online tickets now available while perusing The Palm Cabaret’s or Act II Entertainments’s website via vallartatickets.com, people can plan their entire vacation and pre purchase/ plan what they want to see prior to even arriving. We’ve come a long way! How cool is that?”

As Kim looks to the future, her main career goal is to continue to love music first and foremost. She would love to do more musically with her band. “It would be wonderful to take this show to Canada or the States. That would take grant money or other funding to perform in other areas of Mexico or internationally for that matter. When I no longer enjoy singing/ performing, it’s time to look at something else.” Let’s hope that Kim and the band continue to love what they do and give us their gift of music and peforming for many years to come! Thanks for the music, Kim!