Growing up in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, as the daughter of Equatorial Guinea immigrants, Concha Buika had a hard time understanding the world around her.
"It was really strange to go in a supermarket and you were the only black girl, and in your classroom, in the school, everywhere," she recalls. "You were constantly feeling that someone was watching you, 24/7. It wasn't easy."
Today, as an internationally touring, Latin Grammy Award-winning singer, Buika says she can make any place feel like home, as long as it has good food and good people. She moved to Miami about five years ago, looking for a strategic location from which to depart for her tours.
All that confidence didn't come to easy to Buika, who will perform Oct. 23 at the Flamingo Theater Bar in Miami.
As a child, Buika struggled with her identity. Relatives visiting from Equatorial Guinea would say she wasn't a true Guinean because she was born in Spain. In Spain, people often told her she was African, and not Spanish.
"So I was constantly feeling that I missed something in me, that I wasn't a complete person," she says. "That I didn't have identity."
That all started to change when she sang in public for the first time, and watched a crowd applaud her performance.
"When I was a little girl, I didn't know how to do anything," she says. "I was skipping school every day. I didn't know how to study. I was a completely useless person. My family, my friends, everybody was thinking I got no future. The first time I heard people applauding me, I felt in my interior that the people around me were lying to me. And then, I thought, 'Maybe I'm not that useless.' "
Since then, Buika has released seven solo albums of flamenco fusion, combining the Spanish rhythm with other styles, such as jazz, pop and soul. Musical experimentation comes naturally to Buika, who says her mother encouraged her children to listen to music at home while she was away at work.
"At that time, in the '80s in Mallorca, the streets were dangerous. There was a lot of drugs in the streets," she recalls. "So my mama was trying to keep us away because she had to work all day, so she made us listen to music, and it worked."
Buika sings in English and Spanish, sometimes within the same song. Her voice often transforms throughout a song, going from a raspy tone to a strong pitch.
On her 2015 album, "Vivir Sin Miedo," which means "Living Without Fear," she collaborated with Jason Mraz on the song "Carry Your Own Weight." For days, Buika and her producer struggled to finalize the song, until they partnered with Mraz.
"That song, we were days and days recording and listening to it, and it was like, 'Something is missing here," she says. "The thing that was missing was his voice, and we didn't know that. It was amazing when I heard him."
She currently lives with her teenage son, who's studying to become a music producer, and travels to Mallorca often to visit her mother.
"At the end of the day, you belong to the people who love you, and the places where you feel good," she says.
UPDATE: Buika’s previously scheduled show for Oct. 23 at the Fillmore Miami Beach has been moved to 8 p.m. Oct. 23 at the Flamingo Theater Bar, 801 Brickell Bay Drive, in Miami, according to her publicist. Admission costs $74 to $450. Call 786-803-8194 or go to FlamingoTheaterLLC.com.