Up-and-comer Sammy Arriaga is forging a new path in country music. For starters, the Miami native is a Cuban country singer. Also, he doesn't live in Music City -- Arriaga calls Los Angeles, Calif., his home. And finally, Arriaga's foray into country music was more of a strategic career move than anything else.

Fans may remember Arriaga from Season 10 of American Idol, during which he received a ticket to Hollywood. He battled it out as a country singer, and according to the Miami New Times, he chose that genre for its successful track record.

“My dad suggested that I do country, since it’s the genre that has done the best on those live shows," Arriaga recalls. The artist learned guitar at 14, so he began studying country music and writing his own lyrics.

“I feel like anybody who works a day job, or has a family, or loves somebody, or has broken up can relate to country music," Arriaga adds. "I love how relatable it is.”

Though he didn't make it to the Top 24, Arriaga wanted to pursue his music dreams, so he became a Nashville resident in 2011, trading Miami's ubiquitous Art Deco buildings, white sand and party boats for Music City. He signed with Latium Entertainment in 2016, releasing the acoustic mixtape Banjos 'N Bongos in May of the same year, and in 2017, he dropped a new EP, Meet in the MiddleHe's now living in Los Angeles, but still committed as ever to country music.

Arriaga's Latin roots infiltrate his music, but he sticks to the traditional country format of great storytelling. He shares with CountryCommon, “I consider my sound to be a fusion of Latin rhythms marrying traditional country instruments, with lyrics that people from big cities and small towns from all over can relate to.”

For more information on Arriaga, click through the photo gallery above.

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