Native to Caguas, PR, Fabiola Mendez began playing the Puerto Rican cuatro at the age of 6.
She was a student at the Hogar del Cuatro Puertorriqueño, the Humacao Musical Institute, the Antonio Paoli School of Music in Caguas, the Conservatorio de Artes del Caribe, and Berklee College of Music, where in 2018 she graduated as the first student to play the Puerto Rican cuatro as principal instrument.
Fabiola has participated in multiple recordings, including the Banco Popular Special Eco (2008), Fabiola Méndez and Herencia Criolla (2009), Ready for Departure (2014), Cuatro Sinfónico (2019), Al Otro Lado Del Charco (2019), and Afrorriqueña (2021), the last three being cataloged as part of the best 20 productions of 2019 and 2021 consecutively, according to the National Foundation for Popular Culture.
Fabiola has had the opportunity to perform on many different stages. She has worked with organizations such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Celebrity Series of Boston, Agora Cultural Architects, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Puerto Rican Arts Alliance in Chicago, Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, among others. She has collaborated with artists such as: Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra, Totó La Momposina, Pedro Capó, Victoria Sanabria, Cucco Peña, Decimanía de Puerto Rico, Eddie Palmieri, the Gran Combo de Puerto Rico, Rayos Gamma, Danny Rivera, Chicago Philharmonic, among many others.
In recent years, she’s had the honor of receiving recognition such as the Quincy Jones Award, ambassador for the Puerto Rican Day Parade in NYC, a motion from the PR House of Representatives as the first cuatro player to graduate from Berklee, one of WBUR's The ARTery 25 artists by Boston’s NPR news station in 2021, the Brother Thomas Fellowship, and the Whippoorwill Arts Fellowship.
Currently, Fabiola works as a cuatro player and singer-songwriter, presenting her original music projects inside and outside of Puerto Rico. Her artistic vision and original music focus on the exploration of her culture, her ancestry, and her identities. In addition, she works as a composer for children's animated series, including the PBS Kids shows Alma's Way and Work It Out Wombats, and HBO Max's Mecha Builders, produced by Sesame Street.