Born in New Jersey to Cuban immigrants, but grew up in Venezuela, Nil Lara mastered the cuatro (4 string Venezuelan instrument) at age 8. He then progressed to the guitar. By his teens, his family moved to Miami. While at University of Miami, he rediscovered his Cuban roots of the Wayuu music, which is their version of country and blues. This inspired him to pick up the tres, a six-string guitar with a unique sound. He has toured with Lenny Kravitz, Blues Traveler, Natalie Merchant, and others.