After a lifetime of playing guitar, he discovered his singing voice – and has since performed for President Obama!
VoiceCouncil Singing Competition Summer 2015 winner Jose Garcia came to America from Mexico at age 21. As a self-taught guitarist, he was met with many musical opportunities in a variety of genres, including Heavy Metal, Rumba Flamenca and now Crooning. Jose only discovered his singing voice at the age of 32; he has since performed for President Obama.
We asked Jose a few questions to learn more about his remarkable musical journey.
One influential singer, and what it is that makes them stand out to you?
Sting. His voice fits into so many genres, is instantly recognizable and his song writing is sublime as well.
Biggest challenge to breaking out and sharing your music with new people?
It is quite costly to put together a well-rehearsed band and travel (internationally).
Something that’s worked for you in reaching a larger audience?
YouTube has been great at reaching audiences across the world. Facebook is a great tool too.
A performance FAIL?
I didn’t check my gear once and my mic stand collapsed because it was missing a bolt. Embarrassing!
A performance SUCCESS – and why?
One of my first times crooning was in front of 500 retirees in Palm Desert. Several made the point to say I sounded like the real thing, meant a lot to hear that.
Favorite Vocal Gear and why?
My trusty Neumann KMS 104, sounds so big. The VoiceTone Harmony-G XT is VERY useful when I sing Gypsy Kings repertoire. It mimics the GK’s harmonies and people really dig it.
A musical lesson you’ve learned the hard way?
I am not a session guitar player. I wasted a lot of time in the studio.
A vocal-singing lesson you’ve learned the hard way?
Don’t book a vocal session in the morning!
A few ingredients of a memorable vocal performance?
Absorbing the lyrics, almost like getting into character. When you sing them they will come to life. Find your connection to your audience, at times it takes a little longer but it’s always there.
Most important lesson you have learned about social media?
It’s very useful. I follow the examples of my fellow musicians who have a better grasp than I do but I still need much help with it.
Most important lesson you have learned about vocal health?
WARM UP! Know your limits and hydrate long before your show.
You’ve sung for President Obama – tell us about that!
In 2011 I had the opportunity to perform at an intimate fund-raising dinner in Beverly Hills. I performed as part of a trio (guitar, bass and percussion) to provide ambient music during cocktails and then relocated to the dinner area to play during their meal – with around 60 guests, including President Obama!
A question you wished we asked you – and your answer?
“Who is your greatest influence?”; My father, Candido Garcia, was a great influence to me. He was popular in the 1930’s and 40’s in Mexico. He also played for the Mexican president in 1945. He could light up a room with his singing and his guitar.
What is an area of your singing work/career that is a little (or a lot) unique or different?
As a singer I have learned to be diverse. I sing in Spanish, English and Portuguese. Wanting bigger and better jobs forced me out of my comfort zone and perhaps that’s why I embraced the challenge of singing in different languages and genres. Most of my work is very fun because the styles I specialize in are fun to perform and listen to as well. The motivation to learn new material hasn’t left me as I have developed a real love for crooning and can’t wait to do it. Perhaps that’s the reason I love performing for folks from that era. Performing my original material is a bigger challenge but I am equally motivated to achieve my goals with it. As with everything else in my life the opportunities are there you just need to seek them out.
Jose Garcia is the winner of VoiceCouncil’s Singing Competition (Summer 2015). You can see his winning entry here.
Jose Garcia was born in Tecate, Mexico, a self-taught guitarist, and came to America in 1988. Being broke, he was able to find a stable job at CSUN which enabled him to pursue music on the side. He now works steadily doing public and private events mainly around Los Angeles.