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Life & Work with Emerson Magaña

Today we’d like to introduce you to Emerson Magaña.

Emerson Magaña

Hi Emerson, We are so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
My interest in music began early under my father’s influence. I decided to enroll in the Institute of Fine Arts of the State of Colima, Mexico, which marked the beginning of my formal musical education—four years of dedication and perseverance led me to emerge as a Classical Guitar Master. This title would be the cornerstone of my musical career. From participating in cultural events to gracing the stages of jazz festivals, I constantly pushed the boundaries of my abilities. Along the way, I learned from esteemed musicians in various Master Classes whose guidance enriched my musical journey. Collaboration became the heartbeat of my artistic expression as I joined forces with national and international artists across many genres, whether performing with local groups in Colima or exploring the realms of jazz and blues with versatile ensembles. However, it was in the creation of my compositions that I truly found my voice as an artist. Songs like “Tequila Time,” “Que Lata,” and “Enfermo de Amor” served as vessels for my emotions and experiences, allowing me to share a piece of myself with the world through music.

As my career grew, so did the opportunities to showcase my talents in various venues and establishments. I moved from Colima to a beach town on the Pacific Coast called Barra de Navidad, where I have been playing music at the Grand Isla Navidad Resort for the past 10 years. I also have had the privilege of playing at prestigious resorts, private communities and hotels in the area. Since moving to St. Louis, my musical journey has taken on new dimensions, opening doors to fresh collaborations and exciting projects. Here, amidst the vibrant music scene, I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with diverse local musicians. I recently have had the opportunity to play at the Sheldon Ballroom, Kirkwood Performing Arts Center, BB’s Jazz, Blues and Soups, Joe’s Cafe, Focal Point, and other well-known establishments in connection with my various projects. However, one of the most fulfilling aspects of my time in St. Louis has been the opportunity to curate unique musical experiences alongside my wife, who has become an integral part of my team. Her marketing and event organization expertise has been invaluable in bringing my musical vision to life. Together, we produce concerts that blend my Latin style with some of St. Louis’ best musicians.

We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
One of the earliest hurdles I encountered was the rigorous training and discipline required to master the classical guitar. Hours of practice, relentless dedication, and the constant pursuit of perfection were necessary components of my journey through music school. Financial stability is another hurdle that I have faced along the way. Balancing the demands of my music career with the need to make ends meet requires careful planning and resourcefulness. There were times when gigs were scarce, especially during Covid, so I would focus on creating new music instead. Also, the constant pressure to innovate and evolve as an artist presents its challenges. In a constantly evolving industry, staying relevant and carving out a niche requires a willingness to embrace change and push the boundaries of creativity.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might need to become more familiar with what you do, what can you tell them about what you do?
I am a vocalist and classically trained guitarist from Colima, Mexico, and I am known for my versatility as a musician, navigating between different genres and Latin styles. I specialize in live performance and composition, drawing inspiration from various influences to create music. My goal is always to evoke emotion and leave a lasting impression on those who listen. From intimate solo performances to dynamic collaborations with fellow artists, I bring a unique blend of technical proficiency and emotional depth to every project I undertake. What sets me apart from others is my commitment to authenticity and originality. While I draw inspiration from various musical genres, my approach to music is deeply personal and rooted in my own experiences and emotions. Whether composing a heartfelt bolero, improvising a guitar solo, or covering a classic song, my music is always my unique voice and perspective. I am most proud of my connections with audiences and fellow musicians through my music. It is a privilege to share my passion with others and create moments of connection that resonate long after the performance has ended.

Do you have any advice for those looking to network or find a mentor?
I’ve immersed myself in the St. Louis music community by attending local concerts of diverse genres, which have helped me make meaningful connections. I’ve also found great value in seeking mentorship from a seasoned musician from Mexico, with whom I’ve been taking voice lessons during my time in St. Louis. Not only have these lessons helped me hone my craft, but they’ve also provided me with invaluable guidance and insights from someone from my country who has navigated the St. Louis music scene.


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Image Credits
Jake Wendel, Raul Medina, Terry Lewis

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