Music was destined to be a part of Santiago Alberto’s life. Born within a family where careers in music were deeply ingrained and developed, he was lucky enough to have one of the most influential and important musicians as mentor a guide: Juan Gabriel.
His parents, met Juan Gabriel in the 1980’s in New Mexico, and a long lasting friendship was born. Santiago Alberto’s father was trusted by Juan Gabriel when it came to helping him with tasks such as running his ranch in Santa Fe. Santiago Alberto considered the place to be a second home, where he spent a large part of his childhood along with his parents and his ‘Uncle Alberto’ the way in which he referred to Juan Gabriel. That is where the Alberto in Santiago Alberto comes from, given that Juan Gabriel’s actual name was Alberto Aguilera.
‘El Divo de Juarez,’ as many know Juan Gabriel, was actually one of the first people to visit Santiago Alberto at the hospital on the day he was born in Española, New Mexico on the 5th of January; a date that meant a lot to Juan Gabriel, since it was just two days before his own birthday, which is on January 7th.
Santiago Alberto grew up surrounded by music and instruments, in an industry that both his ‘uncle’ and parents were heavily involved in. Throughout that phase of his life, he began discovering his own talents and sounds. As a child he loved to play drums, the guitar, and he enjoyed singing. When he turned 7, he recorded his first song, which was played on the radio. In school, his musical talent became evident as professors began to take notice, and they would help him develop his performances.
In order to continue his studies led by his interest in music, Santiago joined a mariachi and thanks to that decision he received further opportunities for performances, one which was to join one of the most important mariachi festivals in the United States. When Santiago Alberto auditioned, he was selected as a finalist and that gave him the chance to study and learn from some of his idols, including Chuy Hernandez, his brother Jose Hernandez, both who also worked beside Juan Gabriel in producing his album “Todo,” as well as other projects.
Being in a mariachi gave Santiago Alberto the platform to grow as a musician and expand his knowledge in regards to personal talents, such as singing. These discoveries gave him the confidence and the opportunities to further develop his career, while performing and playing in concerts for artists in the likes of such as Ana Gabriel, Paquita la del Barrio, Ana Barbara and Yolanda del Rio.
While teaching mariachi classes in schools around Los Angeles, Santiago Alberto continued to develop his craft as a professional mariachi and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in music. Around that same time, he began to develop a personal project that he had been thinking about for a while: his first album, which he had already began working on with the guidance of Juan Gabriel, who firmly believed in Santiago’s talent and work ethic, motivating him to release the album. Juan Gabriel picked the songs, served as a guide and gave him all his recommendations on how to record the songs to make the tunes sound catchier. With this knowledge, Santiago Alberto focused solely on developing his album, fully producing all sounds and rhythms throughout the tracks.
Keeping in mind that Juan Gabriel would be performing in los Angeles, Santiago Alberto made sure to meet with his uncle and have him listen to the first demo of the album, which they worked on together. Santiago recalls the day of the concert as one of the best performances he has ever seen by Juan Gabriel...almost as if he were giving him one last music lesson. He also never imagined that that evening would be the last time he would see his uncle, as shortly after Juan Gabriel passed away.
After the passing of his mentor, Santiago Alberto promised himself he would do everything in his power to finish his first album and today we have the pleasure of finally listening to it. “Con Amor” (With Love) is composed of two original songs written by Santiago Alberto and a collection of covers with a modern mariachi twist. Other songs mix contemporary rhythms with the mariachi, which brings homage to Juan Gabriel and to all the great Latin American artists before our time. All musical scripts and touches were finalized by Santiago, including “Amor de Estudiante” (A student’s love), which is the first official single released from this album, and it’s a ‘ranchera’ version of the 1970’s hit written by Mexican Singer Roberto Jordan.
With this collection of songs, Santiago Alberto enters the music industry with a solid base and knowledge as he begins to accomplish what he was destined to become in the music industry.
A few months ago, Santiago performed at the Santa Fe Opera Theater in Santa Fe, New Mexico at a sold out concert with more than two thousand people that sang along with him and honored him with a couple of standing ovations during his amazing performance.
Recently, he celebrated Thanksgiving performing at a concert offered by Radio Latina in San Diego, California where he was one of the special guests next to Spanish artist, Natalia Jimenez, who also performed at the event.
Currently, he is also a mariachi music professor at a school in Los Angeles, the city in which he resides and continues to develop his career within the same genre.