Guitarist hopes to make hometown proud

April 14, 2012 at midnight
Updated April 14, 2012 at 11:15 p.m.

Guitarist and singer Pablo Trujillo rehearses outside his home in Victoria. He solos to his own rhythms by using digital audio loops that he triggers with a foot pedal.

Guitarist and singer Pablo Trujillo rehearses outside his home in Victoria. He solos to his own rhythms by using digital audio loops that he triggers with a foot pedal.   Todd Krainin for The Victoria Advocate

Printed in an alumni newsletter from the renowned Berklee College of Music was a mistake that could very well be a premonition: Pablo Trujillo's name.

Victoria native Trujillo, 22, was listed among alumni who recently attended a Berklee barbecue at South by Southwest, only he's not a graduate of the Boston school - yet, at least.

"What I'm trying to do going into Berklee, is I want to make my hometown proud," Trujillo said. "There's that Nolan Ryan sign that sits outside of Refugio. I want to be that guy. I want to do that."

The Berklee College of Music has hosted plenty of hometown heroes, like Diana Krall, Steve Vai and Natalie Maines, of the Dixie Chicks. Just this past year, Berklee alumni nabbed 13 Grammy Awards, including Esperanza Spalding, who won in the best new artist category.

Two days after an impromptu audition spurred by the people he met at the SXSW barbecue, Trujillo was accepted into Berklee's summer program.

It's a feat he attributes to the direction he received from music teachers at Memorial High School - David Edge, Robert Rodriguez, Adam Ardner - and Jona Anderson at Victoria College.

"Those four instructors here have done so much for me as a musician. To this day, I still hear their voices in my head saying, 'Don't rush, be on time, make sure you go to rehearsal knowing your stuff,'" Trujillo said.

A skilled guitarist with a voice that makes the ladies swoon, Trujillo evokes sensations of John Mayer with a South Texas twist - and charm.

Having picked up his first bare bones guitar in middle school, Trujillo took what was a typical boy's dream and made it his single, overlying purpose.

His teachers said Trujillo spent hours not just strumming strings, but immersing himself in the theory of music, in learning to read music and in picking up different instruments to make himself more versatile.

"He kept a lot of the other ones going. He's kind of this bright light and always in good spirits, always joking, but he got down to business," said Rodriguez, who heads VISD's Mariachi Band. "He's a good musician - an excellent, excellent musician."

The hours Trujillo spent after school with his instructors paid off right after graduation. He auditioned for Berklee then, too, and was accepted.

But prestige has a price, and Trujillo found he wouldn't be able to swing the expensive tuition and secure a place to live in Boston. He was devastated, discouraged ever since. This time, he's asking for help.

"I gave up once, and at this point in my life, there's nothing I feel more obligated to do," he said.

Trujillo has paid his deposit to keep his spot reserved at Berklee, but needs to come up with the $12,350 tuition money by May 15. He's open to giving lessons, playing shows, serenading - whatever it takes and for whatever price to save up money, with the help of his job.

"I want to show Victoria what I can do, and show them why I feel that investing in my future and talent as a musician would be worthwhile," he said. "I would love to one day come back here, put on clinics and send other people down the path to doing something they love."



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