Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Saul Delgado "El Guitarro" - OnSong Featured Musician

Saul Delgado "El Guitarro"

Saúl Delgado "El Guitarro" was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he still resides.  Saúl has worked as a producer/composer/multi instrumentalist & arranger with several projects dabbling in multiple genres and styles (Rock, Pop, Electronica, Reggae, Jazz, Hip Hop, among others ...)  He has collaborated with international artists and currently works for Warner Music Latino as a guitarist for artist Sie7e (Latin Grammy 2011: Best New Artist Award recipient) and as a sideman for multiple other artists.  His musical career has taken him to many renowned events, newspapers, websites and TV shows around the world.  Currently, some of his compositions are in regular rotation on the popular music website Pandora Music Genome Project. Saul is also working on his debut solo album which is planned to be released on 2014. He proudly endorses Cusack Effects and Eventide Stompboxes.


"As a sideman on stage and in the studio I've been using charts, music stands, and lots of sheet music for years.  A friend of mine introduced me to OnSong as soon as I got my first iPad and I was blown away. I put all my sheet music on the iPad and clip it to my mic stand instead of dragging a music stand and a bulky folder. Since I play with a few Pop Artists I just need the chord charts as a guide in most gigs and that's when OnSong comes into play. Usually we rehearse the songs and when it comes the time to hit the stage I bring my iPad with the OnSong app and make sure I never miss a chord or a lyric! It's awesome, and very practical."

What kind of music are you playing right now? Listening to?

I'm playing a good variety of music. Mostly Pop/Rock on stage and in the studio but also working on my solo album (Instrumental) as well as recording for other artists in multiple genres. I listen to all sorts of music (from Classical to Jazz, Rock, Reggae, Electronica, Gypsy Jazz, Country, Metal, you name it). I think every genre has it's own beauty and always something to teach you as a musician.

Do you write your own music? If so, what inspires your writing?

Yes I do. I mostly write Pop tunes for my clients but also work on some Instrumental stuff for myself (Rock/R&B/Contemporary Jazz, that sort of thing). I get inspired by a couple of things: soundwise I like to mess around with a lot of effects pedals and amps until I come up with sounds or ideas that inspire me. Also I watch movies because the themes, characters and feelings presented in them usually get the creative juices flowing.

Are you a professional musician/artist or play for fun/non-profit?

I've been playing professionally for the past decade or so. I think that it's a blessing to be able to make a living doing what you love the most.

What does your typical day look like?

Well, when I'm home I wakeup around noon (lol, my internal clock is a little messed up... I go to bed around 5am everyday) have some breakfast and usually hit the shed for some guitar practicing or hit the studio to track some ideas or work on some client's project. At night, usually play a show in or out of town. Musicians = nocturnal creatures huh?

How do you bring music to life?

I don't force it. Usually grab my instrument (whether it is guitar, piano, bass or ukulele) and let it do the talking. Sometimes I just noodle around until I hit something I like and sometimes I come in with a specific idea, melody or groove. I always carry an audio recorder with me in case creativity strikes. Also most of the time I don't sit down and give birth to a whole musical piece, instead I record or write what I like to call "creative seeds" (which can be a riff or melody or groove) and just "plant them" there for an indefinite amount of time until I find some place to put them on a song or specific part of an arrangement. I never throw away those ideas because you might not like it today but tomorrow it's just what you needed to finish that piece!

What’s one trend in music that really excites you?

Well music is a business but what always has appealed to me the most is the artistic aspect of the musical expression. When I started playing an instrument I did it because I love music and nothing else. I didn't care about money or fame (and I still don't) or didn't even think of music as a way to make a living. To me, music is just a sublime expression that lifts me off this earth and lets me (hopefully) express feelings and ideas that I can't seem to explain with words. One of the trends that excite me is that even though music is a huge business and a lot of people profit from it, there are still artists, bands, composers that do it for the love of music period. Sure, music helps pay the bills but that love you feel for it cannot be replaced and certainly not by material things. As long as the music comes from the heart in an honest package it has my respect and admiration.

What instruments do you play?

I play the guitar, bass, piano, ukulele, and a little percussion.

What instrument is your favorite?

Guitar (although I'm a frustrated drummer lol)

As an musician/artist, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Keep learning and expanding your horizons. If you prefer a musical genre/artist or instrument that's completely normal but don't limit yourself to what you like or know. Lots of growing experiences will come once you step out of your "comfort zone". There is a lot to learn from other musicians, artists, genres, instruments, etc. Open your eyes (but specially your ears) to everything around you and try to absorb the most you can: books, albums, live performances, jam sessions with friends. Keep learning music!

What is one failure you had as a musician, and how did you overcome it?

Not necessarily a failure but kind of a "limitation"... I've always had big dreams when it comes to music and coming from a small Caribbean Island (Puerto Rico) most people live with that "island" mentality. At first I was told many times to let my "fantastic dreams" go and stick to a regular 8 to 5 job/life but I refused. I never dreamed for money and fame but to be able to make a living playing music. I had many jobs (mostly in order to pay for my music gear hehe) but I always come back to music. My persistence and focus was (and has always been) set on following my dreams no matter what people said and although I have accomplished some stuff I still have a LOT to learn and achieve. I am lucky enough to have a family that supports me and as a musician I believe you cannot "fail"; you will stumble a million times but the failure will only come if you quit following your dreams. Everything is possible and no dream is bigger than what you can accomplish if you set your mind, body, and soul to it.

What is some advice you’re willing to give to budding musician?

Open your eyes and ears. Learn all you can but also be selective of what you learn (not everything out there will be of good use to you but it can benefit you on knowing the do's and don'ts of the music industry). Don't look at other musicians as competition but rather as a musical brother who loves music as much as you do and try to jam with them, exchange ideas, trade licks, etc.  There is a lot to learn from other musicians, use those resources! Be professional but humble! Music is a networking career and you MUST leave a good impression with your musical, personal, and social skills.

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?

Give more importance to the arts, specially art education. In Puerto Rico the art education programs get shut down all the time because they are looked at as "entertainment"  ignoring how vital they are to the development of a person. I am also a music teacher myself and have been laid-off from my job because the Department won't fund the Music Programs anymore. It is sad. I still give out Private Lessons in an effort to keep the music education flowing but it bothers me how little importance society gives to art education and how they underestimate the job of an artist.

Tell us something about you that very few people know?

I still watch cartoons! Especially during breakfast. LOL!

What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?

  1. YouTube: wonderful tool! You can learn basically anything there! Unfortunately it also has a lot of misleading stuff so you've got to be careful.
  2. Pandora Music Genome Project: Excellent for discovering new music, exposing your own music or just chilling out to some random tunes. (c) Social Networks: a great way of promoting your music (especially independent artists!) and connecting with your fans.

What is the one book/blog/youtube channel that you recommend our community should follow and why?

I don't have a specific source but mostly I recommended reading/watching stuff that will help you become not only a better professional but a better person. Inspirational books/blogs/channels and other forums that teach you the value of being a good-balanced-educated-well mannered human being.

Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?

  1. Newspaper or News: If you're like me you barely have time to read the news or watch TV so the Twitter timeline at least keeps me updated on what's going on in the world.
  2. Your favorite artist/band/actor/etc because chances are that you are influenced by him and you can see what this person it up to or how he manages his social networks and interacts with his fans.
  3. Something of great interest to you: could be a social cause, music gear, etc Something that you will like to contribute to the subject and also get some info back.

When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?

I have a kind of sarcastic-dark humor so it probably was some joke off a TV show like Tosh.O, Family Guy or American Dad lol.

Who is your musical hero/influence?

I really like Joe Satriani. His musical style, his ability to "paint images" with music is just phenomenal but as a musician (don't matter how famous or unknown you are) you just have to be honest about your product and play from the heart and you will earn my respect/admiration.

If you weren't a musician what would you do for a living?

Probably a chef! I love cooking & coming up with stuff in the kitchen. Guess I just like the creative aspects of life hehe.

What is your favorite food?

Mexican food is probably one of the best but I also love Sushi & of course Spicy Latin Food ;)




San Juan, Puerto Rico

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