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At age seven Andy Vargas started performing with his father’s mariachi band Mariachi California De Javier Vargas. Having his Father as a role model and mentor he immediately transitioned into high gear.

Andy has taken nearly 20 world tours with his musical hero, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame guitarist and bandleader Carlos Santana. When not performing in packed arenas across the globe, Andy has worked on a range of projects with top names like Yanni, Slight Return, and Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas.

Despite his demanding performance schedule, Andy still finds time to continue crafting his own music and band Souleros – called the “New Sound of Brown-eyed Soul” – is a rich blend of traditional Latin ballads (Boleros), funk, soul and R&B. It’s also the name of Andy’s band, which includes many of the all-star musicians that Andy grew up with in the business.

But what does he have to say about his adventure in the music buisiness and what are his future plans? How does he feel about his exceptional collaborations and how does he recall his visit in Greece? 

Find his answers to all the above in the interview that follows! 

Hello Mr. Vargas and welcome to! What have you been up to lately?

Hello, thank you for your time. My year started off with so many great projects and opportunities. I have been working on my first album with my band Souleros. My first single “El Beat” comes out in Spanish on March 15, 2019 with the English version “The Beat” on March 29th. I have been spending most of my time these last few weeks working in studio completing my album which should be out by this coming August.

I have also been working with my team on expanding my music education programs through my foundation called the Andy Vargas Foundation. ( Last December I hosted my first benefit concert to raise funds for college scholarships for the students of my high school (where I Graduated -Watsonville High School). My father and I joined forces to hold a concert during the Christmas Holiday Season. It was such an amazing experience to return to the stage that gave me my first opportunity to perform live; and now I was back as a professional…as a role model for other youth to inspire them and help them achieve their dreams through college scholarships.

I have a vision with my Foundation, and that is to support and inspire underserved youth through music. I want to teach them crucial skills for breaking into the industry including song writing to publishing and other techniques should they decide to pursue a career in the music industry.

And lastly, Santana shows keep me quite busy. I just finished our first leg of our residency with Santana at the House of Blues Las Vegas. I’ll be preparing for the launch of the 20th Anniversary tour of Supernatural. I can’t wait!

Last October you released a genre blending version of the classic bolero ‘Sabor A Mi’ with Souleros! How did this cover occur?

This song is one of my all-time favorite songs. My writing and production partner Rodney Alejandro and I came up with a style of music which is a blend of “Boleros,” Soul music and R&B. Our band’s name “Souleros” came from the blend and style that is unique to our brand. Our version of “Sabor A Mi” is the result of the “Souleros style.”

Is this cover a part of a forthcoming album? What should we expect from you discographicaly? 

Yes, “Sabor a mi” is one of a few that will be on my album. I will be releasing 3 more singles in the next few months and other singles with an up-tempo but for sure others with a “Boleros” influence. It’s going to be a great album, I’m really excited to share it with the world!

You started performing with your father’s mariachi band Mariachi California De Javier Vargas. What are your feelings and memories from this period?

I can remember some of my first performances with my Dad and his mariachi. I can remember always feeling deep emotions to the music and songs. As well as looking at my Dad for reassurance. I also was a bit nervous before shows but once we got going, I’d have the best time ever. I was so excited to be able to share the stage with him again last December for our charity concert, “El Sueño…The Dream” Benefit Concert. It brought back so many great memories for me. My dad is an amazing singer and musician…he taught me so much and I am grateful to always have him supporting me.

Since 2000 you are the lead singer of Santana! How did this collaboration occur in the first place and what have you learned from your collaboration with Carlos so far?

Carlos was looking for a vocalist to support the new Supernatural record, he had heard some of my recordings and the opportunity came for me to audition for the band.

After a trial period I was asked to be a member of Santana and it was the greatest decision ever. I have experienced the world through music. I am living a life beyond my wildest dreams with Carlos and the band. Carlos has been an amazing mentor to me both in music and personally. He has pushed me, well he has pushed all of us in the band to reach greater limits with our talent.

I am very lucky to be living this great dream. I have learned so much from Carlos and other great musicians that I have had the privilege of sharing a stage with across the globe.

With Santana you worked on his latest EP “In Search of Mona Lisa” on the song “Do You Remember Me”. Please tell us a few things about this record!

I remember when Carlos brought this song to us in rehearsal. It was not long after it came to him in a dream. I sang the song along with him as the band was jamming to the music. We have been performing “Mona Lisa” ever since.

Andy Vargas on Stage with his fathers Mariachi in Dec 2018 for charity event

Andy Vargas with his fathers Maraichi at charity concert in Dec 2018 for Andy Vargas Foundation

Andy Vargas with his father Javier Vargas Dec 2018 with Souleros singing Sabor a Mi

Andy Vargas on Stage

Andy Singing on satge with Souleros at Vibratos in Bel Air, CA

Andy Vargas

Andy Vargas with Souleros

Andy Varags on stage with Souleros

Andy visiting drama students from Watsonville High School 2018

Andy Vargas with students from his music program at their program Graduation 2018

Andy Vargas visiting High School Students

Which of your collaborations so far holds a special place in your heart? Is there any other artist in the world that you would love to collaborate with in the future and why?

In 2004 I was featured on a record for Pattie LaBelle along with Sheila E, INDIA and Carlos Santana called “When You Smile” It is one of my favorite records I have collaborated with. I would love to collaborate with Marc Anthony and Luis Miguel in the near future. Marc and Luis are two of my favorite vocalists.

How easy is it to make a “hit song”, nowadays? What role do the record companies and the internet play in your opinion?

It’s harder today to create a hit song. I still believe a well written song that will stand the test of time and can be produced as you like. But in today’s market the trick is to get your music in front of as many people as possible and that is done in creative marketing like internet and social media promotion campaigns.

A decade ago (in 2009) you visited Greece while touring with Santana and you performed live in Athens! What do you recall/liked the most from your visit in our country?

I love everything about Greece. I love the food, the culture, history and the energy from the people at our show… Greece also has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. But one of the most amazing experiences I had with the Greek community is that I had the honor of collaborating and recording with Yanni “Y te Vas” on the album Yanni Voces in 2009. Yanni is an incredible singer and songwriter and having that opportunity to collaborate with him was definitely one of my most memorable experiences I have had in my career.

If you could give your younger self a piece of advice, what would that be and why?

To always follow your gut. Even when your mind is telling you different.

Where do you want to go from here, with your career?

I plan to continue performing with my mentor Carlos Santana… I’m going to continue to write and record my own music as well as gain recognition with my band Souleros.

What are your next professional plans?

I love to perform. I hope to perform with Santana and my band Souleros for as long as humanly possible. But when I’m not on stage, I want to continue building my foundation and mentoring underprivileged youth through music and the recording arts. My plan is to expand my Foundation to support youth throughout the United States.

Which quote inspires you the most? What’s your motto?

My favorite quote is.. “Change is inevitable, Growth is optional.”
My motto is “Live life one day at a time. My day is my eternity”

Mr. Vargas thank you so much for your time! We wish you all the best for the future! 

Thank you it’s been a pleasure talking with you..

Interview: Thodoris Kolliopoulos

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