Born in Sylmar, Ca, December 29 1989, The San Fernando Valley Area, Los Angeles into a Family of immigrants from central and south america. He was always around all kinds of music in especially, world music and improvisation based. At age 12, Started to be involved in music as a career for the future and ever since then he has strived to be the best in what he does, play the flute in all aspects of music and be in the overall process as a musician; perform, compose, arrange, educate, produce, among other skills. He took the challenge of taking up flute and be able to revolutionize it overall. He started music as a classically trained musician and then expanded after that to different realms of music. Being immensely and widely diverse, His focus ever since starting jazz and improvisation has been to make the flute more widely respected and known. His main focus as an artist is to be a complete musician no matter what style or genre he may be set upon. He has been a part of several ensembles since starting his musical career being in Concert Bands, Honors Ensembles, Marching Bands, Chamber Ensembles, Wind Symphonies, Symphony Orchestras, Jazz Bands, Jazz Combos, Choirs, Contemporary/Fusion Bands, Church Ensembles, Latin and World Music Ensembles; Mariachi Bands, Folklore Ensembles, Salsa Bands, Latin Jazz Ensembles, Norteño/Banda Ensembles, Ensembles of all sizes as well as solo unaccompanied. He has a great love and passion for music so he plays it all in every context which is always a challenge and learning process. The basis of his experience, is to never stop learning and developing as an Artist, in which progressing and finding a way to go to deeper levels is fundamental in context and through his artcraft; Music. Read more here:
Lisa: What is the mission of Rafael Luna?
Rafael: To bring something new to the table as an artist. I hope to instill the thought of embracing tradition with innovation. I may be a performer, composer, arranger etc among many other things but at heart I am simply a human being. A human being that wants to educate and disseminate knowledge through love. My experience has led me to this point in my artistic career. I am passionate about my craft of which I demonstrate with love. Through that I am able to create a social sound environment which spreads. I’m always in the now, in process and in the future. I continue to grow a lot even through this Pandemic, I believe that there are good and bad viruses in the world, and mine is one that brings positivity. If my music and art can bring positivity to someone then i’ve met my goal. I would like to do this globally as I continue to escalate in my career, I feel like I am getting closer to where I want and need to be. My mission is to go through my journey knowing that I can bring who I am as a human being.
Lisa: How did you start playing?
Rafael: I actually started music at age 5, guitar was my first instrument. While I was playing guitar I also learned music theory and aural training. I was called a prodigy at the time throughout my experience with music at such a young age. Then at age 10 I stopped playing guitar and music. I was pretty serious about it even at a very young age. I explored other forms of art and became interested in technology. I wasn’t necessarily serious about music and art for a few years but it became more about the experience. It was a time for me to experiment and to find a way to unlock my potential as a human being. I didn’t think I would have a career in the arts because for a couple years or so I had planned to hold a career in robotic engineering. The idea of evolution and genetics really fascinated me at the time so much that I told myself that I would make it a reality to revolutionize genetic algorithms in robotics. At age 12 I remember my class would go to music and art sessions in between our educational curriculum. That brought me back to my origin of music. I was inspired through this social experience and I decided to take up the flute at the time. It didn’t take me long to learn and advance on the instrument. My mindset changed so much that I was deeply focused on music and the flute. It wasn’t until age 15 that I decided to make music a career but my thoughts and ideas were still with me one way or another. I knew that I could do all the things I proposed myself to do. I felt in control of who I was and what I wanted to be. To be extremely honest I knew that things would always change for me and I was prepared every step of the way. I thought I would pursue a performance degree and tour as a flutist. I knew that I was more than just that before I entered the education and college world. I stuck with my instrument but I expanded my
mind to do even more. To be capable of being prepared for any obstacle in the future and beyond. I wanted to revolutionize the arts through my craft and expertise. I learned and studied, and worked extremely hard to get to where I am up until now. I hope to continue expanding my knowledge and getting further in my career.
Lisa: How do you decide what tunes to record?
Rafael: I like to have a process when I record. It really depends on the structure of the logistics. Musically I like to have time with the tunes before recording because performing is one thing and recording is another. You want to capture the essence of both sides of the process in order to produce something that will be released. I value my process to record like Ink, once you start you can’t go back. Sure, you can always re record but what you do in the act of recording stays in that moment. You have to choose wisely how to record tunes. The time spent on each tune and what it needs to happen is crucial. I personally prepare myself mentally, physically, and spiritually in order to have a successful session. The program is important, the order of which each tune goes in the recording process. A lot of these things are either said or written beforehand but sometimes there is no exact process but to go into this as an experience.
Lisa: Who were your music mentors? And what did you learn from them? And are there composers that you especially like?
Rafael: I’ve had a long list of music mentors of which are noted on my website, but to name a few here as of recent have been Andrew Grueschow, Eyvind Kang, and Randy Gloss all of which are faculty at CalArts. I’ve learned from them that anything and everything is possible if you really focus on your process and direction. They have furthered my mental expansion as an artist and educator. I don’t have a particular composer that I like (I love so many from various styles and genres) but a few that I think of that have been influential in my career have been John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen, John Coltrane and Maurice Ravel.
Lisa: I love your tune “Wave” from your album “Vortex”, it has a strange vibe, in a good way 😊. What was the inspiration behind that tune?
Rafael: First of all, Thank you! I really appreciate your thoughts on your experience with this track. The inspiration behind it was for it to be conceptual art music. The idea of utilizing a track title to construct music and sound was an experiment. It was me trying to portray the perception of a wave through sound.
Lisa: Describe the musical frameworks your “Wave” album explores.
Rafael: This album was an experiment to construct and deconstruct the idea of electronic music through natural acoustics. The idea was very simple, create an album with just one instrument, flute is my instrument and I wanted to create something as a soloist and producer. The music was inspired by the conceptualized track titles. Depending on the track title was how the music was conceived. I consider this to be my first solo artist album but it surpasses the albums to come. I realized that what I was creating was more than just music it was history in the making that later on could be defined as revolutionary. I believe that this album is conceptual art music, visual perception through sound. The music was formulated as a written graphic representation. With this album which I produced at the time it was a pinnacle point in my artistic career. I am able to translate this through experience and thought now. I produced this music from 2014 to 2016 but I didn’t complete it till 2018 where it was then released in 2019 a year after it should have been released. It took 4-6 years for me to really understand what I was producing at that time. To be able to explain this now is surreal because like I said it was an experiment with very little structure. The structure was consolidated later on through my experiences. I think this album prepared me for the future of my career unknowingly. It marked yet another point in my career for expansion. I think that with making this album also it became known to me that I would be able to define myself even more and to clearly delegate what I’m doing.
Lisa: Who are the musicians on the album?
Rafael: Just me lol. Rafael Luna on Flute.
Lisa: What types of change do you feel your music can initiate?
Rafael: Musically I’m very widely diverse. I don’t think that my music will initiate any changes because I don’t define myself into any particular category when it comes to style and genre. In fact, it’s always innovative and organic.
Lisa: What is the most recent piece that you’ve enjoyed composing and/or playing, and why?
Rafael: Coming back to conceptual art music I have been able to explore this idea through the language of jazz, and contemporary music. My most recent piece that i’ve enjoyed composing and playing has been “So, What’s the Vibe?” which furthers the idea of the tracks in my “Vortex” album. Instead of being a written graphic representation it embodies the tradition of notated music with the idea of innovating it through improvisation. It is conceptual art music redefined through contemporary language. This piece was conceived through a personal social experience and it is based on a daily life experience.
Lisa: You have a lot of awards and recognitions. Which is your favorite, if you could choose a one, and why?
Rafael: My favorite definitely has to be the good citizen award which I received in middle school. The reason is I never expected to get an award the day I graduated from middle school. That day I realized that my work and efforts were appreciated in some way or another. It became a point in my life where I could define myself as someone who can bring people together and that can create communities. I have always since been interested in society and culture. This award was the beginning of yet another landmark that would be fulfilled later in my life and career. In fact, in the next year or or so I will be exploring creative arts through society and culture.
Lisa: What are your goals personally? Professionally?
Rafael: To be able to do what I do best without any worries is a huge goal personally. I’m always looking for ways to make my aspirations and dreams come true. I have short term and long term goals. My short term goals are very small details that come from day to day experiences and always trying to move forward with them. I feel like you have to break barriers to unleash your potential and that means to make great efforts to do so. Sometimes you have to adjust and adapt to your goals, this is something that I constantly do in especially a lot more during this pandemic. To continue to be true to yourself and the bigger picture but knowing that those small steps will lead towards expanding your horizon. I would like to be recognized for what I do at a level that’s not just superficial but to really hit the heart and soul of the people. I apply what I learn into my professional life so that is why my approach is to educate through performance. I hope to bring myself every step of the way in my journey whether it is something I did years ago or couple months or in the future or even now, to make sure i’m present in what I do, so that others are aware of how I represent my artistry, is in fact the bigger picture of my horizon. I aspire to be a household name to a certain degree but at the same time aspire to become an international artistic educator. I want to show my audience(s) my past, present and future in the form of my creative platform. I’d like to innovate the structures of which we currently live into newer forms of life that can reflect from society and culture. Society and Culture is very important to me because professionally my artistic goal is to gain the confidence of those in industries to put my best foot forward. By doing so, I can do what I do at a greater scale to really bring a creative flow towards innovative practices. Technically I would like to demonstrate my capacity as a performer, composer, arranger, and educator. From those origins I can expand my artistry to other creative outlets bearing no limit to style, genre, or even identity. If I can do that through different mediums that would categorize as a professional goal in my career. In the end I just want to be who I am and replicate that through artistic expression, experimentation and highlighting my social experience in the process. This and much much more is what I hope to accomplish through the various personal and professional immersive goals. If you’re reading this, you might be thinking to yourself who? well, of course you, yes you right there! I welcome you to joining me at intermission because what is about to happen is not only immersive as I normally would say but 3D. A journey of my life with approaches that break the boundaries of Art and Culture.
Lisa: What does your schedule look like for the next 6 months?
Rafael: Great question Lisa! I honestly don’t know but I do know that I will be releasing and creating projects within these next 6 months. I have so many options and opportunities coming up pertaining to my career as an artist and educator. Normally in my past process I would outline these points specifically but since the Pandemic I have taken a different approach to my career which is to keep it open. Not knowing is also a positive outlook in the way that we are not directly expecting something. This gives us the chance to redefine who we are and how we can achieve greater things. Things that are not only important to our identity but to our career, the mind, body, and soul. Those things are the very things that we can focus on right now. I believe it’s important that in the next 6 months I can achieve so much and more through this new creative process. If I take into consideration this method my schedule is going to look busy for the next 6 months. But of course, the work doesn’t stop at 6 months but to go further beyond those months into newer months and years to come filled with immersive experiences. If you follow me through my media outlets you can see what will happen in the next 6 months and beyond with my career. So, see you there!
Thank you Rafael!
Thank you Lisa and the crew at Got Music Talent for this amazing opportunity to interview with you through this virtual platform. Stay safe and healthy fam 🙂