Luis Manuel is Determined to Succeed
Luis Manuel experienced the sadness of losing his father less than seven months ago, add to that, losing his best friend, mentor and role model all rolled into one.
“Image being eleven years old and spending Thanksgiving and Christmas without your dad,” internet radio station owner Margo Morones said. “This is what little Luis Manuel Longoria is going through right now. However, he vowed to continue his mariachi singing in honor of his dad and we (Morones and Jorge Flores) are going to underwrite his first compact disc.”
“I was four when my father, Luis Longoria Sr., taught me everything I know,” Luis said. “My father, who had a wonderful voice when he sang ballads and mariachi ranchera songs and my mother, Erma, played guitar at home so they were my first musical influence.”
Besides being blessed with a good voice, the first thing his parents noted is that he also had natural vibrato and by the time he was eight, Luis was warbling his own rendition of “El Rey” at Market Square.
“I also learned to play trumpet at the Wesley Community Center and sang at a Mariachi Vargas workshop. And it was there that I learned how to stay in tune and the use of the diaphragm. I also took voice lessons from my teacher, Mario Prado, and I’m still learning,” Luis said with a touch of modesty.
The Highland Hills Elementary School student was nine when Morones first heard him sing “Que Te Vaya Bonito” and “Hermoso Cariño” among other tunes, but it was enough to open the doors for the young lad to become a fixture at the Farmer’s Market indoor stage. This exposure landed Luis his first paid gig. It was a wedding following by numerous birthday parties where he sings an average of nine songs with pistas (tracks).
So what is it that impresses everyone? “Maybe it’s because I sing from my heart,” Luis guessed. “Or that I sing each song a little different. I don’t know?”
His parents were supportive and life was beautiful, but it seemed to crumble when his 57-year-old father passed on, on May 20 of this year.
“I was unable to sing because it was too hard,” Luis said as his voice choked with emotion.
Luis was now “El Gallito” (“The Little Rooster”), as his father had nicknamed him and he had to be strong.
“My mom told me to keep going,” the 4-feet-8-inch tall mariachito continued. “He used to sing, so I wanted to continue singing to carry on his genes (legacy). He was also a songwriter and before he died he wrote a song for my mom and he passed it on for me to sing. So ‘Los Recuerdos’ (‘The Memories’) is going to be one of the songs on my CD.”
A second tune is a work-in-progress and Luis’ first attempt as a songwriter. “I don’t have a title for it yet, but it’s a slow song about my father and how we did stuff together,” Luis revealed of what sounds will be a real tearjerker. “I actually started kind of working on this song before my dad died and what’s taking me long is still getting the feel of talking Spanish.”
With the loss of his father, his mother has her hands full with Luis’ two siblings, his seventeen-year-old brother Joseph and sister Amri; and incidentally, they both play guitar.
Scholastically, Luis is making straight “A’s” in math, but that doesn’t pay the bills. He owns two mariachi outfits, but has outgrown his first suit. Therefore Luis is very grateful to the “Brothers in Christ” motorcycle club, who are providing him with a new outfit. His official photographer is his Uncle Roger López and his mother, who is currently taking psychology courses at San Antonio College, is his personal manager and booking agent.
That’s why Jorge Flores is donating the studio photography, art and graphics and Morones is also funding his vocal coaching under the tutelage of Pancho Rodríguez. However, these are not acts of pity, but due to their intense respect and admiration of Luis’ God given vocal talent, his determination plus his poise, confidence and tenacity.
In closing, please don’t confuse Luis with Portuguese singer Luis Manuel or internationally known Christian-gospel singer Luis Manuel from Santo Domingo. Our Luis is the one that recently received a note personally signed by each member of Mariachi Vargas and can be seen running through the neighborhood with “Eight Ball” and “Skip,” his pet boxer and Doberman dogs.
“Sometimes they get in the way and knock me down,” Luis said with a laugh.
As for his long-term goal, Luis said, “My goal in life to be a great singer like Vicente Fernández and make my father proud. I thank God for my dad because he was the greatest man there could ever be in the world. I also appreciate the people that have pictures of me in their homes. Thank you for being there for me and supporting me and God bless Margo Morones for all he has done for me.”
To see Luis in action, go to www.youtube.com/luismanuellongoria and for booking call (210) 531-8964.