Happy Music Business Monday!
Andrés Salguero, better known as 123 Andrés is the ultimate children’s music professional in my humble opinion. Everything he produces from his culture rich music and videos to his vibrant website are colorful and masterfully consistent in its branding. It’s clear that Andrés has successfully cracked the code on the children’s music business while unapologetically representing his cultural heritage! With the help of his super supportive wife Christina, they’ve figured out how to make their hard work look like effortless fun.
A native of Bogotá, Colombia, Andrés brings to audiences joyful sounds, passion for bilingualism and a high-energy love of music that gets kids singing and dancing in Spanish and English. The Boston Globe once wrote that his Latin-Grammy nominated debut album, ¡Uno, Dos, Tres Andrés en español y en inglés! “hopscotches around the Spanish-speaking world, seamlessly switching from bachata and bolero to mariachi and vallenato.” Andrés earned a doctorate in music from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. His most recent album entitled “Arriba Abajo” won the Latin Grammy for best children’s album in 2016 as well as the Parent’s Choice Gold Award.
In this edition of Music Business Monday, I invite you to enjoy a more personal look at his approach to making it in the children’s music business and some interesting experiences he’s had along the way.
Culture Queen: Growing up, which musicians, shows or other artists inspired you to be a children’s music artist?
123 Andrés: As a kid, at home, I believe my parents were my first inspiration. My mom sings and my dad plays the guitar and that was key in me following the music. Then, at around six years old I had a teacher and mentor with whom I stay connected to this day. Her name is Olga Lucía Jimenez and she is an authority on children’s music from Latin America. There was one band that really captivated our imagination called “Canticuentos“, and their songs were so fun and catchy! It really marked a generation. My dream would be to have such impact with our work!
Culture Queen: What has been your most rewarding experience performing for children?
123 Andrés: My most rewarding experience is when I see that the children come with their own ukuleles or little guitars to the show. I love the story of Juanpi, a toddler who can’t go to sleep without his guitar. Or the two five-year-olds who have surprised me with the AMAZING songs they have written themselves on the ukulele. That makes me feel like I’m doing something good!
Culture Queen: You aren’t just doing something good-You are a true Culture King who is doing something great! I predict that you will have a line of 123 Andrés branded ukuleles and guitars sold in all the music stores and toy stores worldwide! Hooray! Now, shifting gears: If you had to do it all over again, what would you keep the same? What would you do differently?
123 Andrés: What would I do the same? I would, without doubt, find the perfect person again to do music with. Christina, my wife, became the other half of 123 Andrés.
What would I do differently? I wouldn’t have left my beautiful green guitar in the back seat of my car because my car got broken into and my guitar was stolen! Nooooo! But, I was able to replace it with a new guitar that is very colorful.
Culture Queen: I’m sure that had to be devastating. However, I’ve learned that sometimes when you lose something, what you rebuild is even better than what you had before. Also, I love that you publically celebrate your wife’s dedication to supporting your dreams. Not only is it super romantic, it’s also evident that the teamwork that you share actually enriches your brand. I adore that you even have a love song featuring Christina and the artwork of the great artist Kevin Kameraad! Hooray!
What’s the funniest thing that has ever happened during a show you were performing?
123 Andrés: Recently at a concert, I had children on stage with me. One of them “broke wind” so loudly that we all lost it!
Culture Queen: Oh my! I’m sure that was a “funky” show! (Giggles) I once had a child climb up on me and take a “tinkle” while I was performing. As they say: The show must go on! Speaking of going on…Reflect on a challenging experience either performing or music business related. How did you recover from it; and or what lessons you learned from it?
123 Andrés: One experience that I will never forget was when I found myself one day unable to play the saxophone or the clarinet. The clarinet was my main instrument for a long time and it was a big part of who I was as an artist. One day I couldn’t play it. The muscles in my face didn’t respond! After a couple of hectic days going to several doctors, I discovered that I was suffering from Bell’s Palsy, a condition that causes a temporary paralysis of one side of the face. Eventually, I recovered from it, as most people do, but it made me reevaluate my mission as an artist and made me be thankful for the opportunity to connect with the audience through different ways.
Culture Queen: Wow! I’m sure that was a traumatic ordeal. One thing that I appreciate about your performance is the variety of instruments you play. It’s really interesting that a health scare is what led you to change something that I feel actually enhances your show. I’m seeing a connection between your green guitar being stolen and losing the ability to play the clarinet: In both instances, an unfortunate circumstance challenged you to reevaluate and rebuilt your craft into something even better than it was before. Finally, what’s the best advice anyone has ever given you about music business management and why?
123 Andrés: I’ve been lucky to find wonderful people who have shared advice. The most recent piece of advice I remember: Treat your music business as a start-up. You need a business plan, you need to have clear goals and understand all the other components of a business, such as branding, promotion, etc. I’ve also gotten great advice by listening to amazing entrepreneur stories, such as the podcast “How I Built This.” Highly recommended listening!
Culture Queen: You don’t have to tell me twice! I immediately listened to a podcast of “How I Built This” on NPR and it was inspiring as well as informative. You can check it out here! Thanks Andres for sharing your journey with us. Now, let’s watch Andres do what he does best: Make great music!