Student Carlos Holguin Finds Success in Music Industry

By Lizett Camarena

Bass cellist Carlos Holguin works hard at school while kick starting his career in the music industry finding early success.

Holguin plays an eclectic-musical repertoire from blues, jazz, country to Spanish up-tempo songs. He recently started selling his music through iTunes, Google Play and Amazon. He sold approximately 80 downloads of his jazz piece “Coo” and his Spanish-country song “Mi Carrito”.

Holguin is currently recording a blues song to be released this spring or early summer called “These Arms”. Two of his friends help him with the drums and guitar while he plays the bass and sings. “Part of the inspiration was this girl that I liked. Long story short, I don’t think she liked me, but it’s OK because I got a cool song,” Holguin says.

On Feb. 1, 2014, Holguin won third place in the singing competition National Association of Teachers of Singing. Soon he will compete in regionals with musicians from Utah and California. If that goes well he will go to nationals, Holguin says.

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Holguin at CSN

Holguin is a College of Southern Nevada student majoring in music. This is Holguin’s last semester at the College yet his first time taking classical singing lessons. He admits that the transition to formal training and its techniques has been difficult.

“When you have formal lessons, breathing is different; the way you sing is different,” Holguin says. “It’s funny I never thought I’d sing classical music.”

Holguin’s schedule is packed with music classes, from music theory to piano lessons, as well as contributing to three bands at CSN. In addition, he practices 20 to 30 hours a week.

Dr. Richard McGee, chair of the music program at CSN, describes Holguin as talented and positive. “Carlos has a great work ethic,” McGee says. “He is never caught unprepared.”

Holguin plans to transfer to the University of North Texas after CSN.  “I’d like to get my bachelor’s degree in jazz studies and possibly in music education so I could teach someday.”

Holguin had a bass lesson with Lynn Seaton, a decorated jazz bassist with a career Holguin aspires to have, while visiting UNT. The professor leveled with Holguin telling him frankly that he has a lot of work to do before attending the University but Seaton encouraged him to keep going.

“I was so grateful, but I got so discouraged,” Holguin says. “I almost felt like quitting. Then I thought I could either quit when I go back to Las Vegas or I can work ten times harder.”

Holguin’s hurdles have challenged him. In the past, he feared failing or looking amateurish when he performed, he says. “Sometimes I’m still scared to do things but when I’m scared that’s when I push myself the most.”

A strong motivation for Holguin is his family. “They push me so I won’t quit, but they love me no matter what. What example is that going to give to my brother and sister if I quit because something is hard.”

“Nothing is off limits or mundane for Carlos in his musical quest,” says Robert Bonora, CSN music professor. “That attitude will serve him well in the industry. Musicians are asked to be chameleons routinely and Carlos has adapted to that mentality quickly.”

Jordan Bushey, CSN music major, says Holguin is genuine and friendly. “He wouldn’t remember this but my first encounter with Carlos was when I visited CSN during the summer to take my music theory exam and he took the time to say hello. That really stuck out,” Bushey says.

Holguin aspires to perform to sold-out crowds across the world. He wants to inspire people. “If you have faith in yourself and faith in the universe, everything will work out just fine,” Holguin says.

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Holguin playing his bass

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