Originally from: Salinas, California, and raised in Eloy, Arizona.
Creating music since … I was three years old, singing at family gatherings, a talent cultivated by my parents Frank Lee Calderon and Maria Torres Calderon. My mother sang and my maternal grandfather in Guadalajara sang. My grandfather, Jesus Torres, a bracero, sang mariachi style. My family would travel to Guadalajara during the summers and I’d sing with him.
I began singing in the church choir when I was eight years old at St. Helen’s Catholic Church in Eloy.
Inspiration: My mother, Maria Torres Calderon. She sang to me as a baby and she sings with me today. My Grandma Lulu, my father’s mother, was also a singer. My K-12 music teachers, Mr. and Mrs. Germain and Sandra Corriero, also influenced me. Mrs. Corriero was my elementary band teacher, and Mr. Corriero was my high school band teacher. My teacher Ramon Acuña provided my Mexican musical education. He taught me to sing when I was 8 and taught me how to play the guitar so I could accompany myself.
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Music with a minor in criminal justice at Northern Arizona University, 1998. While at NAU, I sang with the university’s top vocal ensemble, the University Chorale, for which I also served as president during my senior year.
What is your goal as a performer? To introduce people to the alma (soul) of Mexican mariachi music … and that life can be made greater through the music stories tell. I want to move people so they feel the passion I feel when I sing…. Even if people don’t understand the Spanish I sing, I want them to feel the universal emotions of love and passion through the way I sing classical mariachi music.
Favorite song: “Cucurrucucu Paloma.” It has defined my journey. I learned that song when I was 14.
Artists you’d like to meet: Chavela Vargas, a legend in Mexican ranchera music, for her incredible power and passion; Juan Gabriel, a Mexican singer and songwriter who is one of the most famous living representatives of the Mexican ranchera, ballad, mariachi and pop music; Vincent Fernandez, because he’s a legend in mariachi music, and Gloria Estefan, the most successful crossover performer in Latin music today.
Where can we hear you sing? I am currently performing every Sunday from 10 a.m. to noon at Bitzee Mama’s Restaurant at 7023 N. 58th Avenue in an area known as the Centerline District, the art and soul of historic downtown Glendale. I’m also a regular performer at the Arizona Latin@ Arts and Cultural Center, and will perform at the private donor’s reception for the Herberger Theater Center.