ERIC LEE VILLARREAL
10 years ago, if you were to ask me if I thought I’d be where I am today the answer is no.  Growing up, I never listened to Tejano music. Although my dad and uncles were constantly on the radio, the Tejano station was never something I really listened to.  I would listen to what was on the mainstream stations and that’s where my love for singing began. I admired artists with strong voices and strong messages to tell. Over time what started off as humming and mimicking words turned into matching riffs. Suddenly these songs were my outlet and the car, shower, and bedroom were my singing sanctuaries. The fear of criticism, however, kept me from ever truly expressing my love for singing to the public.  Having such a talented father was intimidating to me growing up.  My dad and I have always been so close but something about letting him know that his passion was mine as well scared me.  That being said, I spent years learning about music and discovering my voice through the songs I heard on the radio.  I had always dreamed of performing on stage by singing, dancing, and captivating the crowd but I never thought Tejano music would do that for me. Although I respected everything my dad did on stage I just never thought I’d be capable of performing that style of music until finally one band changed my perspective on Tejano music forever. One Sunday, I decided to go see my dad and the band perform.  Right after their set I was told that the next band was going to be a group of five sisters.  I was curious to see them so I stayed and watched Las Fenix.  Two songs into their set I realized that everything I had engraved in my mind about Tejano music was wrong.  These five girls brought their own twist and style to traditional Tejano songs.  They were able to modernize these songs and bring fresh choreography in order to captivate the audience.  And that’s exactly what they did.  All of a sudden my head was filled with all the possibilities that lied within Tejano music and what I could do by bringing in my own style.  I had always thought that if I wasn’t dressed in traditional Tejano attire or that if I didn’t perform exactly how every traditional Tejano band performed then I’d be rejected.  The next day I went to my dad and told him that I wanted to join the band but that I wanted to do so by bringing in my own style of performing.  He was reluctant, of course, my father and uncles have performed as Los DesperadoZ for over 30 years and their style of performing was very different than mine. I was scared that my attempting to dance while I sang would be rejected by not only loyal Los DesperadoZ fans but, by my own family.  Once we began rehearsals I found that we all clicked pretty easily as far as balancing the traditional Tejano sound along with my new modern way of performing the songs. And, by the grace of God, I was accepted by the fans of Los DesperadoZ after the first performance.  Suddenly everything I had once dreamed of was becoming a reality.  On February 14, 2017 I was officially inducted to the Los DesperadoZ and I have been living my dream with every performance ever since. Not many people get to do what they love every day and I feel absolutely blessed to be able to do it with my family.