The Scene

Ja­cob Flores

The Sentinel-Record - HER - Hot Springs - - In The Issue - By Lind­sey Wells,

As a third-gen­er­a­tion mari­achi singer, lo­cal in­de­pen­dent mu­si­cian Ja­cob Flores' pas­sion for mu­sic has placed him on stages in Hot Springs and be­yond, in­clud­ing FOX's “Amer­i­can Idol” and NBC's “The Voice.”

“Amer­i­can Idol” fans will re­call see­ing Flores au­di­tion in front of stars Jen­nifer Lopez, Harry Con­nick Jr. and Keith Ur­ban dur­ing the show's 2014 sea­son.

“I wasn't ner­vous — I was hyped; you go into this room and there's a green light, then you go into an­other room and there's an­other green light, and then you're on. It was so bright; it's how TV looks, so over­done,” Flores said. “They were so pretty. I don't know if it was the makeup or what but they didn't look real.

“There was some dead time so I was think­ing to my­self, `Say some­thing witty … just say some­thing.' They were nice. I don't think Harry really cared for the shiny pants but J-Lo and Keith liked me.”

Flores recorded his first full al­bum in April ti­tled “No Bor­ders” at Blue Rock record­ing stu­dio in Texas, and hopes the al­bum will be re­leased at the end of Novem­ber.

“`No Bor­ders' ba­si­cally means I'm not afraid to go into un­charted ter­ri­tory,” Flores said. “The mu­sic genre is con­tem­po­rary mari­achi mu­sic mixed with clas­sic soul and R&B.”

Some of his mu­si­cal in­flu­ences are Motown artists such as Marvin Gaye, Sam Cook and Al Green.

“It started with my dad; I'm a third-gen­er­a­tion mari­achi singer so I was around it grow­ing up. I was al­ways around mu­sic and, of the three kids, I seemed to be the one that really en­joyed it,” Flores said. “Even to this day, my dad's still

got it — he sings with such pas­sion and mari­achi mu­sic is very pas­sion­ate.”

Flores re­calls lis­ten­ing to mu­sic in his bed­room as a child and his mom be­ing sur­prised at the type of mu­sic he lis­tened to, call­ing her son an “old soul.”

With a reg­u­lar gig at Jose's Mex­i­can Grill & Cantina on Thurs­day and Satur­day nights, Flores said one of his goals is to pro­vide “a lit­tle some­thing for ev­ery­one” with his mu­sic.

Dressed in his mari­achi suit, he'll start off with a classy num­ber such as “At Last” by Etta James to lure in the au­di­ence, who oth­er­wise might not have given him a chance be­cause of the way he was dressed, and then go into a per­for­mance of a pop­u­lar Span­ish song.

“There's a lady that comes into Jose's ev­ery Thurs­day, sits at the same ta­ble and re­quests the same Span­ish song ev­ery time, even though she has no idea what the words mean, which is really cool be­cause that's my grandma's fa­vorite song and she only speaks Span­ish,” he said. “That goes with the whole `No Bor­ders' thing — it's just bridg­ing th­ese dif­fer­ent ar­eas for dif­fer­ent peo­ple.”

While he might be bi­ased be­cause he grew up with the mu­sic, Flores said if peo­ple will just give mari­achi mu­sic a chance, they might find that they ac­tu­ally like the mu­sic.

“Some­times if peo­ple see a whole mari­achi band stand­ing there, they wouldn't even want to give it a chance,” he said. “Mari­achi mu­sic is all about telling a story and a lot of the songs are so beau­ti­ful.”

Flores has a 5-year-old son, Eli, who en­joys watch­ing his dad per­form and singing along with his songs.

“I was shy as a kid and I grew into my per­son­al­ity but Eli is ready for the stage and I can see some po­ten­tial for the fu­ture. He would be the fourth gen­er­a­tion mu­si­cian in our fam­ily,” he said.

“I've learned that you just have to get up and per­form no mat­ter what, so, 10 years from now if I was still do­ing that, no mat­ter if it was at the restau­rant or a sold out con­cert, I'm go­ing to be up there hav­ing fun be­cause I love mu­sic,” Flores said. “Hope­fully I'll get to see some suc­cess with the mu­sic, but, I al­ready feel suc­cess­ful. If my mu­sic touches peo­ple, that's what it's all about.”

pho­tog­ra­phy by Mara Kuhn and Richard Ras­mussen

Ja­cob Flores com­peted in the 2014 sea­son of “Amer­i­can Idol.”

Ja­cob Flores per­forms in many venues around town, in­clud­ing lo­cal restau­rants, the Hot Springs Doc­u­men­tary Film In­sti­tute and The Red Car­pet Donor Cir­cle.

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