For the second year in a row, 14-year-old Mario Terán managed to finish amongst the top 3 best mariachi vocalists at the 25th Annual Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza National Vocal Competition – Middle school category. He placed 3rd in 2018, and outdid himself last December by finishing in 2nd place out of 10 other participants.
Mario is currently an 8th grader at Clark County School District’s K.O. Knudson Middle School in Las Vegas, NV, where he plays the guitar with Mariachi Los Pumas directed by Johnny Gonzalez. During the 25th Annual Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza, he captivated the audience in San Antonio with his interpretation of Pepe Aguilar’s lively hit song 100% Mexicano.
I had the opportunity to talk to Mario about his success at the Extravaganza recently and here is what he had to say:
Leon: Mario, I’ve heard a lot of great things about you and it’s nice to finally talk to you. I’m going to start off this interview by asking you what have you been doing for the last couple of months during this COVID-19 crisis?
Mario: I’ve been studying the video of my performance at the Extravaganza a lot. My dad has been helping me fix some issues. During my free time I like to play Fortnite and watch Netflix. I watched all of the Home Alone movies and a cool series called Money Heist. I also like to play soccer and other sports every once in a while.
Leon: You made it to the top 3 vocalists of the National Vocal Competition Middle School Category during the 25th Annual Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza. What was your reaction after hearing the results?
Mario: I was so shocked I got 2nd place. I couldn’t believe I won! When they announced the 3rd place winner I thought it was over for me. I didn’t think I could place higher than that, and when I heard my name, I got really excited and felt proud of the hard work I had put in.
Leon: You definitely deserved it! Now, tell me a little about yourself, have you always lived in Vegas? Or are you from somewhere else originally?
Mario: Yes, I’ve always lived in Las Vegas. I was actually born here on October 26, 2005.
Leon: When and why did you first start singing and playing mariachi music?
Mario: Well, before mariachi I only played soccer. One of my neighbors and family friend – Karina Torres – had just transferred to K.O. Knudson middle school and told us about the mariachi program. One day she invited my family to go watch her recital and I was so impressed I decided I also wanted to join. Karina also placed 3rd place in the National Vocal Competition in 2013 and now plays with Mariachi Encendido of Del Sol Academy.
Leon: What instrument do you play and why?
Mario: I decided to play the guitar, because my dad plays it as well. He actually helped me learn how to play it.
Leon: How does your family feel about you playing mariachi music?
Mario: They feel really proud and are very supportive! It’s funny because they never saw me playing mariachi.
Leon: Do you have a role model?
Mario: Alejandro Fernández. I love the way he sings.
Leon: Did you listen to mariachi before joining mariachi?
Mario: Not much. I actually listened to Norteñas, Banda El Recodo, and Banda MS.
Leon: Who is your favorite artist?
Mario: Pedro Fernández is my favorite artist.
Leon: Lastly, what do you see yourself doing in the future? Do you wish to pursue a career in music?
Mario: I honestly want to be a solo vocalist. I want to be like Alejandro Fernández and write my own music.
According to Mario’s mother Rosa Maria Romero, Mario and his siblings Vannya and Derian have always shown an interest in music. Their father Mario Alberto Terán played in a guitar trio back in Durango, Mexico. His sister Vannya also plays the accordion and is part of the mariachi program at Del Sol Academy.
Congratulations Mario for an outstanding performance during the 25th Annual Mariachi Vargas Extravaganza National Vocal Competition. We enjoyed your performance captured on video from our team at Solarshot and we’re happy to share it with everyone during a time when it is much needed. Best of luck to you and stay stay safe!
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