Santana lead vocalist Andy Vargas struck world-wide fame over a decade ago when he became the lead-singer for the iconic rock band, led by 12-time GRAMMY Award-winning artist Carlos Santana. Twenty world tours later, Vargas is stepping out on his own with the release of an up-tempo, soul-rock single “The Beat” which was out on March 29th. The track showcases his signature Latin R&B sound “Souleros” – a blend of “soul” and “boleros.”
Vargas released his solo debut album this August. His masterful soul-tinged voice has also graced stages with Enrique Iglesias, Patti Labelle, Taboo of the Black-Eyed Peas and Yanni, among others.
Connect With Andy Vargas Here-
@andyvargasmusic (twitter and Instagram)
Learn more about Andy Vargas in the following All Access interview-
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you?
Thank you for the opportunity for the interview. I’m doing well, on a mini hiatus after a successful 20th Anniversary of Supernatural Now Tour with Santana, and now refocusing on my own music.
Now that we are more than half-way through the year, how has 2019 been treating you? What are some goals that you have for yourself this year? How close are you to reaching them?
2019 has been an amazing year! I set off the year with the goal of completing my first album “Souleros;” we just finished the final touches on the last song. I was able to release 3 of my singles this year “The Beat,” “El Beat” (Spanish version) and “We’re Still Here Together” featuring my friend and colleague Frankie J. I feel like I am right on target reaching my 2019 goals. Ideally, I would love to close out the year with a promotional tour to share my music with the world, but that will more likely happen early next year.
Growing up, how important was music in your life? Can you recall the moment when you decided that you wanted to be a musician? Was it an easy or difficult choice to make?
Music has been and will always be one of my major loves… Being a vocalist and a musician is my passion, it’s who I am…. the music “runs through my veins.” I was fortunate to grow up in a household with traditional mexican music. My father, who is a professional Mariachi singer, was and continues to be my main music mentor. I began singing with my father and his band, Mariachi California de Javier Vargas, at the age of 7 years old at special events and festivals. That was it! I knew then that I wanted to be a singer, musician, and a music producer. As a young kid, I began mixing tracks and found my own sound. I also started to DJ. I love “Spinning” too, it’s another passion of mine. It gives me an opportunity to hear and sample all kinds of world music… music that keeps you moving on the dance floor. I’m constantly inspired by what new music comes out and a lot of it influences my style of music with my band Souleros.
Was there ever a time when you thought about doing something else? If you weren’t a musician today, what else could you see yourself doing? Would you be as fulfilled in life?
No, I never wanted anything more than to sing, produce music and perform live. I love the way people respond to my music, it’s what keeps me going. I want people to feel good after they hear my mixes or see my shows. If I wasn’t a vocalist or musician, I’d probably want to be a world-renowned DJ. Again, I love music, I would be involved in the industry somehow. And when I wasn’t singing or spinning, my other go-to would be my other professional passion….Teaching music to the youth. That’s why I created the Andy Vargas Foundation. The Andy Vargas Foundation is a nonprofit organization with a mission to inspire, educate and mentor underserved youth who strive for a career in the music industry. My program just doesn’t teach you how to play an instrument, but it inspires kids and youth with music mentors to write and produce their own music. It’s about influencing change in our community. It’s about supporting youth in the arts, especially those that are undeserved or that come from tough communities; communities where a teenager may not feel like they have an outlet to express themselves. I want to keep kids off the streets and in the music studios making magic.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
The biggest surprise/challenge I would have to say is lack of time. A musician is consistently writing, producing, rehearsing and touring. The time goes by too fast. I love what I do but I also have to make sure that I make time for family and to take care of myself – to recharge.
Let’s talk about your latest solo material. What was it like finally deciding to release your own music?
Releasing my own music has been my life-long dream. I am fortunate to have an amazing career and perform with my other music mentor, Carlos Santana, but to see your own music listed on playlists and singing and dancing to my songs, well that’s just the greatest feeling ever. My album is done… but I changed course as I am more interested in releasing each song so I can take listeners on a musical journey. I hope you all enjoy it.
Where can people see you perform next? How would you describe one of your shows?How has your worldwide tour with Santana been going?
Best way to know what shows are coming up is to follow me on social media at @andyvargasmusic. I would describe my shows as a delivery of pure heart, soul, and passion. I want to transform you to a great place – a place of peace, positivity and harmony. I want fans to feel the music as I do when I’m performing on stage. I want fans to leave feeling like they have just seen one of their best shows of their life.
Touring with Santana is amazing. He is a musical genius. He challenges the band at every show to give the best performance possible night after night. And traveling and meeting new amazing people, places and cultures in nothing but a dream come true.
What has been a favorite performance of yours so far?
Every performance is my favorite and is important to me. I’m there for my fan base who support me and who enjoy my music. I’m there for them, so I always give them my best. But I guess if I had to choose, I would definitely say last year, December 2018, was my favorite show. That’s when I returned to my hometown of Watsonville, CA where I performed for the first time with my band Souleros after touring with Santana for 20 years. I hosted a benefit concert for my foundation to raise money for college scholarships. Coming back to sing to my community, the community that helped shape me and who supported my launch of my career, was the best feeling ever. I love my hometown, my community it keeps me grounded. I want to always give back to Watsonville, as I feel like I owe them so much.
How do you think you have grown as a musician since you first started making music as part of Santana?
Carlos and the entire band have been amazing music mentors. I started with Santana at a very young age. It was a privilege and continues to be to perform with some of the most amazing musicians in the world. I have learned so much from them and the music industry by working with this great band. And I have had the privilege of working with and performing with other amazing artists such as the Doobie Brothers, Juanes, Gloria Estefan, Alejandro Sanz, MANA and Frankie J.
What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all of the different platforms? Is it hard to stay up to date on it all? What would you say is your favorite way to connect with your fans now? What has social media done for your career so far?
Social media can be tough sometimes, you have to stay on top of things constantly because fans want more, and platforms are always changing! But I love that I can meet new fans, see what they have going on and keep up to date with all the amazing stuff that my music friends and colleagues are doing too. I appreciate social media in that it allows my fans to get to know me and my music better.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
I love so many artists… but definitely I’d have to say Marvin Gaye, Luis Miguel, Jose Jose, Hector Lavoe. I also really love Anita Baker and Whitney Houston.
I would love to collaborate with tons of artists., I have such an appetite for music – the list is too long to mention, but for starters I would love to collaborate with Anderson Paak, Babyface, and J Balvan
What person, in the music industry or not have you learned the most from over the years? Who do you think has truly made an impact on your career thus far?
I’ve truly learned from my mentor Carlos Santana.. watching him creatively lead his band has taught me so much. Every day that I get to work with him is an inspiration for me.
At the end of the day, what do you hope people take away from your music?
I hope I can draw emotion, memories, love and happiness out of my listeners.. If I can take you on a journey out or inside yourself, I’ve done my job.