Cerritos College
Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

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Student pianist on campus; father and husband at home

Oscar Franco, music major, practices for his recitals. The applied music program provides students with private lessons, his instructor is Professor Simmons. Photo credit: Briana Velarde

Oscar Franco, music major, uses his piano and singing skills to spread the message of love and hope with his new single “Enamorado.”

He started learning about music at six years old and shared that 2009 is when he was serious about pursuing a career in music as a Jazz pianist.

The single is out now on iTunes and a visual to the song can be found on YouTube.

“I wrote that song ten years ago to be exact. The story of that song is funny because when I wrote the lyrics I wrote them through difficult moments. I was going through a financial situation with my parents, I guess god gave me that song,” he said.

The message of the single is to incorporate love and hope in this society. He feels that music is a powerful way to be able to spread this message. He plans to put out a full album next year.

The process for him writing a song tends to vary. There are times where he writes lyrics first then the melody or vice versa.

Franco explained that it takes consistency to pursue a career like this so he joined the Applied Music Program provided here at Cerritos College.

The program offers private music lessons in piano, voice, jazz and acoustic guitar, and all band and orchestral instruments. Music styles include both classical and jazz.

His current professor is Jim Simmons, who is a jazz pianist instructor.

“Simmons, my instructor influences me. He has helped me a lot to develop a lot of my skills that I now have and getting better at,” he said.

Jazz piano instructor, Jim Simmons, mentioned, “He plays great and because of his background and being self taught, there’s a lot of things he’s learned his own way. My goal here is to help him fill those gaps that he’s missed and for him to take the next step and transfer.”

Franco was born in Mexico and was brought to the United States by his parents at 16 years old. He came to the United States not knowing how to speak English. Not knowing how to speak another language was a huge barrier to Franco and his music.

“I was in that transition of being a teenager to being in the 20s, those are years that you take lightly. When I was 25 I knew that I’d be 30 soon so I knew I needed to do something with my life,” he said.

Despite the fact that Franco had to transition from Mexico to the Los Angeles atmosphere that’s now what motivates him.

He is a father of a two-year-old daughter and a husband.

“What really motivated me in life completely was the day my daughter was born, once you have a child that changes your life. That’s when I realized it’s not just about me or my wife anymore but about the three of us,” he said.

Managing his time from being a father, husband, pianist and student is difficult for Franco. Although he has to split his time into all four titles he keeps going because the passion is there.

“I’m not doing it for me anymore, my real motivation is my daughter. I want to offer her a better future a better standard of living than what I went through,” he said.

Franco has been able to perform with many different artists. One of the artists that he has performed with that is remarkable to him is Chiquis Rivera. He was able to perform at the “Jenni Vivé” tribute concert in Long Beach.

“Opportunities come and my experience to play there was great. Playing there I was able to apply everything I learned from a recital class I took here on campus,” he said.

Opportunities now involve performing on campus. On Wednesday, Sept. 28th Franco held a recital on campus. In this recital he will be by himself doing some jazz pieces. Franco also has a second recital coming up on Wednesday, Oct. 26 that will be more of a jazz trio.

The recital is a requirement for the Applied Music Program.

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About the Contributor
Briana Velarde, Online Editor
Just a journalist in the making. You can call me Bree.  This is my last semester on the newspaper but like everyone else I started as a staff writer. I have also been Social Media, Multimedia, and Arts & Entertainment editor. Currently pursuing a career in journalism. Music, entertainment, and visual stories are my passion. How much time do I spend in the newsroom? All day. Well maybe not all day because I work at a theater and sweep popcorn for a living, but hey these bills aren't going to pay themselves. My ultimate goal to become a digital content producer for a radio station. If all else fails catch me designing for a magazine like Complex or Fader. Since my life revolves online, therefore I am your current Online Editor. Excited to be able to share my content on the online and print version of Talon Marks, read all about it!
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Student pianist on campus; father and husband at home