Voices of Youth Inspire! "Love, acceptance and mainly family, made me believe I was brought to this world for a reason."
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Your name: Juan Diego Alarcón
Your age: 25
According to your business card – what’s your job title?
Musician. Main instrument: Singing.
And how does that compare with what you wanted to do when you were 10 years old?
Well, with my headphones on my head, on a 1 meter by 1 meter music studio at the age of ten...I would say it was pretty much....WAY BETTER THAN I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE!
Give us 10 words that describe your typical work day?
Charcoal & chalk.
And of course: FACEBOOK!
In a nutshell, how did you get to where you are right now? Name some of the most important milestones.
My singing was actually my Mom's discovery. She took me to a studio to record my voice just for the family, a famous person heard it, invited me to sing in her NGO's event, this was broadcast on national televison and soon all the TV shows were inviting me to sing in their programs.
A youth version of a national talent TV contest was created so I could participate. I won in my youth section, the following monthly finals and I won the singing section of the whole program.
This made me known in Chile and in Ecuador through cable. Ecuadorian reporters went to Chile to film my story and soon I was very known there.
Alberto Plaza, a famous Chilean singer known all over Latin America took me to Ecuador to sing with him in 2 concerts, the foundation of Guayasamin (famous Ecuadorian artist) took me to sing in their famous "Todas las Voces Todas Concerts", sharing stage with the most famous Latin American singers of all times.
I produced two CDS, composing some of the songs of the second one.
I studied 3 years of workshops in music and 5 years of the professional career of "popular singing" in the music conservatory of Chile "La Escuela Moderna".
As my singing abilities began to decrease due to my muscle weakening, I discovered my drawing abilities, and began to draw portraits that have already been exposed once in Chile.
Now I'm at the stage of finding ways to produce a movie-documentary about my life.
What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome to get to your current position and how did it help you to grow as a person?
Well, I'll say the biggest obstacle would be of course my physical disability. Not being able to, I don't know, scratch my own head for instance! Is quite a big obstacle for pursuing...let's say anything at all!
But love, acceptance and mainly family, made me believe I was brought to this world for a reason.
My ability to sing despite of my weakened muscles and my "sitting down position" due to my muscular dystrophy, was kind of a sign....and now my drawing??!! Are you kidding me? I would say to God. But it's true. If you don't believe in miracles, you don't believe in me. But I'm here, and I can prove it! Anytime.
Not giving up, optimism, faith, and confidence my family provided me with, helped me to overcome these obstacles.
And now I live each day, knowing there's no impossible!
How important was your choice of degree/field of study at university for what you’re doing now?
Very! Not only because it gave me all the tools I required, but mainly because it's my passion, my gift and my commitment. Reaching high levels of knowledge in my area, shows my deep interest in what I chose.
It's not just singing, Rock 'n roll, and party time, it's a different language actually, it's a complex world, it's advanced math , if you will!
Musicians are kind of smart, FYI. Haha!
What are the top three things someone needs to excel in your field?
Be honest and express yourself naturally.
Perform for your audience, no matter what! Show your talent and use it for helping others, not for personal success only. I actually believe that's the only way of succeeding! Everything you do should have a purpose, a REAL purpose!
What do you think is the MOST important thing governments and/or companies can do to help young people get started in their careers?
I would say that there's a lot of talent in a lot of "Not safe" areas, such as Music, Drama, Dancing, Sports.
These are exactly things that motivate youth, and are not supported as they should be by local governments. Even, culturally, tradition-wise I mean, these fields are not even "allowed" by parents. So there are a lot of changes to be made as a community, I believe.
People need to start doing what they like to do for a living. With a high level of responsibility and confidence of course; confidence that should be given by someone at least. I believe youngsters can surprise everyone with what they can do! If they get this confidence that basically shows them, someone believes in them!
On a lighter note, tell us about the strangest day you have ever had at work or the strangest thing you had to do?
I have to say the strangest, or the funniest maybe, would be when I was guest singer on a recognized talk show broadcast by UNIVISION in Miami called "Sabados Gigantes".
There's probably something you should know first. My dear mother,
like any music teacher would say, taught me once, on a
"The-show-must-go-on" type of thing. She said: "If you forget the
words, make something up!"
But not the whole song! I never got back to the song, so my mom got up with her arms wide open yelling "CUT! CUT!". Yep, that happened! Thank God it wasn't live! They let me rehearse once more, we did a second take and it all came back to me.
Some words to youth out there: What advice can you give them when chasing their dream position?
First of all, it is to have patience. Don't just wait for things to happen, fight for what you want. If your "Dream position" doesn't show up right away, well try something else, as a "Standby" project.
In other common fields, don't go aiming straight for a manager position. If it happens, great; but if not, build your way up, and most important of all, earn that dream position! If you have to sweep floors for a living, you know meanwhile, be proud of it, work long hours, work hard, but don't just wait frustrated for your dreams to come true...wait DOING SOMETHING about it, even if sometimes it seems like you're not.
When you look back to your first steps, the more difficult they were, the better! Feel proud and why not feel brave! I've reached who I am, by fighting for it! If not, what's to tell!
© Maria Soledad Valencia
© Gonzalo Alarcon
© Rodrigo Zapata