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Meet Rafael Luna

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rafael Luna.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Rafael. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
The best way for me to describe my story is by allowing the world to be part of it. I once wrote a book when I was a child in which described what I would be able to do when I was ready to be part of this world we call “Life”.

I had a vision already at the age of five but I didn’t know what to expect or perhaps even do with what I had. As I grew up I was able to learn and understand many things within Life. I was given the gift of music and art by my parents who immigrated from Central and South America only to be able to give me perhaps a better life than what they had. They had their experience(s) and it was time for me to shape my world as I had perceived it.

I never thought that I would be able to understand or even learn what this would mean for me later on in life. But regardless of what would come, I knew that if I prepared myself then, only then, would I be able to fully understand my Life. I had a lot of experiences within this environment we call the world. But it was only a micro-spec of what I was getting into. I knew that there would be struggles and differences I just didn’t perceive it as necessary.

As I moved forward I was able to better understand myself and at the same time, I came across so much knowledge of which I still to this day am grateful for. I have many but countless amazing human beings to thank in this world. I am by nature a very diligent but organized yet motivated person. I only learned from the “best” I would say but no one is better than anyone but everything is going to be different just by the sheer nature of our existence. As we adapt in this world we learn to co-exist within other experiences. My Story is based on experiences and how that shaped my world. They say, “every mind is its own world”, This is true and it is real because I was able to live that kind of experience.

Someone once told me, “There will never be anyone just like you”. I didn’t think that was true but to a self-respect, this is extremely valid because no one can be anyone else other than themselves. Whatever that means for anyone is up to their experience(s) of which take place in their world. I was able to create my own world because the world I was part of was never able to give me what I needed. With that being said, I was able to co-exist within this place we call, “The World”. The way I learned was indeed different from anyone else but it got me to understand everything in such ways that cannot be explained. However, I was able to grasp the concept and from there onwards, Life was exactly how I perceived it.

I knew I had a purpose in life, but I didn’t know how I would be able to fulfill my role. When I got into the world of the arts I began to explore and it felt like I would never settle into anything. But little did I know that what I was doing was exactly what I would be doing now just different. It’s like I was shaping myself within my world in a way that I would have never imagined it would be. This is true for me as of now that I have no idea how I got to where I am now but rest assured that I’m in my best form and fully immersed in this world.

My experiences have led me to this outcome and I will say it’s been a journey. I learned so much about Music and The Arts but more importantly, I was able to integrate everything else with it. I was able to complete what I perceived as my world. But the next step was how to make this accessible to everyone else around me and in a way that would be manageably understood. I have been doing what I do for many years but never have I personally been able to make that happen. That is, until now.

For years I was working very hard at my craft. I was able to do things I never thought I would do nor even see. But even though also I didn’t have some chances others had I felt in the end that everything I was doing would be so worth it in the end regardless of how I got there. The Journey was steep but also dangerous in the aspect that I would somehow lose track of what I was doing or something else (which was many else’s) that could somehow take me away from what I wanted. I was motivated to be in my Path but yes other things got in the way of it all. Yet I had a clear vision of what I wanted I wasn’t able to interpret that. Many years passed until I found out that if I just integrated everything I learned, not just Music or Arts, that I would be able to find my way. This became true and possible when I decided to let go from the boundaries I was putting myself in. This is when after all my hard work was developed but also acknowledged to a certain degree became apparent that I was meant for something far more than just my own world but also an eco-system.

I was somehow pointed towards many directions but I knew that I had two Choices in this world in especially in mine. Those two choices were very simple yet it would evoke the complexity within the chaos of simplicity. It’s either I went for what I wanted to do or I didn’t which would allow myself to be brought by a system that only wants you to subdue to it. I choose to at all odds to go for it. The one thing I wanted to do would not only make me happy but it could also potentially help others as well so that others can get to where they need to be for what they perceive is their world. When I chose to let go was when I reached a place called, CalArts. Thanks to again many people who were part of that experience, but also, I am going to give where credits worth. My friend Mike Rocha pointed me to CalArts, also a Graduate of the Jazz program for Trumpet performance. I came here to do what I wanted to do which was to integrate everything I learned into a new environment to get to where I am at now.

If you know the CalArts Music Faculty then you would know who I am talking about because if not all with most I was able to learn and understand from even those who aren’t here with us either physically or emotionally. I gave it my all to be able to understand who I was to become. I am in my full form now and It’s time for me to be out in the world. I studied at CalArts in the Jazz program, David Roitstein as my Mentor for both the BFA and MFA programs.

In 2014 I came to CalArts little to know that I would be coming back home of which as of now I fully understand and have no doubt that it was a home waiting for me to be engaged in the community. My experiences and story from within the institution were almost a Cinderella story beating all odds and integrating in every way, shape or form. I was fully immersed in This Institution in all sense of the word not only within the music world but also the Arts as a whole. I came here to learn and understand who I could be because I already knew who I was but all my experiences that came to lead me to reach my full form was because of CalArts. In 2016 I graduated from the BFA program. I had 2 choices still, Do I keep going or do I go somewhere else?. I decided to stay and in Fall 2016 I started my Masters. I graduated from the Graduate Program in Spring 2018.

The things I did here were countless. It was all worth it and I was able to integrate everything I learned to create my world. Though I was out of the institution by Spring 2018. I decided to come back because there was still something else I needed of which required time and risk of knowing if I would reach another potential. I didn’t think it was possible but again I was wrong before so why would I doubt the experience once more. This time I allowed everything to happen as it was, to let things be. I was able to learn a lot more because of that. I reached levels that I couldn’t have reached if I wasn’t the way I am as a human being.

The way I am is something unexplainable but it is very real. Now I can interpret what I perceived for a long time in a way that’s accessible to everyone and not just for me. I’m not a selfish person so that is why I am telling you my story here. Though it may seem vague or abnormal it is something very special and what I am able to do no one else can do. There may be others who could as well but we are all different so in that regard, I am the source for what I know and can do. Only I know myself but now I can tell anyone who I am. But not only that, I am able to make things a reality with what I know. This is something I was never able to do with the knowledge I already had. My experiences lead me to what I know now so because of that solely I am able to do what I do because I figured out the things I needed to better integrate into my world but also in other worlds and in especially the world we live in currently.

There are things I will probably include in this Story because I will have to that will help reference what I am explaining. This is my way of making something accessible for everyone else that isn’t me. As of now, I have been working on a series of projects that will change our current world and will take us into a New Era not only for Music and The Arts but also other knowledge that is useful for Life.

However, I am going about this as an Educator which integrates several factors such as performance, composition, arranging, pedagogy, etc countless other things. I learned and understand now that I am a Conceptualist at heart. I was able to find my way because of everything else I integrated that has to lead me to how I shaped my Career. I have been doing this for over 15 years and I will continue to do so for years to come until it is time for me to let go once more. I think it will be worth it so I hope that everyone can be part of how I perceive the world.

I am at a point in my Career again where it’s either I go for it or I don’t. I want to be fully immersed so I am allowing myself to understand what I need to do to make things the best possible for integration’s sake. There are many things holding me back but I am a fighter. Though my world right now is dark I know that I will have light once more. What I am doing now is pushing myself to do the things I wasn’t able to embark in my Journey as a whole. Now I’m very close to what I want so I feel that it is only a matter of time before my Career unfolds in another way I would have never imagined.

I’m ready and I hope everyone who reads my story is also ready. Before I leave, I’ll leave another thought. I once had a book in which I wrote at age five and I had two choices but only 1 outcome. The choices were to go for it or not. I chose to go for it but my outcome was to let go of it. The way I let go was not exactly what I wanted but rather someone else so I lost that book. But now, Somehow I was able to retrieve this book without having it physically. Throughout my life, I didn’t know but I became the book and now I am able to not only interpret the book of my world but also dictate it. What I’m telling you is the Truth and is Real with a Capital T and R. There are many things to say and continue to dictate from the book of my world but I think this enough to at least get my point across that anything is possible because we have the choice to do either decide what’s right or wrong for ourselves. I hope that my Story can reach others so that I can also continue to learn about everyone else’s world.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The road was never always smooth. There were a lot of struggles and there are still struggles but I think if you understand my story then you will know that it is relatable to anyone else living in this world we currently live in but different. I hope you can understand where I am coming from but rather than telling the story again I will continue to tell my story but in a different way where it will make more sense for me to do this now. I think that giving you reference is great but we also need that balance in life where sometimes you need to know something in another way. You will know because I will soon be integrating that into my world of which will be part of the book of my world. It will have everything but while I am here I can continue to give you more of what’s in my book.

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I Create Art within the means of Music. I specialize in Music as an Integration for Life which can be many things in that respect. I am known for many things but I have now defined myself as a Conceptualist because I have been able to take everything I learned and constructed my world in a way that can help anyone create their world and know themselves better. I’m a lot of things in one. I’m proud to say that if I were to be a company that it is now accessible for anyone who is ready to be part of it. The thing that sets me apart from others is that I am the only source for what I do and no one else can do what I do. Anyone could take my idea or be influenced but the origin of my source cannot be explained.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I’ve had good and bad experiences. Good and bad opportunities. Both of which play a huge role in my life and business. Luck has never been on my side but I will say that I am lucky to be who I am for my Life and business. I take everything into consideration because it all helps me to configure my thought process and how I approach my life and business.

It has only made me more capable but I didn’t do that myself I learned how to do that for years, There are people that exist and don’t anymore that have helped me get to where I am now. I did what I needed to do to enrich and unleash my potential, because of that, I am who I am. Overall I’m lucky to be myself. I feel this is something we all in this world need to realize is that you will be who you are and no one else, therefore, you are already lucky because your world and this world will make sure you have a place to be.

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Image Credit:

Kate Renshaw-Lewis, Dulce Gonzalez, Rafael Luna, Alkis Nicolaides, Justin Bardales, Calarts Latin Fest, and Misra Iltus

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