Conducting My Life: Carlos Ramirez

Carlos Ramirez

Music has always been an outlet and a safe space for me. I’ve been in choir ever since first grade. My family didn’t have much money to drop on a rental instrument, but choir had a low barrier to entry. I already had the instrument—it was part of my body!

I have always really liked rhythmic songs. Songs with a clave rhythm, which you find in a lot of Afro-Cuban music like salsa, mambo, Latin jazz. It’s really catchy. I also really like warm, rich sounds that are common in choral music.

I was born and raised in Chicago.

Both my parents are immigrants—my dad is from Mexico, and my mom is from Colombia.

My mom and dad met at a plastics factory, where he was a hydraulics engineer and she was a packer. It’s a sweet story. But my childhood was pretty tough. Long story very, very short, my dad was in prison during my sophomore and junior year of high school.

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