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The Bend Magazine

If You Play It, They Will Come

01/25/2018 02:27PM ● By Kylie Kinnett
By: Kylie Kinnett

A DJ took the simple of house music and added a Cumbia flare in order to create a sound unlike any other. A girl with a dream took the lack of Jazz music in Corpus as a sign to bring her free flowing, powerful voice to our ears. A boy in the backseat of a car took inspiration from The Beach Boys and Elvis and brought a type of Texas Country to us we didn’t know we needed. Three very different artists, all with very different sounds, speak on their shared passion: music.

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Photo by: Dustin Ashcraft
 
El Dusty

There is a small haven tucked away on Peoples St. where Dusty Oliveira (otherwise known as El Dusty) and his team lock themselves away 12 hours a day, everyday. This haven serves as a studio, a creative safe space, and a place where culture is constantly being cultivated. The walls are lined with vinyl and Sasha, Dusty’s Chihuahua, guards the building like it is her day job. In this
building, many ideas have been thought up and brought to fruition. Skeletons of songs have been
constructed and then mixed and layered until the outcome proved to be just right. This isn’t where El Dusty entertains his hobby—it is where he puts himself to work, where he creates art, and where he engulfs himself into his music.

Mixing cultures together is how Dusty achieved his sound. “The basis and inspiration to it all is Latin music, of course, but the stuff I am making is different,” he says in reference to his particular genre of music. “It has a lot of trap and hip-hop elements. I mean if you look at the first song I did, K Le Pasa, and you take the sample off of it, it was really just a dance, house song—so you know, we are blending genres.”

Born and raised in the Coastal Bend, Dusty has always felt particularly inclined to pursue a music career, even from a very young age. He reminisces back to his garage where his dad had some equipment set up. He remembers there being 8-tracks and swapping them around with headphones on, taking on the persona of a DJ even before the age of five. While in the fifth grade, his brother came home one day with a set of turntables, Technics SL-1200 to be exact, and it was then everything kind of just clicked. 

Photo by: Dustin Ashcraft

Since then, Dusty hasn’t stopped. With his record deal with Universal Records, his first full length album to be released in March, and a two-month tour beginning shortly after that, it is easy to see why he has begun to pave the way for musicians, of all types, to get their craft off the ground here in Corpus Christi. “There is so much talent here—undiscovered talent. I think the issue is there isn’t enough coverage of that talent, we need exposure,” he says. “We have to let people know that there is something happening here in Corpus. Musicians need to know they can stay here if they want and pursue their dreams.” 


While Dusty is well on his way to the top, he puts emphasis on the fact that Corpus has, and always will be, home. He speaks on his investment to this community with a smile similar to the likes of a proud dad. “We came, we are here, and we haven’t left,” he says. He believes in the city and the talent it has to offer and he is fully prepared to do what it takes to make sure those talents are nurtured and setup to thrive.

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Photo by: Rachel Benavides

Victoria Majors


With multiple rings adorning each of her fingers and a soft-spoken voice, Victoria Majors begins to explain where her passion for music comes from. She remembers listening to the Bee Gees when she was five and then deciding she would teach herself to sing. She participated in school choir her whole life and would eventually go on to major in Opera Singing in college. It was then she decided she needed to shift her course a bit. Jazz seemed to be the best jumping point, and so she took the leap.

“I just kind of felt like I was being drawn to Jazz. The way the women sang back then, I mean, you can literally feel their soul vibrating in the music,” she says when asked what drew her to jazz. She knew what she wanted to do, all she needed was to find the perfect band to accompany her, and destiny decided to pay her a visit. She found her band who had already been playing together for half their life, and approached them—the rest was history.

Photo by: Rachel Benavides
Together, they make up the Crystal Persuasion and their sound hits you like a nostalgic slap in the face. When playing, they take you to a hole-in-the-wall club in New Orleans, completely submersing their audience into a different time, a different era. It is simple and elegant, all while being rough and jagged at the same time. “There is a science to Jazz you know,” Victoria says. “Sometimes it sounds rather random, or improved, which it can be, but there is an arithmetic to it, that holds it all together.”

An album for Victoria is on the horizon, but she talks about how she doesn’t want to rush it. The concept she has for the record is taking old Jazz songs that don’t have any lyrics and writing them to the music. “I am just always waiting for inspiration,” she says in regard to her creative process behind the record. “I will get inspired by love and life, but then I will also find inspiration in something as simple as sake. So, I just wait for it to come to me.”

Victoria recognizes the movement taking place here in Corpus, and she feels as though the more places like downtown grow, the more inspired people feel to make their music and put it out there for others. “Take the Artwalk for example,” she says. “You walk around and there are bands on every street corner and it is amazing—I wish it was like that all the time. This city is expanding and growing, and with that, comes more room for people to feel more comfortable to pursue their dreams and have others be accepting of it.”

With several shows a week, Victoria Majors definitely doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. She knows this is what she was meant to do. She speaks about music and Jazz as if it is her calling in life and she is steadfast in curating her craft.

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Photo by: Natalie Rhea Riggs
 Jake Ward

Elvis, The Beach Boys, Johnny Cash, and George Straight—all artists Jake Ward fondly remembers listening to while in the backseat of the car as a child. It was those earlier influences that helped shape him into the artist he is today. He had always had a general liking towards Country music, however it wasn’t until he heard “Just a Matter of Time” by the Randy Rodgers band, that he fell in love with Texas Country, and decided to pursue it.

Growing up in the church allowed Jake to always be involved in a choir. His love for music expanded through that and by participating in theatre productions. By the time he got to high school, he was already writing his own lyrics and music and he knew this is how he wanted to spend the rest of his life. Living in South Texas proved to be very beneficial for Jake, as the Texas Country music scene is vast. “Corpus Christi has pretty much molded me into the artist I am today,” he says with a smile. “I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of all the fans and the local radio stations here.”

His sound can be described as a high-energy blend of Classic Country and Contemporary Rock, all meshed perfectly together with rich harmonies. Jake’s soulful tone is highlighted by other elements his band brings such as the classic twang of the fiddle or contemporary guitar riffs. 

Photo by: Natalie Rhea Riggs

In 2015, Jake and his band released their first full length album with ten original songs. It didn’t take long for people to notice and understand the talent these guys had. With three hit singles the band made their mark on the scene and they weren’t going anywhere but up. In regard to the Corpus music scene, Jake is excited and optimistic about its future. “Oh, it is growing,” he says without hesitation. “Having new artists perform practically every week is a great thing. I think it is going to continue to expand and we will see more and more artists come out of that growth.” 


As for the future for Jake, he says we can plan on seeing him and his band work their tails off this year. His newest single, “Not Too Far to Reach,” quickly made its way to the number 19 spot on Texas Country music charts, and he recently released a music video for it as well. “This year is really all about growth, and we really can’t wait to see what is in store for us.


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