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FULL-TIME TEACHER, FULL-TIME PERFORMER RAUL GUTIERREZ VIEWS SUCCESS
Raul Gutierrez leads a double life.
In his professional daytime career, he is a teacher at Pearsall ISD. After hours, he begins his second calling as frontman for the popular Tejano band M-Dos.
The group has shattered expectations of small-town bands and has begun making waves in the Tejano music industry.
On Sunday, March 5 the band will perform its breakout hit “Ratatatata” at the 2023 Premios Tejano Mundial Awards in San Antonio. The song has been ranked in the top five nominations for Song of the Year in cumbia pop.
Gutierrez reiterates to his students a mantra that he believes carried him through the turbulent and often challenging work to achieve success as a performer.
“Nothing is impossible with the three D’s,” the band founder tells his young charges during his daytime profession. “Determination, desire and discipline.”
Conjuring up lyrics since he was a kid, Gutierrez formed his band in August 2016, featuring what listeners describe as a fresh urban cumbia sound that has become popular across the state.
The band comprised of all local talent made its way up the Tejano music charts last year with their hit song, “Ratatatata.” written and produced by Gutierrez and Roland “Roro” Gutierrez.
“This is not just me,” the musician says. “All these guys did this.”
Besides writing lyrics, Gutierrez is on the keyboard and is joined by Johnny Martinez and Devin Garcia on vocals, David Colchado on guitar, Conrad Salinas on bass, Tony Gonzales Jr. on accordion, Jarrett Valdez on drums, Joel E. Martinez on congas and percussion, and Fermin Fuentes Jr. on guiro.
The band’s trademark sound is a fusion of traditional cumbia with American styles of pop, hip-hop, rhythm and blues, and the burgeoning new reggaeton beat, which originated in Central America.
In the summer of 2016, shortly after coming together as a performing band, the group released its first single, “Quiero Probarte.” Two years later, M-Dos released its second single, “Vives en Mi Mente.”
Gutierrez remains in awe of the reception to M-Dos’ recent single and the effect it had on the band members.
“When ‘Ratatatata’ reached number two on the Tejano Gold Countdown last year, it was so surreal,” the musician says.
He is quick to point out, however, that success in the music industry has to be earned, and he lays the most emphasis on the value of education. For the past 25 years, Gutierrez has held faith in a dedication to teaching his students “with passion, integrity and discipline.”
Gutierrez admits to having had to make sacrifices in his music career, largely due to his commitment to education and the demands put on the daytime work of a full-time teacher. There are many things, he says, that he cannot do in his daytime work that a full-time musician is capable of achieving. He readily acknowledges the support of his fellow band members and M-Dos’ collective determination to persevere.
He describes the double life as one in which he has successfully been able to intertwine the two careers.
“I may be a teacher by day and a musician by night,” Gutierrez says, “but education is something no one can take away from you.”