We had the good fortune of connecting with Marcus “Ritmo” Figueroa and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Marcus “Ritmo”, do you have some perspective or insight you can share with us on the question of when someone should give up versus when they should keep going?
Deliberation over continuing to power forward at all costs or throwing in the towel, I feel is one of the heaviest decisions people from all professions face at some point. Despite the craft or profession we involve ourselves in what truly makes us feel complete and more importantly, happy. Investments of time, blood, sweat, and tears are a few of the factors that make it very difficult to simply walk away from what we’re working so hard to accomplish. Other than personal investments into our art, there’s also the big obstacle we refer to as “everyday life” that possesses the power to temporarily derail us from the foundation we’re building. The reality of what we endure is a constant balancing act. What most people don’t see other than our work, is the massive scale we try to keep level through maintaining a full time job to pay the bills, attending school, making time for family, friends and significant others. The full weight of these daily priorities while still giving your career everything you’ve got can become overwhelming for some. Life begins to slowly pull us away from what we’re chasing and then before too long having to go in a direction that may not be in the benefit of our career, but one that is essential for keeping the balance in our lives. I as an artist have faced this very cringing, internal debate on multiple occasions. Just unplugging it all and no longer putting myself through the ultimate challenge of ambition and self discipline. I myself have found that no matter how many times I have come very close to closing up shop while knowing I have done all I can do in my power to accomplish my goals, there is always an unquestionable feeling that pushes me through even my most doubtful moments. Somehow no matter how hard I convince myself I’m over it all I naturally find my way back to my instruments and am reminded of the core reasons why I’ve continued to push through for over 14 years. It takes a lot of a person to really sit down and question all of your dedicated perseverance and essentially return to the drawing board. Through all of my experiences so far I’ve learned that the passion for what I do always outweighs even the most strenuous obstacles thrown in my way. I encourage everyone to always hold that core reminder close to them. The love for the craft always wins.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a composer who produces and engineers my own instrumentals. The road and challenges that are involved with learning and growing as an independent entity have been some of the most testing and taxing in my life. Everything began once I taught myself how to play the guitar. That then stretched into learning bass, piano and ultimately the art of recording and engineering. Despite the challenges whether it be relocating to different states and cities, balancing a music career with your personal life, or creating new ways to mass expand your audience and fan base, it’s all worth it. No matter what obstacle may present itself ambition & determination along with a solid support system always finds it’s way to power me through it all. I love what I do and I am blessed with the support from my family, friends and fans. If I’ve learned anything so far it would have to be not to put so much pressure or be so hard on myself. There are many occasions in the past where I’ve become frustrated with myself not being where I had visioned or achieving the goals I set. I used to let it really get to me. I had to take a large step back to remind myself not to place so much stress in what was originally my ultimate escape. That can lead to a lot of self doubt. I know I can be sharply critical of my craft and I feel I do it because I know what I am fully capable of. Now I take a lot more time in my creative process for my compositions and it reflects in my music.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
If one of my best friends came to visit I would ask what they’re feeling up to and then we would devise our plans collectively from there. Most of my close friends are actually more familiar with LA than I am. I’ve been living in LA for roughly 3 years and know I’ve barely tapped into all of the food and cultural gems that reside here. We’re all extremely laid back and chill people when we go out. Our week would consist of hitting some beach side breakfast/brunch spots, pubs, Amoeba’s Music is a must and some hiking trails. Nothing beats the outdoors!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Being an independent artist, you will not go far without true and genuine support. That support for me comes from my family, friends and fans. Since the start I have bombarded a number of people and continue to do so to this day sending over new music for their sincere judgement and feedback on. Helping me decide what to release next, etc. The love and support that I receive from both people I do and don’t know surpasses any materialistic reward for me. Without any of that I wouldn’t have the privilege to be doing this interview today. I am sincerely thankful for each and every person that supports me.