We had the good fortune of connecting with Marco Tulio and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Marco, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I’m from Brazil. I was born in Cuiabá, capital of the state of Mato Grosso but when I was 6-years old my family moved to Brasília, the capital of Brazil. So I grew up in Brasília. My father’s family are from Cuiabá and my mother’s family are from the Northeast part of Brazil and from Rio de Janeiro. Being part of a family with this diversity of cultures had a great impact on my life and for sure on my music and my career. I was exposed to all kinds of music since I was a kid. Even though my parents didn’t play any musical instrument they loved music. My father had a passion for stringed instruments such as violin, guitar, mandolin, etc. My mother was more into singers, specially the great Brazilian female singers from the 50s. My older brother exposed me to Rock when I was about 9 years-old. And I really fell in love with it. He had records from the classic Rock bands from the 70s and I used to listen to all of them.
In my late teens I started to listen to some Classical Music and some Jazz. And of course Brazilian Music has always played an important role in my life. From the Bossa-Nova to the great singer/songwriters and Pop Brazilian artists from the 70s and 80s.
I’m thankful that I have been exposed to so many different music styles. I can definitely say that my music is the result of all the different music styles and the different cultures I’ve been exposed since I was a kid.
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 started my professional career in Brasília (Brazil) and I played in a few groups such as Quarto de Jazz, Sexto Andar, Quarteto Wabash and Marco Tulio Trio. In 1990 I came to the United States for the first time, to study at MI (Musicians Institute) in Hollywood. After graduating with “Honors” from MI I went back to Brazil and opened a music school where I taught Guitar, Harmony & Improvisation for over six years. In 1997 I got the “Virtuosi Award” from the Ministry of Culture of Brazil. At the end of that year I moved to Los Angeles, where I’ve been living ever since. I became an American Citizen in 2018.
It wasn’t easy. It took about eight years for me to be able to make a living as a musician here in the US. In the meantime I worked regular jobs. Being an independent musician is always challenging. You have to be prepared to play all kinds of gigs, like restaurants, weddings, private and corporate functions, etc. I’ve done that for years and I’m extremely grateful as I’ve learned so much and had a chance to develop as a musician. I don’t work as a sideman very much as I used to. I chose to focus on my own music and my solo career as a guitarist/songwriter/singer.
My goal for the next few years is to develop my career as a songwriter. For all these years I’ve been focusing on my career as a guitarist, as a player and a performer. Now I want to focus more on my other side, Marco Tulio the songwriter.
By the way my music is available on Spotify and on all major streaming platforms.
Every month I’m releasing a new song. It’s an endless journey and I know I still have a long way to go. But I’m definitely enjoying the journey.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
For 13 years I’ve been playing weekly at the historical San Antonio Winery located in Downtown Los Angeles. And for 11 years I’ve been playing every Sunday during brunch at Egg Plantation Restaurant in Santa Clarita. So I’d definitely take my friend to a nice lunch at the San Antonio Winery and to a delicious Brunch at Egg Plantation. I’d also take my friend to some great concerts at the Hollywood Bowl and the Greek Theater.
As far as sports events we would definitely have to watch a Lakers game at the Staples Center.
Some other great places/cities to check out: Laguna Beach, Santa Barbara, Hollywood Blvd, Malibu.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
First of all I’d never be here today if it wasn’t for my parents. My father passed away when I was 10 years-old but he was the first person to notice and encourage my passion for music. He used to buy me records and he also bought my first musical instruments: a mandolin and then later an acoustic guitar. And without the help, encouragement and support of my mother I’d never be able to become a professional musician. So I dedicate my shoutout to my parents Emanuel & Maria Helena. A big thank you!!!!
And of course I’ve had some great and important teachers through the years that have helped shape my musical life and they all deserve credits and recognition.
Big thanks to: Fernando Del’Isola, Carlos Alberto Figueiredo, Luiz Filipe Oiticica, Celso Mendes, Sergio Benevenuto, Carl Schroeder, Joe Diorio, Scott Henderson, Jamie Glaser, Norman Brown, just to name a few.