He knows he has the good life. A career that he loves, a family and enough money to pay the mortgage. And Oscar Lopez never wants to take any of that for granted which is why he loves to hit the road.
“I don’t want to sound like a cliché, but it’s a love of music,” he says in response to a question about what keeps him driving around the continent playing his music.
“It’s the only thing I know how to do well and it’s my job.”
Refreshed after taking a couple of months off the road, Lopez is out in support of his newest album. Armando’s Fire showcases Lopez’s ability to jump genre and not be pigeonholed into any one category.
But it is that free-flowing approach that might be keeping Lopez from more popular success no one knows quite how to describe it.
“I think this is my destiny and I have accepted it. I’ve been around a long time and it’s been hard and I’ve worked hard, brother. But I’ve been fortunate to walk and play.
“This is the way it is and this is the way it’s going to continue to be.”
Once upon a time he admits that videos and crafting that huge hit were always in the forefront of his mind. But Lopez has only achieved critical success, with three Juno nominations and placement in the Billboard 20 “New Age” category.
However, now that he has accepted his lot is to play intimate settings and jam with other accomplished musicians, fame is searching for Lopez.
“There’s been an explosion (in the popularity of latin music), it’s been like a wave and it looks like I’m in the right place at the right time,” he says.
In Armando’s Fire, the native of Chile brings everything to the recording studio including the music of his youth.
“There has been so much music that has touched me. When I came to Canada I experimented with many types of bands. I believe this was an important process for me in my musical life. When I returned to playing the nylon string guitar, I brought all these elements back to it. I would bend a note and think Hey! That works here too.’ This was the start of my fusion, establishing my own signature.”
The new album veers from gentleness to hot grooves, but Lopez knows that anyone can put out a CD nowadays and that it is the live performances that music exciting.
“I am absolutely blessed to be able to do what I do. And I know other colleagues feel the same. This is just a wonderful gift, a gift from God.”
Lopez will be sharing his gift at the Ramada Hotel on January 30.