Musician Johnny Torres Zamora, 67, formerly of Uvalde, has recently released a compact disc of original music entitled “I Wake up from my Dreams.” The CD, on sale through mail-order, was put on the market the week of July 16.
According to Zamora, the style of music is a mix of folk country and Tejano.
“This CD,” he said in an interview with the Leader-News, “I put a lot of work into it because I wanted it to be special. The feedback I keep getting is so amazing.
“I’m proud of it – it came out good. I produced it and composed it. I think I should have done this earlier.”
Zamora, a self-taught solo artist, was born in the Uvalde area and lived here until he was 24, when he joined the armed forces. He served in the U.S. Army for 20 years, though he said he was injured early on and could have opted for a medical discharge at that time.
“I was disabled when I came out of service,” he said. “I have never let it stop me.”
At the age of 6, he began to play guitar.
“I would get an old beat-up one-string guitar,” said Zamora, reminiscing of visits with friends, “and we would pick on it believing we were making music.”
Zamora tells a story of how he acquired that guitar. “One day my dad bought me a bicycle,” he said. “The kid next door had a torn-up, one-string guitar and I asked for a trade.”
When he found out, his father was incredulous that Zamora would offer a brand-new bike for such a worthless thing.
“My mother said, ‘We’ll let him be.’ I think I drove everybody crazy in my house.”
Zamora is a solo artist because he felt other people did not have his same drive to create.
“I felt like they weren’t dedicated,” he said of people he has worked with in the past. “I wanted more than just fun – I wanted to write something serious and present it to people.”
In addition to writing songs for his music CDs, Zamora also writes poetry and fictional stories. He has been writing poetry for 30 years.
“I got a lot of people that really like my stories,” he said. “Actually, I’m impressed. They tell me, ‘You got me hooked.’
“I’m looking at ways to publish some books.”
Zamora describes folk country as a relatable way to talk about life.
“I write that way,” he said. “When you listen to the songs, put your life into it. A lot of people tell me the same things with the stories.”
His songs are mostly written in English, with a smattering of Spanish thrown in for good measure. As for the Tejano side, “it’s a little different from the everyday Tejano,” he said. “My music is more international.”
He has recorded a total of 40 songs throughout his life. In the past, he recorded on cassette tapes and now has three CDs out, including the latest one.
“I just haven’t had the opportunity like I do now to get out in the world and promote it,” he said.
According to Zamora, the initial sale of his latest CD has been quite successful. In addition to the mail-orders, Zamora hopes to soon be able to sell singles through Internet services such as iTunes.
The central message of his music is for people to be happy.
“I’m at the point in life where I’m very happy. I enjoy life. I like people to be happy. I think my music is all about making people happy. Happiness is the main ingredient in life.
“I’m so grateful to be on this Earth, to see what I see with my own eyes. I wake up from my dreams and this is wonderful – it’s beautiful.”
Part of his fulfillment as an artist is for his audience to delight in what he produces. “I love music. If people like it, what I’m playing, that’s my enjoyment,” he said.
Zamora now resides in Edinburg, but also spends time in the San Antonio and Uvalde areas. His CDs are $12. Those interested in purchasing a CD may remit payment to Juan Zamora Jr., P.O. Box 293, Universal City, Texas, 78148.