Original art, apparel, and accessories of Hawaii and Asia by Rob Kajiwara

Maestro Nelson Del Pino

Today I'd like to tell you about my producer-manager, Nelson Del Pino, and the role he has played in my music career.

I first started songwriting at age 17, but I didn't start learning to sing and play piano and guitar until around the age of 18 or so, and when I first started I was really bad at it. Most people start singing and/or playing an instrument as kids or young adolescents, so starting at age 18 made me late to the game. I started off self-studying, but my family was pretty discouraging and made fun of me. I tried taking lessons from music teachers, but they were only used to teaching children or young teenagers, and they had no idea what to do with me. They thought I was chasing some sort of pipe dream in trying to pursue music at such a "late age" and were quite discouraging. (In actuality, 18 is still really young. In fact, I think anyone who wants to start learning music at any age should definitely go for it, and not let anyone stop you!) One teacher even told me that I would never learn to play piano like Elton John.

Then when I was around 21 years old, I met Maestro Nelson, and everything changed immediately. He and I had an instant connection, and I could tell he was different from the other teachers I had previously met. Although he knew I didn't possess much technical music ability at the time, I think he could see the potential in me, particularly in my vision, creativity, and songwriting. He could see how my music connected with my screenplay, More Than Just a Brick in the Wall, and vice-versa. He and I seemed to have an immediate level of understanding of each other, and it has only continued to grow over time. Nelson worked with me, and eventually I grew into a real musical artist.

Maestro Nelson has taught me almost everything I know about music. If I had to put a number on it, I'd say he's taught me 90% of what I know, while the other 10% can only come through experience. He taught me how to sing entirely from scratch. He greatly improved my piano and guitar playing. He taught me most of what I know about music theory, arranging, producing, and managing. He has been a very good teacher, mentor, manager, producer, and friend. He has been extremely encouraging to me as I have pursued my dreams, not only in music, but in other areas of life as well. And although he taught me how to self-produce, I insist that he continues to co-produce my music with me, as his influence on my career cannot be overlooked.

Nelson is one of the rare people who understands both business and art, commercialism and creativity, and can pursue and balance both spectrums. Although he is a world-class music teacher, he always examines his teaching methods, and continually seeks ways to improve and grow as a teacher. He is the very definition of a life-long learner, which I believe is part of what makes him such an excellent teacher.

Nelson is also of trustworthy, kind, and compassionate character. Whereas many business people, especially in the music and entertainment business, will take advantage of others, particularly those just starting out, Nelson is benevolent and generous. He looks for ways he can bring out the best in people, regardless of where they are in their musical journey, and seeks to help them achieve their goals to the best of his ability. He is a profoundly spiritual and insightful person who seeks truth in love, free of judgment and hate. In my opinion, he is a rare type of person, not only in music, but in society in general.

Maestro Nelson has been a tremendous blessing to me, and I look forward to many more years of working together.

If you like, please check out more about Maestro Nelson on Facebook, at facebook.com/vocalmaestro.



Maestro Nelson Del Pino (left), Rob Kajiwara's producer-manager. Fall 2018. Tacoma, Washington.

Rob Kajiwara is an Asian/Native American - Hawaiian composer, writer, visual artist, professional baseball player, and human rights activist. www.robkajiwara.com


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