Ramiro Garcia talks about his experience on American Idol Season 11

Ramiro Garcia at the Galveston auditions

If you have been watching American Idol this season, as well as the past 10, you know there is no shortage of drama. From the story of homeless Amy Brunsfield living in a tent in the woods to Ethan Jones’ rocker dad wishing him good luck from rehab, American Idol is notorious for bringing contestants’ personal stories to their auditions.

One such story was the story of Ramiro Garcia from right here in Houston, Texas. Ramiro told the country about how he was born without ears, and the doctors told his parents he would probably never be able to hear or speak, much less sing. Fast-forward 28 years later, and Ramiro was one of the few chosen to continue on to Hollywood Week in California. He may have been cut in the first round, but Ramiro has plenty to say about his experience.

AG: Hi Ramiro, nice to meet you!
RG: Nice to meet you.

AG: Can you just, for the readers, let them know a little bit about what you do for a living?
RG: I work for Lakewood Church here in Houston, Texas. I work for the Youth and Young Adult Department here, music, I’m part of the creative team. A lot of the fun, creative ideas we do for services, and videos and stuff like that, that’s what I contribute to our team here.

AG: So, congratulations on making out to Hollywood, I know you got cut over there, but making it all the way out there, that’s really amazing. What did it feel like when you got those yes’s from the judges?
RG: Well thank you, first off, and it was pretty cool. I mean, I think, it was an emotional experience for me to get those yes’s, because, I mean, being told all the time in life that you’re not going to be able to do something, and then being told “No” a lot, it was good to get that “Yes.” It was a bit overwhelming, just going to Hollywood for me, it was something bigger for some reason.

AG: Can you tell the readers what you mean about the emotional part? I mean, I saw the show, so I know what the story is, but can you talk to me a little bit about it for those who don’t?
RG: Yeah, one of the big reasons… Well, first off, when I was born, the doctors told my parents that I was going to be mute, and that I wasn’t going to be able to communicate, hear, nothing. But like I said in the video, through time and through faith, I was able to… the doctors discovered I had a bit of an eardrum, and they were going to start discovering I would have an opportunity to hear. My dad would recall times as a little kid, he would say, “My son’s going to be able to hear, he’s not going to be mute,” because he started noticing little signs. Like, when the door would shut, I would react to it, I would listen to music, I would start reacting to it. When they started seeing that, they started to say, “Oh, there’s something there, he is going to be able to hear.” And through time, and with operations and stuff like that, I was able to overcome that. But American Idol for me, it was a big deal for me, because I think, I mean, I went through a lot growing up as a kid. I think that I can relate to the people that have been made fun of a lot, and just being counted out and being told “No” and a lot of negative stuff that’s been said. So, for me, American Idol was more than opportunity to just be, you know, on a singing show. I wanted to be an example and an inspiration to people to show them, hey, not to let your circumstances defeat you. It doesn’t matter what doctors have told you, it doesn’t matter what negative stuff people have told you, if you just believe in yourself and dream big and fight through it, you can work it.  Like, it will happen, so don’t let, like, the negative stuff keep you down. My big thing was, “I need to do this for the people that have already given up on their dreams, and feel like they’re not talented enough, or just feel like they can’t do it.” I wanted to be an example that, if you just fight through it, anything is possible.

AG: So what was it like in Hollywood?
RG: Hollywood was cool. I mean, getting there, being in California, the weather is amazing. Love the weather. Just the… it’s a competition. When you get there, it’s hectic. There’s long lines still and everything, it’s nerve-wracking, but it was fun. It was a cool experience. I look back at Hollywood, and even though I was cut, I don’t look back at it as, “Oh, I hated Hollywood Week,” like many people portray. For me, I mean, I just embrace it and learn from it. But it was a cool experience, cool to see J. Lo, Randy, and Steven Tyler again, and just to see some of the talent that’s out there, and just to be like, “Whoever wins this thing, man, at least I got to talk to them, or I met them,” stuff like that. It was pretty cool.

AG: Did you make any friends during your time there in Hollywood that have made it to, I think we’re on Round 3 now, people going to Vegas? Did you make friends with any of them?
RG: Yeah, I don’t really know. I mean, I was only there for a few days. I mean, I met some people, but I don’t know if any of them made it all the way. Really, ‘cause you’re on the go so quick, it’s hard to really maintain friendships and continue. I mean, there are some friends that I met and that I know, even from here in Houston, but they didn’t make it all the way. But I mean, they’re great and talented people.

AG: If you could go back to your time on Idol, is there anything you would’ve done differently? Are you going to try again next year and make those changes?
RG: Well, you know, I’m 28, and the cut-off age is 28, so this was the last opportunity I had to try out for American Idol. If I was able to go back and do it again, do it differently, I mean, I wouldn’t change a thing. I think I did the best that I can, and it is what it is. For me, I don’t look at it as defeat; I look at it as a victory. I mean, they said about 112,000 people auditioned this season, and they chose 309, I believe. I mean, just to get in that, it’s not even like a point something percentage, so for me that was a victory. I mean, I wouldn’t change anything. I loved my song choices that I did, and I love the song choice that I did in L.A., in Hollywood, it just didn’t work out. I don’t think that I did bad, it just wasn’t what they were looking for.

AG: What are you going to continue to do with your singing now that you’re time on Idol is over?
RG: There’s some projects I’m working on. I’m definitely working on music, but my big thing is, whenever you have a platform, I like to use it to help other people. So there’s a certain project that I’m developing right now and working on, I’m buying the website and stuff, but the just of it is, the campaign or the movement, I mean, I don’t know if you’ve heard about “The ONE” campaign and the “RED” campaign and stuff like that where it’s to fight AIDS and poverty.
AG: Yeah, I’ve heard of those.
RG: What I want to contribute is, is what I’m planning on titling my next album, my first album actually, would be “Love Don’t Be Silent.” The whole concept of “Love Don’t Be Silent” is that I believe that when you give love a voice, then you put an end to stuff like poverty and human trafficking. I believe that stuff exists now, because we choose to keep love silent. That’s just a big thing that I want to do is take my music  and do that, and give a voice to the least of these, the people that are suffering and hurting, and just letting America and the whole world know about it, and to choose to give love a voice and to help out these people.

AG: So, that voice. Did you inherit it from one of your parents? Or I know there are some people that don’t have musical parents, and they have amazing voices.
RG: Well, both of my parents sing. My dad, growing up in Mexico, had a band in Monterrey, that’s where my parents are from. As a youngster, he had a band. I believe I got that from my family. Both of my brothers are also musical. My little brother is actually the Musical Director here for the Youth and Young Adult Department at Lakewood Church, and then my older brother plays, you know, guitar and sings, so I’ve always been surrounded by music. I didn’t really discover I could sing until I was 15 years old.
AG: How did that happen?
RG: It just… by chance. Really, it’s a funny story. Me and my brother and my cousin and some dudes, you know, at church, just trying to be rock stars for some reason, and in a church of all places, why would you want to be a rock star there? But we just, we did a song for offering, as a special, and from that day on, it took off kind of.  I started to sing with the church group more often, and then began to lead, and it just took off after that, from just doing it one time, doing it for fun. I still do it for fun now, but now it’s just even better, I guess.

AG: Awesome. So is there anything else you think the people of Houston need to know about Idol or about you? Anything you’re looking forward to from watching the show? Do you watch it?
RG: I haven’t had a chance, because I’ve been at Lakewood Church working a lot lately. We have a special event coming up on February 24th, in our main auditorium. I’m going to be singing, and it’ll be my first time singing coming back since American Idol. So I’ve just been busy with that, getting with the band and coming up with some creative ideas. But I plan on watching it. I know it’s on my DVR, I just need to catch up on everything. The main thing that I want, when people think about me and think about American Idol, is about my story, about overcoming, and hopefully it inspires people to overcome some stuff and to go after their dreams and to dream big. You know, they didn’t really show my, they didn’t show my performance in Hollywood Week at all.
AG: I noticed that.
RG: Yeah, I was a bit bummed for that. I mean, I wanted to hear myself (laughs). It’s all good. But they did show me say one big thing, and it’s what I’ve been about. I said, “My best days are still out ahead of me,” and I really believe that. So people remember me, about American Idol, and I would rather them not remember that I got cut in Hollywood, but rather that I’m a guy that has overcome some stuff and hopefully inspire them to overcome some stuff and to dream big and pulley for big things.

AG: Well thank you so much for your time, it was great speaking to you. Good luck with everything in the future, and like I said before, congratulations, you have a beautiful voice.
RG: Likewise, thank you so much.

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