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An Inside Look on Guitar Teacher Mr. Florez

Within the lively walls of Ferguson’s music hallway lies a multitude of musicians and musicians-in-the-making. One of the teachers tasked with instructing these aspiring artists is Mr. Gabriel Florez, the charismatic guitar teacher whom many students have come to love as they enter and exit his classroom, which has now been immortalized as the subject and title for Mr. Florez’s first song: Room 507.

Different places mean different things to different people, and to Mr. Florez, room 507 isn’t just the place where he teaches; it is the room where he himself learnt to play guitar. Consequently, Room 507 – the song – is a homage to his past as he transitions into becoming an artist.

Mr. Florez, recalling his inspiration for the song, said: “I wanted to pay tribute to my classroom, Room 507. It has had a big impact on my musical career and continues to do so. It was where I learned guitar and where I currently teacher [sic] guitar to others. The classroom has always been there for me these last five years. I’ve had many memorable moments in the room from my time teaching and attending high school.”

The creative process for his breakout song began rather by chance during a regular school day. Particularly though, it began with the song’s first four iconic chords. “The song just came to me one day during class. I sat down at my desk, plugged my guitar into my computer, and noodled around a bit until I found a progression of four chords I liked,” said Mr. Florez.

From then on, the song was slowly built upon for about two to three months in an explosion of creativity and experimentation as different approaches were taken and discarded. With the song’s guitar solo itself has been extensively improved with various skilled techniques. Mr. Florez recollects, “The process of the song was one of joy and passion. I experimented with different harmonic and recording techniques. Ideas flowed easily. When it came to making the guitar solo, I gave it my all. From fast scale runs to wide string bends to screeching high notes. I think I even broke one or 2 strings in the process.”

The track’s unique “feeling” was a product of carefully utilized distortion during some segments of the song; as well as some finishing touches once it was done. “I love RnB and Neo-Soul, but for this track, I wanted to add an edgier vibe to it. By using distortion throughout the song, I was able to contrast the clean guitar sound in the beginning.” “Once it was done, I got it mixed and mastered by a friend of mine in a nearby recording studio called Bay Eight Recording Studios,” said our guitar teacher.

A bit of inspiration was also taken from other artists who Mr. Florez looks up to. He shares, “As I made the song, I was inspired by 2 of my favorite artists, Polyphia and Melanie Faye. The song is a bit of a crossover between the 2.”

Additionally, Room 507’s students also had some input into the song in the form of spontaneous opinions or the occasional requested comment. “As I made the song, my students were always there listening. They would offer their opinions and critique about all the riffs I made. I also asked for their opinions on certain parts of the song and how it made them feel.”

Eventually, the song was completed. And it’s rather appropriate that the first person to have listened to this track was one of Mr. Florez’s guitar teachers. “I think the first person I showed the song to was my private guitar teacher from high school. He was amazed at how far I’ve come as a guitar player. His reaction motivated me to continue writing more music to release,” said Mr. Florez himself.

Mr. Florez described the feeling of having finished the song with a multitude of emotions, “I was feeling everything. Accomplished to be releasing my first official release. Relieved to finish and record all the guitar riffs to my liking. Nervous to upload the song and await feedback from my audience. Excited to finally share my song [with] everybody.”

The song’s release ended up being nothing short of mouth-dropping, and at the time of this article’s writing, the song has amassed over 120k listens on Spotify. “I was on cloud 9. I didn’t think my first release would do so well, especially without much promotion. I was so happy, even after just 10k listens, which was my goal. The cool part was seeing other people learn my song. That meant everything,” retold Mr. Florez.

Room 507’s sudden success also brought a multitude of benefits for Mr. Florez’s career as an artist. He mentioned: “I felt like it really put me on the map as an artist. It grew my following on social media. It opened the door to collaborations with other artists. It led to brand deals/collaborations with music companies.”

Even now, ten months after Room 507’s fantastic release, the future looks as bright as it gets for Mr. Florez’s musical career. Relatively recently, he has published an Acoustic version of Room 507; furthermore, he has also shared an interest in adding lyrics to the original song, saying: “…Many people have hit me up about doing their own versions, but when the right singer comes along, I’ll plan for an official release. I do have a few names in mind.”

Most interestingly however, Mr. Florez is currently working on a brand new song, titled “Heartbreak Loop.” It is primed to adorn this year’s valentine’s day when it releases the week before the 14th, so be sure to give it a listen once it comes out, falcons!

Ultimately, Room 507 was a testament to the skill and passion of Mr. Florez, who alludes that there is much more to come, saying: “This song means the start of something new. The official beginning to my career as an artist.”

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