• Franchesca Melendez

When Talent Meets Opportunity

How Instagram guitarist Mario Herrera toured with Bad Bunny

The concert:

Adrenaline, flashing lights, screaming fans, that's all Mario Herrera remembers from his first performance with Bad Bunny. As Mario tells it, the entire experience was unbelievable.


Photo Credit: César Berríos

Behind the scenes:

Cuban born and Puerto Rican raised, Mario’s passion for the guitar is grounded in his culture and love of blues and jazz. At age 15, Mario picked up a guitar for the first time and learned to play by watching YouTube videos and taking beginner jazz lessons from a friend.


Influenced by great musicians such as B.B. King, Miles Davis, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, and moved by the soulfulness of blues; Mario’s music pays tribute, while putting a fresh spin on the genre. Scrolling through Mario’s Instagram you can listen to jazz and blues inspired original pieces, along with song covers of artists like John Mayer, Chance the Rapper, and J Balvin.


“I went from playing for my Instagram and for no one to playing for 17,000 people--It’s quite a feeling.”

But one artist took notice and that changed everything. One morning, Mario woke up to hundreds of notifications on his phone. Shocked and confused, Mario opened his Instagram to find out that Bad Bunny had reposted his cover of “Otra noche en Miami” (Another night in Miami). In just one week Mario went from 600 Instagram followers to over 2000.



Fast forward:

Just two days before the concert Mario received the most life changing message of his life. A random producer wanted him to do a weekend gig. At first Mario turned him down, then the name Bad Bunny was dropped and just like that Mario’s schedule opened up.


When it came time to go on stage, adrenaline and years of practice got him through the performance. The show was crazy and the experience unreal. Three nights of thousands of screaming fans and the opportunity to be on stage with Bad Bunny himself was incredible. By the third night Mario finally started to believe what others had long noticed, he’s pretty damn good at what he does!


The morning after:

It was 1:00 AM on a Monday when Mario finished three days of performing and got home, only to shower and hit the books again. Did I mention that Mario’s a law student? But opportunity waits for no one, Bad Bunny’s concert fell on midterm week so midterms would have to wait. When asked how his exams turned out he said, “You never know with law school. I couldn’t tell you if I am going to pass my midterms, but what I can tell you is that if I don’t, I am happy because I did something that was amazing...maybe I don’t pass my midterms, but I just did a three-day concert with 17,000 people watching me--I think that’s successful.”


One thing is certain, this is just the beginning for Mario.


To hear Mario’s music follow him on Instagram



Blog contributors:

Victoria Melendez, Angelica Melendez and Franchesca Melendez

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