A dreamer boy with a pencil
Born in Valencia, Venezuela, Gustavo Enrique Ortega, better known as Gus, fell in love with storytelling at a young age. Through music he found a way to tell narratives that could resonate with people, inspiring his journey as an artist.
“The dream started when I was 5 years old,” Ortega said. “It wasn’t until I was about 11 years old though that I began to write, compose and create rhythms; it was the evolution that brought me to where I am today.”
After moving to Miami from Venezuela at the age of 15, Ortega has not only embraced American culture, but also continued to represent his roots through his music. While living in Doral, Florida, Ortega became a rising Latin music star with more than 300,000 monthly Spotify listeners.
The College Music Society shared that many leading U.S magazines or newspapers have started to report regularly on the wave of Latin music, Latin performers and recording companies. Publications such as Record World and Billboard now publish charts of current Latin American hit records. According to Billboard, Latin consumers are leading the way in digital music streaming.
Through social media, Ortega built a connection with his fans and followers, which allows him to write songs that relate to his audience on a deeper level and highlight his country’s values.
The Venezuelan singer said he had many different motivating figures in different seasons of his life. What ultimately inspired his type of music was the love he had for R&B, specifically artists such as Daniel Caesar, Frank Ocean and The 1975.
“The way I express myself represents my country and my culture,” Ortega said. “But the sounds I use to do so are more American-like.”
Growing up, Ortega was a very emotional and intentional person, which he says was not so common in his circle of friends. Still, he was able to push away the fear of what others would think of his music and be vulnerable through his lyrics.
He wrote and recorded his first song on his computer in his bedroom, enjoying his comfort space to freely write and produce, not needing a big studio like many other artists.
Ortega explained that many of his songs are driven from personal experiences or emotions. He essentially wants to write a story that is specific and unique, yet speaks to people in a relatable way. He said he believes that even the most personal thoughts can be universal feelings that can be shared.
Ortega’s first song was published on SoundCloud, then he had his “breakthrough” in 2020. He started to receive recognition after a few famous Latin artists noticed his music, one of them being Danny Ocean, who added Ortega’s song “frio” to a Spotify playlist.
He also had the opportunity to collaborate with other rising artists, such as Yorghaki, a childhood friend.
He said the best recognition he receives is the one from his peers, who constantly encourage him to follow this dream. He uses his Instagram to share his life experiences and build an authentic relationship with those who support him, which increases his sphere of influence.
While being a pop artist and pursuing a music career, Ortega finished a communications degree at Florida International University. He wants to keep making his family proud, and work hard to accomplish the goals he knows he’s capable of reaching.
"Life is short so you have to make it meaningful," Ortega said. “Whatever it is that you want to do — do it. That is your luxury, that is your passion.”
Wanting to continue to be a strong point of reference in music for both the American and Latin community, Ortega can’t wait to keep sharing his passion with his fans and followers, whom he calls friends, using his platform to inspire them to follow their dreams no matter the circumstances.
“I want to do something that when I go to sleep at night, I feel proud that I did it,” Ortega said. “That is the ultimate dream.”
By Daniella Parra