When Edgar Quiroz was 8 years old, his mother brought him and his brothers to the United States. The family settled in Telluride and lived, he said, a life typical of many immigrants in the U.S.
“I was the typical immigrant kid,” said Quiroz. “My mom, who is amazing, worked three jobs. Seeing her work daily and come home to take care of us pushed my work ethic in the hopes that I could give her everything she ever wanted plus more.”
Quiroz thrived in his new hometown. As a Telluride High School student, he composed and recorded his own music, performed as SkoolkidD in venues from Colorado to California and, five years ago, founded a record label, La Familia Music Group.
Blending his music with a “day job”, Quiroz has worked for years at the New Sheridan, more recently as a manager at the Chophouse and, since the pandemic, in hotel maintenance.
Married, the 24-year-old lives in Montrose with his wife and two small children.
Now, Quiroz is going back to his Mexican roots and recording a Spanish-language EP.
Due out later this year, it will include a feature from Houston-based Mexican-American rapper Bo Bundy, as well as debut music from Montrose artist K.N.G (King not God).
Quiroz said that the EP will explore a style of music known as trap corridos.
“It’s a new genre that is just blowing up,” said Quiroz, who performs as EQ.
He explained that corridos are traditional Mexican folk ballads that usually rely on a solo accordion or the bajo sexto, a type of 12-string guitar specific to Mexico.
Inspired by life in northern Mexico and along the U.S.-Mexican border, trap corridos is a musical genre that takes the traditional melodies of corridos and adds rap and hip-hop lyrics and beats.
Not only is working in the genre new for EQ as a musician, but rapping in Spanish will be another first.
“I will be way out of my comfort zone,” said EQ, who begins recording this weekend. “I usually rap in English, but I wanted to challenge myself. And, being Mexican, I wanted to go back to my roots and release an EP that is mostly in Spanish.”
He added, “The most complicated part of rapping in Spanish is keeping the rhyme scheme and figuring out words in Spanish that will make sense and are smart and lyrical and still get the picture across. It’s been challenging.”
As well as his EP, Quiroz’s label, La Familia Music Group, has just released a four-song EP by Grand Junction-based signing Enshiloh, a hip-hop artist.
The EP, called “Fictional Scenery” and available across all the main platforms, is “lo-fi hip-hop, which has more of a chilled vibe” than traditional hip-hop, according to Quiroz.
“It’s an incredible EP by an incredible artist and is available across all platforms,” he said. “I always wanted to do something with Enshiloh and promote a musician from the Western Slope.”
Added Quiroz, “It’s funny, he came in with five songs and was worried that one of them wasn’t good enough.”
Like any good industry exec, Quiroz could see that the song, “Deathwish,” was just as good as the others and warranted release as a single.
The tune drops later this summer and will have a music video to go with it.
Quiroz has also opened a recording studio in the Montrose Plaza on Main Street with Carlos Camacho, a longtime friend who invested in the project and helped build the studio.
Quiroz described it as a unique space — there aren’t many music studios to choose from on the Western Slope — with capacity for clients to record music and podcasts.
The studio is available by appointment only and has a La Familia Music Group merchandise store too.
Along with making his EP, releasing Enshiloh’s “Fictional Scenery” and opening the studio, Quiroz found time to record a pandemic-inspired, Spanish-language single called “Enmascarados”, featuring Mexican-American rapper Tony J.
The song title translates as “masked” and the single, he said, aimed to “test the waters” of working in the Spanish language.
Quiroz has also committed himself to writing one song each month, and is promoting a young boxer, Ezequiel “El Lobito” Bustamante, a Montrose teenager described by Quiroz as “focused and passionate.”
Quiroz even sponsors a softball team in Montrose.
“I like to be busy,” he said simply.
He’s not joking. Quiroz is currently working to build sponsorship and the team for a 2022 Grand Junction event called Diversify Art & Music Festival, which will replace the Western Slope Art & Music Showcase, a pre-pandemic gathering that was produced by Quiroz and his team.
And, as EQ, he is performing on July 11 at the Lowrider Super Show in Colorado Springs.
“I’m really excited,” Quiroz said. “It’s a huge event. There will be big acts from out of state. It’s an enormous opportunity.”
The following weekend, he will perform at the Cesar Chavez Celebration Festival, a music and car show held each year at the amphitheatre at Las Colonias Park in Grand Junction.
Quiroz said this is an event that is particularly close to his heart.
“They reached out and asked if I would perform,” he said. “It’s a free event. All you have to do is bring a bag of non-perishable food, which will be donated to immigrant children in Colorado.”
He added, “I want to do everything possible to support this event. It hits home for me. I guess it’s that roots thing again. I was that immigrant kid and now I want to do all I can to help.”
For more on La Familia Music Group, go to lafamiliamusicgroup.com or find them on Facebook or Instagram. To book time in the recording studio contact EQ at 970-765-4489.