Jose Ruiz may seem like your average student at the University of South Florida, but it turns out, there is a little more behind the music major than meets the eye.
“He is actually the first student from USF to be nominated for any sort of GRAMMY,” Dr. McCormick, a USF professor who has worked with Ruiz for over 20 years, said.
At just 28-years-old, Ruiz has been nominated to win a Latin GRAMMY in the category of Best Latin Jazz Album.
“I first met Jose when he was 8. He was in the third grade. He’s always been very diversified in his musical interests,” McCormick said.
“Going in this project, it was never about me. I wanted to be inclusive and invite my students as well and even my dad, my dad who has been there for me this whole time. He’s nominated now because he was one of the producers, you know, of the album,” Ruiz said.
Jose earned his Bachelors in Music Studies at USF. After travelling to the University of Miami for his Master’s Degree, he returned to USF to teach students while also earning his Ph.D. in Music Education.
“Dr. McCormick, that’s her name. She’s responsible for teaching me how to be an expressive player through an instrument,” Ruiz said. “And my father is responsible for cultivating my innate ability to adapt to different musical settings and to improvise and to pick things up by ear.”
The 2015 Latin GRAMMY’S will be held this November in Las Vegas.