Beto Hale - A Life In Music

Beto Hale was born in Mexico City. He started playing “drums” (meaning “whatever was within his reach and he could hit with whatever he could grab”) around the time he could talk. He got his first drum set when he was eight. He taught himself to play listening to Beatles albums he had found in the shelves of his lovely home. When he was around 11, he joined a local band, which played a few cool gigs, including at the U.S. Ambassador's residence. He also dabbled in guitar, an instrument he later became quite good at...

Beto dabbling in guitar, age 3-ish.

 

 

And here's Beto, age 8, playing his first drum set (a gift from his mom) on the balcony of his house in Mexico City, “serenading” the neighbors who, amazingly, never called the police and always were gracious and supportive of the music of ever-increasing volume emanating from Beto's house. (Notice the required Casio watch on Beto's left wrist).

During his middle and high school years at E.S.P.C.M. (now Colegio Ciudad de México), Beto played with a band who called themselves El Gru-Po (you figure it out), and several other outfits.

 

Here's Beto with the lovely Alejandra Murga (A.K.A. “Winnie”) on vocals, Jorge Ceja (R.I.P.) on keys, and Gonzalo Díaz-Infante on drums. They were performing some songs by the Spanish band Mecano. The photo was most likely taken by Beto's dad, Eduardo, a tireless supporter of his musical endeavors.

 

 

Upon graduation, Beto was recruited by Jorge Ceja to tour as a keyboardist with the enormously popular teen-pop singing group Timbiriche. Beto was to replace Aureo Baqueiro, now a famous producer of Latin Pop albums, who was on his way to Berklee.

A product of the geniuses at Televisa, Timbiriche was one more incredibly successful product manufactured by a company where stars are streamlined with more precision than bagels at a Jewish deli in Brooklyn.

Here he is with Timbiriche, complete with 80's mullet, backing up mega-stars Bibi Gaytán, Paulina Rubio, and Edith Márquez, in Puebla, México...

 

Beto toured all over Mexico with the group, and after a short but intense stint, he decided to get serious about music, and enrolled at the small, exclusive, and prestigious C.IE.M. music school in San Jerónimo, one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Mexico City. There, under the direction of María Antonieta Lozano, he studied composition, harmony, ear training, piano, guitar, drums, voice, history of western music, and many other subjects, including, “How to Survive as an Avant-garde Composer and  Burger Flipper, 101”.

After three and a half years of intense study (and having gone through the heartbreaking loss of his dear father to Lou Gherig's disease), Beto felt ready to, at last, fulfill one of his lifelong dreams:  attending Berklee College of Music, in Boston, MA, a place, physically, culturally and weather-ly (is that a word?) that could not be further from Mexico City. 

So, he sent in his application and recorded a demo using the latest technology (yes, a Tascam Porta-One MINISTUDIO, of course!!) and sent it to Berklee, in the hopes of getting a scholarship... Which he did...

 

On precisely August 26th, 1992, Beto left his adored country of birth and arrived, full of hopes and illusions, to Boston, MA. After a nice and long Autumn season that lasted exactly four and a half days, Beto found himself freezing his face off, and quickly learned how to protect himself from the cold: stay inside, at all times!  This proved to be a great tool for doing what you must at Berklee: practice, practice, practice, practice -eat, sleep- practice, practice, practice, and, yes, practice!

Here's Beto, recording in a couple of “early morning” sessions, during the wonderful time slots afforded to freshmen... 2-6 AM!

 

At Berklee, overwhelmed by the choices available, Beto decided to double-major in Songwriting and Performance (drum set). The performance and recording opportunities at Berklee were incredible. Beto got to share the stage with some of today's most outstanding musicians, many of which are close friends to this day; among them, Antonio Sánchez (drummer for Pat Metheny, and the Grammy winning composer for the film Birdman), Cheche Alara (currently on tour with Barbra Streisand), and Alex Mercado (outstanding Mexican jazz pianist), to name just a handful.

The experience opened Beto's mind, ears and heart, and he will always remember the Berklee years as some of the best of his life. But, when he graduated (with honors, of course), he could not wait to get out of “Beantown”. So, after four years of endless nights (literally: the sun goes down at 3 PM), mountains of snow, and an excessive amount of Red Sox fans, the next logical step was to move to the relaxed, low-key, stress-free, friendly, warm and sunny, creative haven of New York City.

So, while looking for opportunities at the Berklee Career Center, Beto found an internship at a small recording studio in the heart of Manhattan: KMA. Michael Case Kissel (R.I.P.) received Beto with open arms and while there, Beto recorded a whole host of interesting people, including Laura Branigan (of “Gloria” fame) and many others. Through KMA, he met members of the band “The Cogs” a pop/punk band he soon joined. He played innumerable gigs with the band in the Tri-State area, and also recorded a full length album, Viva!   with them at the famed Avatar Studios. Here's one of the tunes, “No Expectations”, on which Beto played drums and sang backup vocals.

As exciting and inviting as it was, New York City proved to be a great place to starve too –what with 10 dollar an hour jobs and $1.50-a-pop subway rides– so, after receiving a call to join the editorial offices of Músico Pro magazine in Boulder, Colorado, Beto accepted to interview for the job and was hired, moving to Colorado to start all over again.

At Músico Pro, Beto quickly moved up the corporate ladder, becoming Editor-in-Chief, a position he held for six years. During his tenure, he interviewed some of his musical heroes, such as Stewart Copeland, Andy Summers, and the Holy Trinity...Not THAT one, THIS one! 

[RUSH themselves signed the cover of Músico Pro for Beto]. 

Some other artists Beto interviewed include Alejandro Sanz, Poncho Sánchez, Chick Corea, Pat Martino, El Tri, Julieta Venegas, Café Tacuba, and Tony Levin.

Beto also got to review tons of gear, from microphones, guitars and drum sets, to plug-ins, synths and sound modules.

Sometimes the editorial staff got a little behind in reviewing the enormous amount of gear they received; here's Beto, in 1999, finally checking out this Teponaztli, which was sent to him sometime around 1520 by His Majesty, emperor Cuahutémoc, for the “Lo Último” section of the magazine.

 

 

Thanks to his reputation as a bilingual music instrument and technology “expert”, companies in the industry started hiring Beto to translate users manuals, websites and promotional material from English to Spanish, which led to the founding of Let's Mexam Music, Inc. in 1999. The company's client roster includes Peavey, Korg, Latin Percussion and PreSonus, to name just a few.  

During his nine years in Colorado, Beto played with several bands, from “jam” style outfits, to wedding bands to experimental rock groups. He also recorded his first two full-length solo albums, Sube and American Mythology. Both bilingual CDs received rave reviews from English and Spanish language publications. (To read some of these reviews, visit the Press/Reviews page). Beto played numerous gigs promoting these albums, both in Mexico and the US.

Here's Beto with his Denver band at The Soiled Dove, promoting Sube: Dave “Pump” Solzberg on bass; Al Wilson -who later toured for many years with Taylor Swift- on drums, Gerry Porraz on keys, and Dan Freedman on guitar. 

And here's Beto with his Mexico City band at the famed El Lunario venue, promoting American Mythology

 

During his last year at Músico Pro, Beto enrolled in the prestigious Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver to pursue a Masters in Music, which he obtained in 2006. At DU, Beto composed music for full symphony orchestra, big band and small jazz ensembles. 

In 2007, Beto moved to Los Angeles, the city he still calls home. There, he has collaborated with some outstanding musicians and producers, including Pablo Suñé, Pablo Munguía, Alexis Sklarevski, and others. He has also studied with a who's who of LA teachers, such as vocalist Rosemary Butler, drummer Denny Seiwell, and composer/arranger/bandleader Brent Fischer

In 2012, Beto released Rebirth, a 10-song collection which features Tony Levin playing bass on all songs. The album includes “Fire Away” and “Come As You Are”, two singles that hovered in the top 40 for several weeks in college and commercial stations across the US. It was co-produced by Beto and CJ Boggs, a longtime collaborator and friend from the Colorado days. The album also features Marc Mann on guitar.

Beto promoted the album performing several gigs in Mexico City with his band: David García on bass, and Felipe Souza Sr. and Jr. on guitars. Another incarnation featured Marcelo Berestovoy on guitar. The video section of this website contains several clips of those shows.

In 2016 Beto completed the construction of a gorgeous state-of-the-art facility, Los Olivos Recording Studios. The facility, designed and built by Kaufman and Associates, is a dream come true. This is where Beto will record all his new music, collaborating with LA's -and the world's- top songwriting, performing, and producing talent. The studio will also cater to an exclusive clientele in the music, film, TV and Web-streaming industries.

His latest album, “Orbs of Light” was released on 9/15/2017 to incredible critical reception.