When I was a young boy I remember reading Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” and finding myself profoundly surprised by the first lines of the novel as if it was a prophecy, asking for who would later become the most legendary character, a paradigm of the world that she dreamed: “Who is John Galt?” Without a doubt and with the same confidence that he can distinguish between talent and improvisation, natural and artificial, I must start these lines asking: Who is Julian de la Chica? If we must say something about “the piano vagabond”, as the audience calls him, it is that even his life looks like a myth, some legend or fiction. He’s a real character, and his life is more than anything a series of nonequivalent realities, and when he puts it out there, we can see a thousand perspectives of multiple dimensions. Through his own personal experiences, Julian takes us to different places, stories and travels that personify a certain theme for a novel, and maybe that’s why (intentionally or not) he reached to become that character that a lot of people dream about. But he has also reached the moral line of the legendary “Hero of Rand”, and he simply had always displayed only his true self and his passion for his work through his utmost dedication, effort and imagination.
This incredible commitment is what separates a genius from an average person. His romance with music started when he was 4 years old, and started learning to playing the piano through private lessons with well-renowned music professor Martha londono, who taught him everything in regards to vocals and the musical alphabet. Soon after he improved his technique and solfeggio with other professors until he entered the University of the Arts for children and started to receive lessons from the great Olga Gonzalez. However, it was not until the age of 7 where Julian started his true artistic journey with his first debut performance. He remembers, “my feet couldn’t reach the pedals” and had to wear a tuxedo that his mom rented for $2 from a costume shop.
Then came the concerts, which was a in fact a rare mix of the life of a child and that of a prodigy that was being recognized and celebrated by his talent: in school events, in music competitions, Christmas and New Year acts, in which we would find Julian living the reason why he was brought into this world in the first place. His first grand performance came when he was only 14 years old in a fully booked auditorium with more than 2000 people. His performances mainly included classic compositions, and during those times Julian was very influenced by romantic opera composers, particularly Beethoven. Even then you could have already visualized the variations and the style that eventually would define a true genius.
As his career began and flourished without limits or barriers, Julian started to define his artistic side and find the right way of communication that he has always wanted to achieve with his to reach that goal he needed to find a new sound. Even if it wasn’t completely new, he knew that it would be much more personable. Julian’s “kid-prodigy” status eventually reached the ears of the local government in his native Colombia and was invited to participate in a concert for “La Copa America”, the American soccer cup in Manizales, giving homage to the most important local newspaper in town, as well. This concert took place out in the open under a star-lit sky, and he was given the title of one of the pioneers in playing a tail-piano.
One anecdote that would leave a deep impact on Julian’s life was the performance in San Cancio Hills, one of the most famous landmarks in the city of Manizales, where he performed “Claire De Lune” on the hilltops on an icy cold night with only his piano as his company and the full moon as his witness. Since then Julian was never the same, and he understood that his music could not just follow the same parameters taken by other artists. After returning home, he was convinced that he would take his art where nobody else has ever taken it before, and that this time there would be no turning back.