SAN ANTONIO – He plays baseball, rides go karts and loves all sports -- sounds like your typical 5-year-old boy, right? Just wait until Mateo Lopez starts singing; that’s when everyone realizes there’s a huge gift inside such a small person.
“He truly is a gift from God,” Mateo’s mother, Janelle Lopez, said.
The little mariachi has had quite a year.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I think all this would come from one video,” his mother said.
After serenading his mother at Mi Tierra, Mateo’s singing video went viral, leading him to be featured on “Mexico’s Got Talent” and NBC’s “Little Big Shots.”
“It’s an indescribable feeling,” Mateo’s father, Albert Lopez, said. “To see him in his traje, and I used to be so embarrassed by it.”
What makes this story even more beautiful is that Mateo and his sister have brought back the mariachi music to the Lopez family, following in the footsteps of their grandfather, who played the trumpet.
“I grew up on the West Side of San Antonio and we would get called names as first generation Mexicans, so I wanted nothing to do with Mexico or its music,” Albert said.
Albert may not have embraced his father’s love for mariachi music, but now he has a son who is taking the world by storm with his passion for the culture and for the mariachi music that was once an embarrassment to his father.
“It makes me happy,” Mateo said.
“It’s brought me back,” Albert said. “It amazes me how such a small person can have such a big impact on so many people.”
The family said even though Mateo has never met his late grandfather, they have a special connection.
“He’s even told me he wants to go back to Guadalajara, Mexico to sing with Papi Chulo (his grandfather), and he’s never even been there or met him," Janelle says.
His father says the two even share the same look.
“My mom sees it, too -- the way he looks at you. It’s my dad,” Albert said.
The question now is: what’s next?
“As long as it makes him happy, we will keep supporting him,” Janelle said. “I don’t think San Antonio even realizes the impact he’s already having on others.”