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San Antonio's 'Mariachi kid' becomes world-record-holding artist | Kids Who Make SA Great

Mateo Lopez thought he was flying to Italy to perform. But his parents didn't tell him it was for his induction into the Guinness Book of World Records.

SAN ANTONIO — In February, when he flew to Milan, Italy, Mateo Lopez had no idea that a world record awaited him. At 7 years old, he's the Guinness Book of World Record's youngest professional mariachi singer.

"I've been working so much to get here, and I'm so happy and so excited that I finally got to reach here," Mateo said.

The Wanke Elementary School student got a rousing send-off from his school family at Northside ISD. But his parents, Alberto and Janelle Lopez hid how the trip to Italy was for the honor.

"To start out at 4 years old and to do what he has done already in three years," she said. "I still can't wrap my mind around it." 

Lopez remembers her son belting out Mariachi music in local restaurants as the Mariachi played music. His child-cloaked and gutsy performances landed him on KENS 5, dubbed the 'Mariachi Kid.'

He had brought tears to his mother's eyes, singing the national anthem at four. Now, he picks out all of the music in his 23-song repertoire, and the national anthem is the only English song he performs.

"I grew three years," he said.

Not only did he grow three years, but the demand for him to appear took off, too.

"I mean, what parent wouldn't be proud of their son creating such a legacy and doing what he's doing," Lopez said.

Mateo competed on Mexico's Got Talent, and he booked an appearance on Little Big Shots. He got asked to perform with mariachi legends at concerts like Mariachi Vargas over a three-year span.

"He's done so much," Lopez said. "And when you talk to him, he's just a natural kid." 

The young record holder, like most kids, can be unfiltered fun. He's poised, charismatic and humorously honest.

"Sometimes I mess up. I'm not lying," he said. "And I forget some things do."  

His parents said the singing is not forced; it's something Mateo enjoys. They said when he doesn't want to do it, he can. The young singer is enjoying it so much, he's expanding his range.

"He does guitar, his vocals, his acting lessons," Lopez said. "But I think for being a 7-year-old, I don't think he'll understand the magnitude of what all he is doing." 

Mateo is also taking piano lessons and may start playing the violin like his older sister, who performed with him in Italy.

"I sing Mariachi. I have good soccer skills," he said. "I play football, and I am the pitcher in baseball, and I'm really good at baseball."  

His trip to Milan was a surprise victory in a young career. Mateo's parents remember skimming through the pages of Guinness to see some of the records when they were younger. 

Of course, the couple had no idea they'd give birth to a son who would get into the pages. They are admittedly shaky when he hits the stage, and his mother has still not mastered her nerves when he sings.

"I think I'm more nervous for him than he is going out, and he's the one that's going in front of thousands of people to perform," she said.

When he puts on his traje, Mateo says he feels excited, brave, and strong.

"I'm ready to get up there and sing and not be nervous. Just follow the flow," Mateo said.  

Right before the Guinness honor, Mateo had a frame of fame in a Super Bowl ad for Will Smith's Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reboot called Bel-Air.

Now, the young San Antonian stands alone in the record books.

"That's what makes me proud. And I feel really happy that I'm like the only one person out of like... I don't know... 5,000 million people in the whole world," he said.

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