Ishmael Perez


Born in the summer of 1988, Ishmael is the oldest of two siblings. By age 6, he had been heavily stewed in the musical likes of Santana, The Doors, Gypsy Kings, etc… By way of his father’s record collection, he would absorb the musical textures that would shortly after serve as inspiration to pick up the guitar.

By age 7, he was given his first guitar: a hand-me -down miniature wooden guitar, painted black with a construction screw for a nut and a built in amplifier at the base. The sound of the 9volt operated toy guitar distorting through the 2-inch speaker was his introduction to chasing tone.

When he was 12 years old, he moved with his family of 5 from his childhood home in Mission Hills to live with his Grandparents, Aunt, Uncle, and Cousin in North Hollywood. As he lived with many personalities and dramas, he picked up a little bit of everything from those around him. Most importantly, he picked up his first real electric guitar: a semi-hollow body Epiphone, which was borrowed from his older cousin who had taken up Flamenco Guitar. Though the Chuck Berry-esk guitar was bigger than him at the time, he was driven to practice every day and exercised the “play it by ear” technique by listening to songs he heard on the radio.

By the time he reached high school, he was bringing along a guitar just about everywhere he went. He and his younger brother (who had taken up bass) would play along to favorite songs, hosting jam sessions with friends from the neighborhood. Writing music, recording, practicing, and performing local shows became second nature. By 17, he began to sing and play guitar as a frontman in a local rock band. At last, he was to play the blues and rock circuit in Hollywood (B.B. Kings Place, The Knitting Factory, The Viper Room, The Key Club were among those first venues). Most of which the band wasn’t legally of age to enter. They would often stand outside for the duration of the night until minutes before showtime when they would be escorted by security to the stage.

Shortly after, he had landed a full time position at Capitol Records in Hollywood. He held down a manual labor job for years to afford a live/work studio space in The Arts District of Downtown Los Angeles. There, with his studio in place, he had been influenced by the local jazz, blues, and psychedelic acts playing from the Downtown neighborhood up through Sunset Blvd. Encouraged by the artists he was hearing and meeting, he began to play various bars, venues, art shows, and events all across town. During this time, he began learning analog tape techniques and playing organ & electric piano.

Now residing in Hollywood, Ishmael is a full time freelance musician playing and singing the musical styles of funk, soul, rock n’ roll, and rhythm & blues. He is currently working on producing a debut album of original material that is scheduled for release Summer of 2019.