At the age of four when Josu Ortiz (José Humberto) was in elementary school, his first teacher told his mother to get him into music lessons after she noticed he was constantly tapping the table. A year later, Ortiz became a member of the children’s choir at school. At age eight, he became interested in learning how to play the cuatro, a Venezuelan instrument. After a while, he and some other kids started an ensemble directed by their teacher, and their band played on a TV show. This experience, together with multiple other performance opportunities, made him realize that he wanted to take music more seriously.
In 2009, Ortiz joined Sgrupo, a private party band in which he had the opportunity to be both pianist and band director. He was in charge of the musical part of parties and chose the repertoire that was to be played in addition to discussing logistics with clients. With Sgrupo, he had gig opportunities in Caracas, Venezuela and many other cities, and he also traveled to Panama, Curaçao, and Aruba.
Ortiz was a member of Sgrupo until 2013, when he decided to make the biggest decision of his musical career thus far: coming to study at Berklee College of Music.
Watch Ortiz perform "AfroCuban #2":