Unexpected Guest: Bobby Pulido makes surprise Zoom appearance

Two dozen music majors at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley got some real-world advice on how to write good songs when Bobby Pulido showed up Monday morning in their Zoom class on music theory.

“Originally he was going to talk for maybe five or 10 minutes, but he ended up speaking with my students for a good 45 minutes, so it was quite a treat,” Rachel Mann, assistant professor of music theory, said.

Pulido, from Edinburg, is a well-known Tejano music star whose hits include “Desvelado” in 1995, “Ensename,” “Llegaste a mi Vida” and others.

Mann said students asked questions about how to write good songs and new melodies.

“He talked about it from scratch, how you have to have flexibility. Starting with a ballad you can turn it into a cumbia, ranchera or corrido. There’s lots of things you can do,” she said, adding that one thing in particular stood out to her during the session.

“He said songs don’t come to you through your ears. They come to you through your feet because you feel them. … His very first song ‘Desvelado’ had already been written and he thought it was kind of korny, but he was talking about songwriting and how — to make your song good — it has to have a hook and have it early on, in the first minute or minute and a half — and it has to be catchy,” she said.

She added that her students are music majors and her course is required.

“I think my students gained a lot from it. They had quite a few questions. They were asking marketing questions. Quite a few of them are in ‘bandas.’ His advice was to stay humble. Humility is a great teacher. Several students gig — that’s how they make money outside of school. He was able to offer advice to them,” she said.

“And I think some students are just fans, so they were excited,” she added. “He said his job is bringing people together. We can’t do that right now, but he hopes he can bring people together again in the future.”