Success in a beat


It would seem that drummer Daniel Ruiz had the beat from an early age. Growing up in Bogotá, Colombia, he would bang on pots and pans in his grandparents' home along to salsa rhythms and indigenous cumbia music.

He moved from the kitchen to playing in bands before moving to Vancouver in 2005 at 18 to finish high school and onto Vancouver Community College.

During his time at VCC, Daniel impressed his instructors with his passion for learning, hard work and focus on his craft to make it right, which led to a number of awards. He completed his Music Diploma in 2009 and later his Bachelor in Applied Music in 2012, majoring in drums and percussion and minoring in vibraphone.

Daniel Ruiz, one of 1,300 VCC musicians who built this city.

After graduating, playing, creating and teaching music would soon fill Daniel's days and nights. In addition to subbing for jazz quartets and R&B/funk bands such as Synthcake, Aunts and Uncles, Sorry Buttons, We Just Stole a Car, White Blood Cells—often collaborating with his former VCC instructors and classmates—he joined Vancouver tropical indie-pop band BESTiE, formed in 2012.

Daniel's easy going attitude, perpetual smile and upbeat persona fit in well with BESTiE whose influences include "summer, ice cream, the beach, girls, floating down a river in an inner tube, high fives and heart break." His seemingly perpetual smile is no doubt a reflection of the fun he's having—he's been known to wear a furry purple dinosaur costume while performing—and the joy he gets from sharing his talents with others, whether on stage or teaching percussion.

Always improvising and innovating, he still "plays" pots and pans—along with a range of instruments—and water bottles, as part of his solo "adventure" project called DRuiz, showcasing his creativity and versatility as a musician.

Daniel attributes his time at VCC with giving him the tools to be able to communicate musically with different players with different backgrounds, and the ability to use his "feel" and improvisational skills without holding back.

In 2014 Daniel was a recipient of a VCC Outstanding Alumni Award in the 'One to Watch' category. In a video produced for his award Daniel comments, "With music there's no limit to what's there to achieve. There's always going to be a next step." While he's working in an industry that is tough to find success and recognition in, no doubt Daniel's fans can look forward to watching him for many years to come and being entertained by his next musical steps.

 

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For 50 years Vancouver Community College has built up the thousands of tradespeople and artisans whose talent, innovation and achievement make our city what it is today.