Prescribing rhythm & blues


Photo courtesy of NIEMAN GATUS

Class of 2011 alumnus Nieman Gatus (center) performs R&B music, recording singles such as “Planes.”

Samyuktha Vellaiyan, staff writer

Many Diamond Bar High School students consider pursuing a medical career as the key to success in the future. However, alumnus Nieman Gatus disproves that stereotype.

After quitting his path toward a job in the medical field, he has become a successful R&B singer.

Gatus, a class of 2011 Brahma, has released more than 15 singles and featured many of his friends and relatives in his various music videos. His singles, “Planes,” and “Why Him” featured his cousin, Moira Dela Torre, past contestant of “The Voice of the Philippines.” Another single, “Why do I Still?” featuring May Angeles, hit No. 8 in the Spotify top charts in April 2016.

“Being able to see my music reaching places all around the world is amazing,” Gatus said. “I can’t believe something meaningful for me is being shared and liked by people worldwide.”

Unlike many R&B artists, Gatus’s songs include a mixture of R&B and pop, just like the R&B artist Daniel Caesar. His songs convey exhilarating beats and empowering lyrics, such as the song “Why Him?”while portraying the message of seeing your ex-partner more content with another person.

In addition to the euphonious tunes, his other songs present melodious acoustics and meaningful lyrics, as shown in the song, “Planes,” which conveys the different stages of a relationship.

“Each song is very different, and it conveys my thoughts and heart, whether it be about what I’m going through in life or in relationships,” Gatus said.

Gatus picked up singing in 7th grade and began acting while participating in children’s plays at his church. During his time at DBHS, he took part in drama, wrote his own songs and performed them at rallies and local venues. Though high school gave Gatus an opportunity to share his passion, college opened new doors for his career as he met his engineer, Wyatt Boskey, and producer and instrumentalist, Nick Pacoli, who have helped him made his music prosper.  

“College helped me gain a bigger network for making R&B music,” said Gatus. “I am thankful for my producer, Wyatt, who helped me and gave me the opportunity of having a studio and my producer, Nick Pacoli, without whom I would not be the same artist as I am today.”

His process of creating music varies each time. Most recently, his producer gave him a basic structure for the song. Gatus would then build on the music by creating lyrics. Finally, the producer would build around his a capella with background music.

While Gatus is currently dedicated to his love for music, the career path that he intended to pursue out of high school was medicine. Originally, he decided to declare a biology major, but his love for the arts far surpassed his interest for the biology field.

He ended up changing his major and graduated as a film major from Chapman University, since he had enjoyed film production since middle school.

“I switched because I wasn’t passionate about Bio,” Gatus said. “I wanted to pursue something I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”

During his stay at DBHS, Gatus meet multiple influential teachers who shaped him into the more outgoing, confident singer he is today. He credits French teacher Tony Tietz for helping him become a stronger singer. Gatus stated that while he was in his class, Tietz discovered Gatus’s talents, and made him sing in front of the class.

“Always listen to Mr. Tietz. He made me reach out of my comfort zone and helped me to become who I am now,” Gatus said.

Gatus advises high school students to stay true to their ambition and seek a career in something you dream of doing.

“Don’t be afraid to pursue what you want to pursue. If you are passionate about something, then you should go do it for yourself.”