Be a participant in the new generation of divinely inspired musicians.

Dear friends,
Many of you have seen and followed the musical growth of our son, Ezra Gopal Teixeira Uttal. From the early years of his original rock band, Empire, to his show-stopping, jaw-dropping keyboard solos with me in concert and on my latest recordings. Of course, one can say I’m just a proud poppa, but, really, this boy is a shining talent, filled with soul and passion for his art.

There have been so many beautiful nights at home when Ezra would just play his piano for Nubia and I - heart wrenching raga-like improvisations, old school jazz ballads and lilting Cuban songs. Every few moments he would look over at us to check if we were listening and HOW we were listening. And there were also so many late night conversations about music and it’s effect on people’s hearts, as well as discussions on theory, performance and the difficult but beautiful life of a musician.

So, needless to say, we were all super excited when Ezra was accepted to Musicians Institute in Hollywood, an amazing private college with a long alumni list of brilliant and successful musical artists, producers and pioneers - the perfect place for Ezra. (And not so far from his parents!!) The application process was very demanding - tons of videos with no edits allowed. But he pulled it off with aplomb and a smile on his cute and handsome young man’s face.

Now is the time for Nubia and I to get serious and figure out how we can pay for this wonderful young musician’s education. College is very expensive these days and we just don’t have the money! Some might say “You’re famous! I listen to you all the time on Spotify! How can you not be rich?” But the reality is that Spotify pays $.0036 per stream. One can easily do that math and see the predicament that I and thousands of other musicians find ourselves in!!!!

Anyway, I’m not complaining because our life is so beautiful and filled with grace! But we are asking for your help. Please ask your heart and donate whatever you can to turn Ezra’s dream into a reality!

Sincerely, with much love and gratitude,
Jai and Nubia

And here’s what Ezra wrote to the financial aid office of Musicians Institute :

From a very early age I knew that I wanted to be a musician. I didn’t want this as simply a hobby or a sideline - I wanted to be a professional recording, performing and touring artist. Music has run in my family for many generations on both my mother’s and my father’s side. My dad is a Grammy nominated professional musician. (When I was very little I would sit on my father’s lap during many of his performances.) My grandfather was a record producer (he released Al Green’s first album!); and my great grandmother was a renowned cabaret performer in New York in the 1920’s. My mother is a lifelong artist as well, teaching yoga and dance in her native Brazil and in the US for the last 35 years. When I was a baby she used to do her dance performances with me attached to her body in a sling! The sounds of Samba and Bossanova, as well as many regional musical styles from Brazil have been absorbed by me since I was little. So it’s no surprise that music has become my passion and means of self expression.

I started taking piano lessons when I was eight years old and immediately loved the sounds, melodies and chords that came from playing the keys. In fourth grade my best friend and I started a band and called it ‘Empire’. At first we just did covers but very quickly, with the guidance of a great teacher/facilitator, we began writing our own songs. Then came performing at a whole bunch of youth oriented events, which we totally enjoyed. Gradually, we transitioned into small festivals around the Bay Area and Lake Tahoe, and venues such as the Phoenix Theater in Petaluma, California. We’ve released two full length albums and an EP. Although, in our senior year we haven’t been able to focus on the band that much, I’m still really proud of this work. Two of my band members will also be attending Musicians Institue.

About seven years ago, at a concert in London, my father invited me to join him in performance playing the grand piano. Since then I’ve performed in his world music band, The Pagan Love Orchestra, many times and I played all the keyboards on his latest album, ‘Dust & Tears’. It’s been amazing being accepted by and performing with very accomplished adult musicians such as Jose Neto, Peter Apfelbaum and Jeff Cressman.

Some of the musicians who have inspired me over the years are Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, John Coltrane, Sly and the Family Stone, Buena Vista Social Club, The Band, Leon Russel, Dr. John, Allman Brothers Band, and my father, Jai Uttal. 

My parents have always given me the best of everything. We live in a rented house in the beautiful Bay Area; I’ve taken regular music lessons since I was a kid, I have great musical equipment, and we always eat good home cooked food. It’s only as I’ve gotten older that I’ve seen how much they’ve struggled to give this to me and how each month they’re just barely able to make the rent. We’re in the process of moving now because of the greed of our landlord of 12 years. Anyway, I’m not saying this for sympathy, but just in the hope that I, as a person of color and the first in my family to go to college, will be able to give back to them, and to the extremely supportive community that has surrounded me from day one. This, of course, includes all my relatives in Brazil, from my grandma, to my aunts and uncles and to all my cousins.

All this is to simply say that music is my passion and clearly my life’s path. While my skills have grown greatly over the last couple of years, I know I still have a lot to learn and experience. I hope that by attending Musicians Institute these skills will grow and flourish and that I can then have the tools to be a successful performing, touring and recording artist and composer. I also really look forward to meeting and playing with the many talented and committed musicians who will be attending the Institute. I hope that, over the years to come, I’ll be able to support many great artists as well as having bands of my own. 

In closing, I really look forward to becoming part of the Musicians Institute community and I really hope I will be considered for this scholarship to make my dream of a musical education and career a reality.

Ezra Uttal

Fundraising team (1)

Nubia Maria Teixeira
Forest Knolls, CA
Jai Uttal
Team member
Raised $28,153 from 131 donations

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