MIDLAND, Texas — Tristan Ramos is only 17 but he has big dreams.
He's already a professional musician, a business owner of his band and record company, and to top it off, he finished high school with honors at only 16-years-old.
Ramos started playing the accordion at an early age, and he learned fast enough that he had it down within a year.
"I was about six years old," said Ramos. "It started when we'd go to the festivals. We'd go to festivals a lot. The accordion caught my eye. I was paying attention and it was just me and the accordion. I'd block out the sound and just hear the accordion."
He got so good that he got to perform with Tejano artist AJ Castillo.
"Right after the performance, he says 'How would you like to go on tour with me?' That blew my mind," said Ramos. "I was telling my parents, 'Please, please, please!' They said 'yes' and 'no.' Finally, they came to an agreement and said, 'Let's go do it.' I told them this is my dream, this is what I want to do."
Out of all the accordions he has, a white one with gold touches sits on his shelf. He says this one is his favorite because of the design. When you open it up, you'll see the Virgin Mary.
"They put a Virgin Mary inside for me because I got sick on Dia de la Virgen. That's when I'd play for her. I play once a year. But that day, I got sick. That's when I had to go to brain surgery," said Ramos. "It was one of the scariest moments of my life."
It happened in 2019. That year, Tristan found out he had hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus is an abnormal buildup of fluid in the cavities deep within the brain.
"I woke up one day and my head was really throbbing," said Ramos. "It felt like it was going to burst. Everybody's got a flow in their brain. Mine stopped with my brain tumor. Somehow it moved. That's what stopped the flow. That's what created fluid, at a certain moment, it would burst like a bomb. They said I had 12 hours to live. Here in Midland, they said they couldn't do nothing for me so they released me."
If that didn't sound bad enough, things took another wrong turn.
"Out of nowhere, we get a call, it was like a call from God," said Ramos. "A woman said 'I've seen your son's CAT scans and he's got 12 hours to live. He needs to be transported to the nearest hospital.' We were supposed to be air-flighted but at that moment, a car accident happened. This man had minutes to live, I had hours to live."
But the accident would become a blessing in disguise.
"I told the doctors I was supposed to be airlifted but I came in the ambulance," said Ramos. "They said, 'That's God being by your side.' With the air pressure, I would've died. I wouldn't have made it."
That day, and the months to follow, Ramos would go through two brain surgeries. After several tests, he lives cancer-free today.
"I praise God every day for that," said Ramos. "After surgery, I told my parents, 'There's a show in two months. They said 'Are you crazy? You just got out of surgery!' I said, 'Well I've got to show my fans I can do this, that God left me here for a reason."
While he's working on an upcoming record, he's also breaking them.
Ramos holds the title as the youngest male singer to receive a Tejano Music Award. It's a ceremony that recognizes some of the biggest artists and bands in Tejano music including the queen of Tejano herself, Selena Quintanilla.
"That was crazy, I wasn't expecting to win an award," said Ramos. "Actually, they called me and told me I was supposed to present an award. It was crazy and they called my name. I was crying, it was flashbacks of my hard work that really paid off."
Hard work, determination and passion: as Ramos continues following his heart, he'll continue playing to the beat of it.
"I'm very proud to be Latino because all of us come together to help each other out," said Ramos. "We're humble as well. I'd like to thank my promoters and everyone as well because they are Latino and they helped me during my first album. Nobody wanted to give me a chance and help me push so they were the ones to stay humble with me and help me out. I'm also here to represent Midland, Texas. There's people who don't know where Midland is so I want to represent Midland because we're awesome people!"
For Ramos, Tejano music will always feel like home, so while he's away on tour, the Tall City will always be his.
Ramos says he plans to go to college to major in business and in the long run, he wants to become a neurosurgeon, a career that could help save someone else's life, just like how the doctors in Lubbock saved his.
To stay up to date with Ramos, click here.