Part Colombian, part American, pure go-getter: meet the modern day renaissance man, Daniel Guaqueta.
The 35 year old Fondren resident says he’s an outsider in Mississippi though he’s grown up here most of his life. Born in Hattiesburg to a Colombian father studying in the English language institute program at USM and a south Mississippi mother, Guaqueta’s family returned to his father’s native country until Daniel was 7. “I spent every summer there”, he said “and my grandmother made sure I knew Colombian tradition and culture. I’m very Colombian”. That may surprise some who try his southern dishes like pecan pie and cornbread. “My grandmother here made sure I knew about my Mississippi heritage, too.”
Guaqueta started college majoring in music at Jones Junior College in Ellisville, though that didn’t stick. “I hated my major”, he says, switching to horticultural technology after just a year. That program landed him in an internship with Disney where he plantscaped their first-ever cruise ship. That’s something near to his heart. His family back in Colombia is in the plant brokering business.
But Guaqueta never strayed from music for long. It’s where you most likely have heard of him: as the man at the helm of Mississippi Happening and playing in his band, Ttoccs Rekarp, a moniker he invented at age 12. He’s also behind the drum kit for Hunter Gibson and the Gators and behind the Mac Book for Belhaven University’s dance department. “I have a self created job there”, he says, “as an electronic accompanist”. Guaqueta is able to work from home for the most part, collaborating with others on private Facebook groups to form something much bigger. “My whole life, I have been trying to achieve this huge spectacle of things. I’m into that”.
A proud Fondrenite and supporter of the neighborhood, Guaqueta and his wife of two years own a house here and he says it’s the personality and diversity of the area that drive him. “We like to take the long way home, discovering a street or an area we’ve never seen”.
And drive is something else you’ll find no shortage of in Fondren. Guaqueta is self employed and admires the entrepreneurial spirit of others here as well. “If there’s something you can do, pick it up and do it. If you have the determination, I respect that. It’s why I live here. I may not be famous, but I love what I do”.