When Guillermo Esteban of Madrid was 17, his younger brother became very sick, with doctors predicting death. Guillermo turned to rap music as an outlet for his fear and anger. In an effort to cope, he wrote a song for his brother.
Unexpectedly, the song became a hit, and Guillermo (called Grilex by his fans) was famous almost overnight. Suddenly his successful music made him feel powerful and superior.
According to Vatican News
, the young musician changed the way he acted and slowly his friends drifted away. Rather than look at his mistakes, he blamed God, and vented his loneliness and resentment through his music.
Alienated from his family, friends, and faith, Guillermo wasn’t even sure God existed. His mother asked him to meet her at Mass one day. He wasn’t interested, but agreed.
As Mireia Bonilla wrote in the Vatican News article, he was just arriving at the church when a fan ran up calling his name. He started talking to the girl and she invited him to an “Alpha dinner,” an evangelization effort
of sharing over dinner.
That dinner was the start of numerous dinners. While his music grew in popularity, God was gradually making inroads in Guillermo’s life. He joined a few people he knew in some volunteer work, hesitatingly at first, but he soon realized it was helping him. He was “finding God in people.” But then, resorting to self-destructive ways, he published an offensive rap song. A well-meaning friend called it “garbage.”
“That strong, outspoken judgment opened my eyes and brought me back to earth.” he says. He realized God could be speaking to him through another person.
As time went by, Guillermo was more attracted to God and a relationship with Him. He realized that life without God was meaningless. He understood that a life of faith is a journey, one that involves carrying a cross as well.
Guillermo became convinced that his rap music could help transform other lives. He began composing songs based on the Gospel, using rap music to communicate Christian values. “I could help people who are wounded, who feel empty and insignificant”, he said, according to Vatican News
Like his life, the lyrics of Guillermo’s songs have changed completely. He uses rap music as a powerful form of evangelization, writing “for God,” and transmitting the Gospel message to new audiences.
His brother was transformed too. He began to heal after friends lent the family a relic of St. Padre Pio.
“Today my brother is fine,” Guillermo told Vatican News. “He does have a few minor difficulties, but he is currently at university doing media studies.”