College of Science

How Biology Graduate Alberto Herrera Transitioned His Love For Rock Bands to a Passion in Medicine

For the Love of Music and Medicine

For the Love of Music and Medicine

When Alberto Herrera, 2016 Cal Poly Pomona biology graduate, started his hobby of interviewing punk rock bands and celebrities, he had no idea his passion would turn into a major channel on the YouTube scene. With interviews from Linkin Park, Kesha, and The Backstreet Boys to Sir Paul McCartney, the two companies Punkvideosrock and Front Row Live Entertainment owned by him and his brother, have made quite a name for itself in the music industry. Most recently covering the summer hit ‘America’s Got Talent,’ Herrera and his brother were able to get exclusive interviews with the judges and contestants.

Although it seems strange at first that a soon-to-be City of Hope medical student pursing a PhD in cancer research would be interested in bands, Herrera has a different perspective. After high school, Herrera was accepted to UCLA in their aerospace engineering program. Although he did well his first year, Herrera was not passionate about what he was studying. After a family emergency, Herrera was forced to drop out of school to save the family money.

Getting a second chance to discover his calling, Herrera decided to continue his education at Pasadena City College (PCC). He started taking courses toward his engineering major, and took a bio diversity and ecology class to fulfill his general education. He instantly realized that biology and eventually medicine was the career path perfect for him. Soon after, Herrera applied to Cal Poly Pomona’s Biotechnology major, and the rest they say has been sweet music.

With his expenses adding up from UCLA, PCC and then Cal Poly Pomona, Herrera and his brother looked for a way to generate money. With the start of their YouTube channel and company FrontRowLiveEnt in 2007, they continued to interview bands. Herrera was able to immerse himself in studies while he surrounded himself with what he's always loved, music. Herrera and his brother wanted to pursue their love of music by interviewing their favorites. One by one he crossed off interviews with stars like Justin Bieber, Ruth B, and even Demi Lovato.

After checking off a laundry list of celebrity interviews, Herrera’s YouTube channel has gained over 13,000 subscribers with videos getting over 1 million views. His love for music has helped him pursue all his passions, from interviewing punk rock bands to helping develop stem cell based treatments for cancer.

“I do not think the traditional path through school is the only path to success. I was able to chase my crazy dream, work with all my heroes, and find a way to fit both my school and passions together,” said Herrera. “Although I had several detours and path changes along the way, I was able to work a series of odd jobs while pursuing my career and passions.”     

Next Herrera is starting a PhD program in Cancer Research at City of Hope. After nine years of higher education, Herrera didn’t let confusion over his career path, or financial struggles get in the way of accomplishing his goal. His untraditional path to success has led him to right career, all while bumping into hundreds of celebrities, actors and musicians along the way.