January 19, 2018 9:47 pm
Updated: January 23, 2018 3:14 pm

Hidden talent of Alberta barista wows customers

WATCH ABOVE: Talented opera singer or accomplished latte maker? At Bru Coffee and Beer House, you could get two for the price of one! Quinn Ohler explains.


Marvin Luis’ day job is a supervisor at BRU Coffee + Beer House along Edmonton’s Jasper Avenue. But once in a while, his day job and his dream collide.

When the crowds get big enough, Luis turns the front of the downtown hangout into his stage, belting out incredible opera songs.

“I feel like this is a fabulous place for performance,” Luis said. “I want to have more practical experience in front of all the strangers or regular customers.”

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“I make lots of people happy and I can sleep very well with a sweet dream after that,” he said about why he performs.

Luis grew up in China where he learned the violin at age 12.

“That was my first music life,” he said.

READ MORE: Singing siblings changing the world with their voices

He went to post-secondary school in Ukraine.

“I heard lots of beautiful singers and teachers teaching there, so I chose Ukraine,” he told Global News, adding he learned to sing opera in a single day. “I spent one day and learned his (teacher’s) entire three-year course in lessons. He said, ‘Wow! You can sing!”

LISTEN: Marvin Luis joins Ryan Jespersen on 630 CHED

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The 28-year-old has been singing this style of music for a decade now.

While he was studying in Ukraine, Luis was also a professional hip-hop dancer and owned a dance studio. He even performed on the Ukrainian version of So You Think You Can Dance. 

READ MORE: 11-year-old singer finds her voice through opera

He also signed with a professional opera company there, but because of fighting wasn’t able to perform with them.

“I heard the bombing and the gun shooting while we were rehearsing,” he said. “I was terrified.”

Luis chose to apply to the University of Alberta to work with Juno Award-winning tenor John Tessier. He completed his second master’s degree in music from the U of A eight months ago.

Luis will perform with the University of Alberta Symphony at the Winspear in March.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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