SUCCESSFUL trumpeter Luís Martelo has become well known around Taunton for his soulful passion and talent for music, but many do not know the origins of his story.

Luís, now 34, grew up in Portugal, and started playing music at the age of eleven. It was from then that he aspired to be a successful musician.

“I always wanted to since I started - in my home town there was nothing apart from the band," he said.

"There was no football team, no Xboxes, no PlayStations."

He made it his mission to one day play in the army band, and his dream became a reality, much to the delight of his family, when he reached the age of 17.

“Being a professional musician in the army was like being a doctor - that’s what I worked for all my life," Luís said.

“It’s the reputation of the job, nowadays everyone wants their children to be a doctor, or a judge - it’s the best of the best musicians in the country - being there when I was 17 was a dream.”

Read more: Brilliant Taunton trumpet player immortalised in giant mural in Portugal 

However, things came crashing down for Luís in 2010, when he ended up homeless for three years after leaving the army.

"I lost everything, my career was done, everyone was very disappointed with me," he said.

“I had to sell the trumpet to eat... it was like losing an arm or a leg for me.

"'The little prodigy' was on the streets," he added.

However, with the help of friends in 2013-2014, Luís moved to London, where he worked in restaurants and on building sites, and met his wife, who soon fell pregnant.

He and his wife decided to make the move to Taunton in 2018 to raise their family.

“It was the best thing we’ve ever done - that was when I started playing the trumpet again," Luís said.

He explained how he feels an affinity with Taunton as the town became the place he became integrated with 'real British life' and rekindled his passion for playing the trumpet.

Luís soon began busking on the streets of Taunton, and despite an 'unbelievable' reception, he felt as though he had a long way to go before performing at the level he once had.

"It was very frustrating because my brain knew how to play professional at a very high standard, but my body was not corresponding anymore," he said.

"I was on the streets for three years, you can imagine how my body changed over that time.”

When the country was plunged into lockdown during the pandemic, Luís spent eight to nine hours per day honing his abilities after telling his wife, 'I want to change our lives.'

When lockdown was finally lifted, Luís bought a speaker and began busking again, which he said resulted in people dancing, smiling and emitting sheer joy - and he made £250 in a single hour.

From that moment onwards, Luís' music career has skyrocketed, with a Citizen's Award by the High Sheriff of Somerset (Queen's representative) in 2022, recognition for his first album and his first international tour.

Despite his rise in success, he continues to play locally, and often performs in care homes and funerals for free.

Later this month, his biggest ever international tour kicks off, with shows set for Paris, Canada, Scotland, Switzerland, Portugal, and more.Somerset County Gazette: A poster for Luís' upcoming international tour.A poster for Luís' upcoming international tour. (Image: Contributed)

He has also just finished his second studio album, called Roots, which is influenced by the original trumpet music he enjoyed growing up, with artists such as Glenn Miller and Louis Armstrong cited.

Luís will perform at the Blue Moon Cafe Restaurant on Taunton's High Street on Saturday, March 9 for a Mother's Day celebration from 7.30pm.

Next weekend, on Saturday, March 16, he will perform at Cafe Algarve from 4pm to celebrate ten years on Taunton's High Street.