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Rex Salas was born on March 16, 1962 in Prince George's County, Maryland to parents Tomas and Mary. He left Maryland as a young child and moved to California where he studied the guitar, bass, drums, and keyboards, eventually focusing on piano and keyboards as his main instruments. In 1979, while at high school in Los Angeles, California, Salas was a co-founder of the band Tease, which recorded three albums on the RCA and CBS/Epic labels between 1983 and 1988. He was nominated for a Grammy and Emmy Award for his work as a record producer, songwriter, musical director, and music arranger. He also worked with Janet Jackson on her tours as her musical director. Through the years Salas has continued to use his expertise in musical direction and as a keyboardist, and playing keyboards on two tours of singer Robert Palmer in the late 1980s, as well as music-directing three Janet Jackson world tours, including Jackson's 1998 HBO TV special: The Velvet Rope: Live in Madison Square Garden. For this special, Salas received an Emmy award nomination in the "Outstanding Music Direction for a TV show" category. Salas was also the musical director for TLC's final "Fanmail Tour" as well as director for headlining tours with Maxwell, Brandy, Sheena Easton and Brian McKnight.