El Paso Music Scene

Jamie Hernandez Interview

by Charles Hurley

EPMS: You burst on the scene at 17, you're only 19 now, and you're in your third band, all fairly well-known. How do you keep your feet on the ground?

Jamie Hernandez: The truth is, when I joined my first band Elysium, I was really 16. I claimed that I was 17 because I didn't think they would want someone so young. My age ended up not being an issue and made us stand out more. As for keeping my feet on the ground, I admit it was hard at some points, especially being at shows late Sunday nights with school the next day. I had a lot of other commitments at that time including Orchestra and sports, but with the support my parents have given me, we always made it work. Now that I am out of high school pushing 20, I have more time to commit to my music. Music is my life. It wouldn't be a good weekend without a show. I love to write. I love to practice, and most of all I love to perform. Especially for good causes that are dear to my heart.

EPMS: What have you learned by being in these bands?

Jamie Hernandez: I have learn that it takes A LOT of time and even more dedication to keep a band together. I've learned that YOU need to put yourself out there if you want to get recognized. YOU need to make the extra efforts to promote your shows and hand out flyers. It is also important not to make enemies in the music business because you never know when that person will help you out in the future. Everything helps. This is my dream and I have put 100% into every band I have been in. I am looking forward to what my future has in store for me and the amazing people/fans/musicians I will meet along the way.

EPMS: What was your musical background before El Paso had heard of you?

Jamie Hernandez: I remember when I was about 8 singing to my mom in the front yard at night. I also remember her telling me I was gonna be a star one day. She was the one that pushed for me when I was young and even till this day. When I was little I started making my own music on my sisters tiny keyboard. I was always able to figure out songs on my own and pick up anything. My parents then bought me a more advanced keyboard when I got better and started writing my own songs. When I was about 12 years old, I received my first guitar after my keyboard stopped working. I was a little discouraged to learn because I loved the piano so much but after my dad showed me a few songs, I was hooked. I've always played many instruments including the cello, which I still play today, and was even in UTEP's Orchestra. Being in Orchestra was one of the best things I have been involved in because it taught me music theory and the importance of being organized. When I was about 15, that's when I really focused on making orginal music. My mom and I would collaborate with each other making about 12 original songs. I knew this was what I wanted. I then met up with the a well known producer with his own label and studio who had a different type of music in mind for me. He gave me a lot of good advice and told me he could "market" me but it wasn't the direction I wanted to go. I wanted to play rock and be in a band! That's when I met the members of my first band Elysium who took off fast. We played a lot of awesome gigs including the Dowtown Street Festival, and even got lots of airplay after being interviewed live on KLAQ here in El Paso. Elysium came to a stop after some issues occurred. That's when Memento Mori, my duo, got started. I couldn't stand the thought of not playing anymore so I decided to hit the coffee shop scene. I have met and collaborated with a lot of amazing musicians including my bassist Albert Cueto from Memento Mori and have played many benefit shows. It is important to me that I help out my community. I love playing benefit shows that will put out a good message to people. If I ever make it, I want people to know how much it means to me to make a difference. Even if it is a small one. Now for my new band SORIN! We play alternative/rock/ metal. It is a band consisting of musicians with different backgrounds of music. I am proud to say it is coming along nicely. I hope that this is the band that will take me to where I want to be as a musician. Check us out!

EPMS: You're the youngest in the family (right?). How has that affected your musical career.

Jamie Hernandez: Yes I am the baby of the family and damn proud of it! The only way it has affected me is that I have been sheltered more which can be good and bad for a music career. In my case, my parents and two older sisters have been amazingly supportive. I love that my parents are always at my shows. I know many musicians that would dream of the support my family has shown me. Being "sheltered" has kept me from getting into the "bad stuff" that goes into being in most bands. Don't get me wrong though, my parents have always known when to take a step back and let me make my own decisions. That's how it should be.

EPMS: How often do you feel like just chucking the music thing and joining a quilting club?

Jamie Hernandez: I never feel like quiting. I love my weekends filled with shows. If anything I have only needed small breaks. Any musician would agree that it gets quite tiring playing 2 to 3 shows every weekend. My manager, also my mom, has been very good about booking shows to where we get a break if we need it. Other than that I am pretty much down to play any show!

EPMS: Thanks!

Jamie Hernandez: Thank you!

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