Baby, You’re Beautiful
by C.L. Frederick
The Phoenix Newsletter recently sat down with recording artist and “American Idol” alum David Hernandez. Hernandez’s powerful voice and memorable stage presence have earned him legions of fans around the world. In addition to “American Idol,” Hernandez has showcased his talents on programs such as “The Ellen Show” and the “Teen Choice Awards.”
You were on Season 7 of “American Idol.” What was your experience like? What was your most cherished memory from being on the show?
The experience was pretty awesome. Being on TV in front of 35 million people was nerve-racking of course, but it really challenged me to have good stage presence and better vocals. It was like boot camp for singers. The most cherished memory I have was when I performed “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” and won all of the judges’ favor. Up until that point I was really unsure if they even liked me.
How did being on “American Idol” change your life? What has been the resulting highlight of your career?
It completely changed my life for the better in every way. Of course there were some paparazzi moments I am not too fond of, but overall it was great! After the show I went on three national tours, performed at President Obama’s Inaugural Ball, and am currently working on my third album. Those are all pretty big highlights for me. I am super thankful.
Who are your musical influences and how did each influence you as a singer?
There are so many that have influenced me in so many ways and some of which I just started discovering recently. There are the greats like Whitney, Mariah Carey, Stevie Wonder, Journey and Prince to name a few. And then there are recent artists like Sam Smith and James Bay that have so much soul and power to their voices.
What is your favorite song to sing live?
Probably “Purple Rain” by Prince or “The Scientist” by Coldplay.
After you released the single “Beautiful,” you came out as gay. What was it like to come out publicly?
Nothing really changed for me. I just wanted my fans to know that you could be exactly who you are and still be successful. Your sexual orientation should not define you or put you in a box.
What does Pride mean to you? Why is it important for the community to recognize?
I think it is a chance for everyone to come together to celebrate our differences. It is about diversity and loving each other for who we are. Any community needs love and acceptance.
You are performing at Kansas City Pride this year. What are you looking forward to the most during your visit?
Honestly, just seeing all of the beautiful faces in the crowd and being able to connect with them. I love meeting everyone so I will definitely be sticking around after.
What are some of your future goals? What is next for David Hernandez?
I’m working on this new album that will hopefully reach a lot of people and show them what I am all about. I wrote all of the material, which is super important for me, so it all comes from personal experiences that most people can relate to. I have no expectations other than praying that it touches someone, somewhere.
What are your passions in life apart from singing?
I love my family and my extended family. They keep me sane and grounded.
What advice do you have to offer to anyone wanting to follow their dreams?
Always stay true to who you are, and don’t let anyone tell you any different. Accept criticism that comes from a good place because it helps you grow, but ultimately, you do!
David Hernandez performs at 5 p.m. Sunday, June 4 at Berkley Riverfront Park on Tito’s Vodka Main Stage. Tickets can be purchased at gaypridekc.org.
For more information, visit davidhernandezofficial.com.