David Hernandez dismisses critics on new EP, “Don’t @ Me”

David Hernandez Know that having a positive body image isn’t always easy, but it’s a goal worth working towards. “I think over the years I’ve definitely gained more confidence with my body. I embrace my flaws and my strengths. It all helps make who I am. I think growing up made my insecurities feel different and teased going into adulthood. Kids can be really mean and some of that stuff doesn’t leave you until you work on it. I mean don’t get me wrong, there are certain days when I wake up and don’t feel my best, but I try to use the wisdom and understanding that this too shall pass and tomorrow I know I will feel different. And also, you are someone who looks at yourself every day. Not everyone sees you that much so they don’t see your stuff and the way you set yourself apart. They don’t notice your ‘flaws’,” he points out.

He finally realized that the only solution was complete and total acceptance. “I think the natural progression was to become more confident as the alternative became more dire. And I like the former too. You really have to get comfortable with who you are in your own skin. Of course, there are things we all want to fix, but guess what? Here you are and this is all you have to work with and at the end of the day it’s a beautiful vessel. So, deal!” Like everyone, he still has moments of lingering insecurity. “I’m human. Who doesn’t?! Usually I decide to isolate myself when I’m overworked, sleep deprived or stressed, which is the worst time possible. You already feel vulnerable and insecure and then you beat yourself up even more. I’ve really learned to take a break when I feel this way because I don’t really believe the things I tell myself when I’m not thinking with a clear and healthy mind. Sometimes that little inner voice inside me is a liar and not always kind. So I have to recognize him and differentiate between that little insecure guy and the big-ass guy that I am. A grown-ass man should always be put off by less than a child’s worthy thinking.”

David’s new EP, @Don’t do me, a triumphant celebration of this growth through a raw exploration of his past. “It was definitely my weakest act to date because I was willing to deal with what happened to me American Idol And growing strange in my life. I was just being honest and vulnerable because I think I like listening to other people’s music. We all know that life isn’t always perfect and hearing someone share the same feelings makes you feel less alone. I also talked about my relationship, which I really don’t and how it’s not perfect but we’re growing together. I recorded it in a little over seven days. I self-produced it. I also collaborated with my producer and engineer Push Kahlon. I co-wrote a few songs with my good friend Trent Park (who is amazing) and did the artwork with Noel Photo Studio and Brady Kerr. So, it was a small group but we are strong! As an independent artist, we’ve become more adept than some of the big-budget guys. I am very proud of it.”

It’s real and unimaginable, a tone best exemplified by the decision to release a book of nude photography with the EP. “I just wrapped a six-month residency in Vegas starring in the off-Broadway hit musical comedy, Naked boys song. That experience really made me very comfortable with my body. During that residency, I set up a photo shoot with a highly recommended photographer, Noel Photo Studio. The photo shoot was amazing and she made me feel so comfortable with my body. Honestly, I’ve never seen myself shoot like this and it gave me a confidence I’ve never seen before. I think there’s a lot of shame associated with being gay and showing your body. I’m here to break down those walls and ceilings because I think it’s ridiculous. I have published a very tasteful and sexy nightstand/coffee table book. Proud of that too!” The book brings her professional arc full circle when her early career is jeopardized and she is publicly shamed for working as a stripper. “I think there’s a certain irony there. The thing I was ashamed of, I came back to after 15 years, but in a professional environment and while using my voice. I have love for any profession. If you’re out there working your ass off and hustling to make ends meet, I have nothing but respect for you. I feel like this EP and some of my current projects give a huge middle finger to people who have publicly shamed me over the years. But I’m not bitter. It’s just taking back my ownership of who I am and the power.”

@Don’t do me Covers a wide spectrum of deeply personal topics. “I touch on a lot of things on this record. Addiction, insecurity, mental health, public shaming, relationships and sexuality. I also talk about past traumas and how they shaped me. I think the most shocking thing to people is sex because for some reason, even in my adulthood, it’s still taboo to talk openly about certain things. But I don’t really subscribe to that ideology. I think if we’re all honest, we all have sex and when the age is right, it’s healthy.” David’s sense of peace and self-acceptance is priceless. “We all have bad days, but some things I used to beat myself up about, I do again. No. I think only time can tell how the decisions you make today affect your future. So far, I’ve seen nothing but growth and love for myself. I’m really happy with these decisions and at the end of the night, I can sleep well. ” He wants to convey the same feeling to the fans. “I hope that people from all walks of life can relate to this EP. I hope there’s a song for whatever mood you’re in. But what am I? really Hope you learn to love yourself.” David is here to remind us that self-love is by far the most important gift we can give ourselves.

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David Hernandez dismisses critics on new EP, “Don’t @ Me.” Photo credit: Bobby Couillard.