New music from American Idol star David Hernandez has been a long time coming. The star took a seven year gap between his first album and his newest highly anticipated sophomore album titled Kingdom: The Mixtape. The album has over 20 songs and features acapella, covers, original songs, and collaborations with fellow Idol star Blake Lewis.
Hernandez’ album artwork speaks of his criticism of labels and his own difficult experiences with the high standards and pressures of label executives. The robotic hand depicted the fake and uncreative visions of executives. His album artwork was done by Stephen Lind
CelebMix spoke exclusively with Hernandez about his album, inspiration, speaking out, and more.
What made you want to record in home studios versus record studios?
It just sort of happened. It was more practical on my end financially and honestly you can get just as good of a sound at a home studio. The real magic happens with that engineer/producer. As long as they have talent and know how to mix the music & vocals, you’re in good hands. Sometimes it’s better because I can be in the same room as them which is more of an intimate vibe.
What or who was your biggest inspiration behind your new album Kingdom: The Mixtape?
Honestly I was inspired by the idea of not sitting around anymore and just making stuff happen on my own. It’s been too much of listening to what other people thought was the right thing for me and then the music never saw the day of light. It was super frustrating so I think I was fueled by that.
How has making this album been different from your first?
Well this album definitely has more songs. I was also able to be super real and raw with my writing. I don’t think I have ever put myself out there as much as I did on this album. It’s been a culmination of music from as long as 10 years ago and up until about 2 months ago. I have grown up and I have seen a lot. Lots of dark times as well as reckless times. All of it was necessary for me to get to the place I am now. Self realization.
What do you hope your fans understand better about you from this album?
I am human. Instagram might show smiles and great outfits, but the truth is we are all going through something. All of us. I hope they understand that I will always keep it 100 and stand up for the underdogs. One thing that is hard to hide from is the truth in music. If I wrote it and put it out there, that means I am ready to talk about it. There are a lot of sides to David.
Is there a good mix of old and new songs?
Most definitely! There is something on this album for everyone. Ballads, mid-tempos, club tracks. All of it.
Which are some older/newer tracks?
The newer tracks are “Kingdom”, “Dear My Future Self”, “Unbreakable” and the single “Shield”. The older tracks are “Break”, “Animal”, “Last Supper” or “Never Did”. But they are all equally bad ass….it just depends on what you’re in the mood for.
What made you decide to put acapella and even a cover song on the album?
I am just really proud of the vocal delivery and execution. Sometimes you don’t get to hear all of those really cool moments over the music and fully produced song. I love hearing vocalists sings acapella. I just thought maybe there is someone out there that would wanna hear that too. ALSO, I would love to hear remixes on those songs.
Hernandez had numerous extremely personal songs that highlight his struggles of addiction, living authentically as a gay man, and more.
In honor and support of #WorldMentaHealthDay, reach out and ask for help. Don’t be ashamed. Don’t be afraid. Help is always one call away. Sending love and support to everyone suffering and overcoming those battles. We are with you. ??
— David Hernandez (@DHernandezMusic) October 11, 2018
A song like “Break” is so vulnerable and really puts your struggles out there, do you think it’s important for artists to put themselves out there for their fans like that?
I think it was important for me. I enjoy connecting with people at my shows and hearing them tell me how my story impacted them or how it helped them to get through something similar. At the end of the day, we are human and I believe that the more we connect and share, the better we become.
What has been your favorite date on your 2018 tour?
I really loved going back home and playing a show with my band in Phoenix. It’s my hometown and I got to share the stage with the band I started off with when I was 17. Playing in front of my mom, dad, sister and friends from way back when, was an awesome full circle experience. I really loved this whole summer tour though. I got to make some new friends along the way and connect with people that have been here since the beginning.
Hernandez recently released the music video for the first single off the album, “Shield” on October 1.
Hernandez is also having an album release party in Los Angeles on November 7 at Vibrato Grill Jazz.