Student launches music career with first album

Photo courtesy of Joel Hernandez

By Rider Farris | Reporter

Music is a particularly hard industry to break into; many try and many fail. But that doesn’t stop hundreds of dreamers from attempting to make it big in the industry. El Campo junior Joel Hernandez is one of those individuals. While managing a full-time student classification at Baylor, Hernandez has been working on his music career — writing and learning about the music industry when he’s not writing and learning in the classroom.

After months of writing, recording and working hard, Hernandez will release his debut album “Season’s Change” on March 9 on iTunes, Spotify and Google Play. A CD release party will be held in El Campo at Greek Bros. Oyster Bar & Grill.

“I’m excited,” Hernandez said. “I’ve never done this before, so it’s really exciting. It’s really unknown. I don’t really know what to expect.”

Plans for Hernandez’ album started back in 2016. Hernandez contacted a producer he had worked with before and talked about maybe creating an EP- a musical recording with more songs than a single, but less than a full album. They met up a couple times in 2016 and ended up writing six songs they really liked. It was then that they decided to create a whole album.

“I had stopped playing music before I came to college, because I wanted to focus on doing school,” Hernandez said. “And then I was halfway through freshman year and I realized that I missed playing music and so I got back into playing some shows.”

After deciding on an album rather than an EP, Hernandez met up a few more times with his producer and wrote the remaining songs for the album. They ended up writing 13 songs and chose 12 for the album. In total, the writing process took approximately two and a half weeks of work.

“There’s not like one distinctive sound to the whole album; it’s just like a bunch of variations of rock in general,” Hernandez said. “So there’s some pop-rock, there’s some bluesy-rock, there’s some songs that are really heartland/country rock. I’d just describe it as the vague genre of rock and then every song pretty much is a different taste of rock, influenced with other music.”

In August of 2016, Hernandez went to El Paso to record the album. The entire process took a week. Hernandez and his musicians took three days to rehearse prior to recording and then used four days to record the music and three days to record his vocals. The final project was completed in December 2016, following some minor touchups.

“My goal is to get gigs out of this over the summer and like maybe develop enough of a following to play at small music festivals in the summer and fall,” Hernandez said.

The majority of the songs on the album were inspired by past relationships, both of Hernandez and his cowriter. Musically, Hernandez said he did not have one specific influence. Throughout the creation process they adapted the music to the sound it created.

“Because each song is different, there’s not like one specific musical influence really,” Hernandez said. “It’s just, like, song by song.”

To help promote the album, Hernandez has been reaching out to college campuses across the nation to try and get some radio play. He has also scheduled upcoming gigs in Waco, El Campo, Bastrop and Cypress, and is working with companies to help organize some future gigs.

Columbus, Miss. junior Miranda Houston had the opportunity to hear Hernandez perform over the summer in Bastrop and got to hear a sneak preview of Hernandez’ album due to her close friendship with Hernandez. She said other Baylor students will like his music and should help support their fellow Baylor Bear.

“I like his music because it is not the stereotypical pop sound that we hear on the radio,” Houston said. “His songs are current and relatable to people our age while still drawing from the classic sound of jazz and rock.”

Hernandez will be performing live the morning of April 7 in Cypress and will be performing at the Back 9 Bar in Bastrop that evening. He will also be performing at The Backyard in Waco on May 18.

“Anywhere that you stream music, it’s going to be there,” Hernandez said.