David Hernandez

Valley native dishes on music and homecoming ahead of Pride performance

By Staff, April 2018 Issue.

For David Hernandez, headlining the 2018 Phoenix Pride Festival is more than just a homecoming. It also marks the 10-year anniversary of the Valley native’s appearance on season 7 of “American Idol” – an experience that launched his career into the mainstream. For Echo‘s full coverage of the 2018 Phoenix Pride Festival, click here.

Following the release of his latest single., “Shield (Coat of Armor),” Echo caught up with Hernandez and here’s what he had to say.

David Hernandez. Photo by Bobby Quillard.

EchoYou’re widely known as an “American Idol” finalist, but what would you consider your biggest career achievement?

Hernandez: Honestly, performing for our troops overseas has been a huge honor. I’ve been to Abu Dhabi, Qatar, and later this year, Kuwait. Shaking hands with the servicemen and women who fight for the things we often take for granted is humbling. I also had the pleasure of opening for John Legend in 2008 at President Barack Obama’s inauguration in D.C.  

Echo: Last year you made headlines for coming out publically – congrats, btw. If you could choose, what would you want your big headline of 2018 to be?

Hernandez: Thank you! I wouldn’t mind a headline like “Platinum selling singer-songwriter David Hernandez.” Lol. But I’ll settle for anything positive and uplifting. 

Echo: For now, the headlines are all about “Shield (Coat of Armor),” what makes this song special to you?

Hernandez: The vulnerability of it. I think we all need our solid rock, friend, or shield to help us in this life. It’s important to stand up for others when they are too weak to stand for themselves and vice versa. Having someone to count on is important. We all need someone.

EchoAny details on a highly anticipated forthcoming album that you can share with us at this time?

Hernandez: The only thing I can say is, IT’S COMING! But it takes a lot of work. I don’t want to just throw something out there, which is why it’s taken so long …

Echo: Last year you released your version of “Alexander Hamilton,” how did that come about? Are you a big Hamilton fan?

Hernandez: I’m a huge fan of Hamilton. My agent had heard me rapping a demo and thought it sounded good, so he referred me to Cleopatra Records and we decided on that song and two others. It was unexpected, but a lot of fun recording. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be in that musical!

Echo: It might surprise our readers to learn that you used to perform with Valley Youth Theatre. Do you have any theatre aspirations these days?

Hernandez: I did perform with them! That’s where I got my start in theater and I would love to be on Broadway one day!

EchoDo you have any other plans for while you’re back in the Valley?

Hernandez: Well all of my immediate family lives in Arizona, so I plan on seeing them and I know they’ll be at the pride performance. I love Bliss/ReBAR downtown. The owners are good friends of mine and I always make sure to visit when I’m home.

EchoThis will be quite the homecoming for you. What excites you most about performing for the audience at the Phoenix Pride festival?

Hernandez: Being in my hometown always excites me. It’s been 10 years since “American Idol” so this marks a return to the state that raised me. I learned to sing and perform in Phoenix! I’m grateful to be coming back and putting on a show for everyone that has seen me grow up.

EchoWhat can Pride attendees expect from your performance?

Hernandez: Definitely a band and lots of high energy, but also some ballads that move the soul. I will be debuting my original music from the upcoming album as well.

EchoHaving observed the LGBTQIA+ community in so many different parts of the world, what observations have you made?

Hernandez: I feel like we are all growing and that strides are being made for us to be accepted and appreciated. We continue to fight for our rights and progress is definitely being seen. I’m proud of how far everyone has come and it’s important to stand tall and continue this journey. I’ve traveled all over the world and I can see this change in every city [and] at every pride festival.

David Hernandez will perform on the Phoenix Pride Festival’s Bud Light Main Stage April 8 at 6:30 p.m.