We’ll just cut to the chase here: sometimes it’s difficult being a musician. We could list the reasons why, but you already know them and we just vowed to get to the heart of the matter, which is that hardships may abound for musicians. Maybe they’re minor irritations or, sadly, they may seem like throw-in-the-towel type obstacles. Whichever you’re facing today, dear music-making friend, please know we love and support you. We hope you’ll figure things out. We remind you that what you’re doing matters to we who appreciate your talent and devotion, even if we sometimes have an odd way of showing it.
Never forget in these low times that you have sisters- and brothers-in-arms around to lift you when you’re wavering. We asked some for their own positive affirmations, the mental sticky notes they slap onto the music challenges they face. Here’s what a quintet of Houston artists shared to help keep you focused and upbeat.
Jesse Cardoso, Worst Nightmare
Jesse Cardoso is Worst Nightmare, the Houston underground hip-hop/trap artist with a punk flair. His versatility means he's comfortable in front of audiences and he's gazed upon all sorts of them in 11 years of performing. He morphed from punk and grind vocalist to rapper in 2013 and Cardoso's dark alter ego has made waves since, particularly recently. His latest EP, I Am Demon, surfaced last month. A new video, for the track "Demon," just debuted a week ago.
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Cardoso said more than a decade in music has shown him it can sometimes be dog-eat-dog, but, that's not always the case.
"I know this industry is tough. There’s lots of competition, but there’s also lots of help," he emphasized. "Even when things are looking rough though, I always tell myself that it’s not about the fame or the money. It’s about the music and the way I express myself that’s more important to me."
Myrna Garibay, Let Me Remember
“My positive path to my musical dreams is to maintain being positive by keeping that candlelight sparked up, shining bright and strong within my entire being. I stay grounded and focused, motivated, curious, ambitious, and hungry to continue achieving my musical dreams and aspirations," said Myrna Garibay, lead vocalist and guitarist for the indie rock act, Let Me Remember.
The band is currently focusing on recording its debut EP and will soon be releasing its first single. Garibay says no specific shows are planned at the moment as Let Me Remember preps for a November tour of California and Las Vegas with their management company Darbly Entertainment.
"Don’t ever let go the love for your craft, no matter what age you are. Keep defining, shaping, and recreating yourself to always improve your natural talented gifts," Garibay stressed. "Also, don’t allow insecurities and lethargy to dominate you in any form. They are venom to your beautiful formula, and will test the downfall path. Rather, let yourself bloom by believing firmly on everything that you produced and toiled.”
James Ashworth, Hammer Party
"Each day, affirm and envision your goals," begins James Ashworth, of Hammer Party. The lo-fi garage punk band has plenty of approaching goals to tend to. For instance, they're on this Friday night's bill at Rudyard's, along with Charm Bomb, Mean Motor Scooter and Henry the Archer. That show will be a good test run for Hammer Party's October 20 record release. The album is called Black Milk and Deep End Records hosts the show, which will also feature Mutant Love and Imposter Boys.
That's a lot to be excited about, but Ashworth is following his own advice to keep from becoming too overwhelmed.
"Remain persistent and professional, yet expect nothing from anyone. Ceaselessly practice and stretch the limits of your capabilities," he suggested.
Catherine Darshad, Just Hangin’ Out
Catherine Darshad calls her music Just Hangin' Out. That's more than just a brand name for her collection of sometimes-quirky and always heartfelt lyrics, which are delivered by a pleasant, even calming voice. It also describes Darshad's approach to sharing her music with Houston and the world at-large. Maintaining that philosophy has kept her grounded when music pursuits become challenging.
"It makes me feel good that I can do something that's fun while also being a good outlet for my thoughts," she said. "I remind myself that it's mostly for me, so all the effort that goes into it is worth it."
Darshad's 2017 EP I Slept All Day isn't just a gift to herself, it's a gem wrapped in the concise package of six songs which bounce between existentialism ("Nothing"), loss ("15 Years") and the unfortunate grossness of Galveston's beaches. She'll be performing those tunes and others tomorrow night at House of J as part of the opening bill for touring acts Brook Pridemore and Jake McKelvie.
She may stay rooted by reminding herself that the songs are mostly for her, but says if you like what you hear at the show, it's fine to clap.
"Also, not gonna lie, the sound of applause feels like a giant gold star or like the feeling when your parents are proud of you," she said with a winning laugh. "Feels pretty good."
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David Landry, Dirty & Nasty
If you've followed Houston music via the Houston Press even a little over the last decade, you may already know David Landry — a.k.a. D3, a.k.a.Dirty Dog D, a.k.a. D3 The Concrete. And, if you know this rapper, lyricist, social commentator, blogger, fashion designer...the list goes on,...you may also know he's one of the most supportive artists in the local music community. His affirmation, as such, reflects on encouraging others in order to find value in your own pursuits.
"The way that we (Dirty & Nasty) stay positive is by encouraging others. Most times, it is when you are supporting others that you find your gladness. We have been fortunate to have been in this game long enough to have not only grown alongside some dope solo artists and groups, but we have also watched a whole new generation of artists that have come up after us, who are looking for mentorship and guidance. Fortunately, Dirty & Nasty has learned enough along the way to not be greedy, stingy, etc. and instead, be more giving, loving, supportive of the scene and its contributors."
To illustrate the point, Landry passed on the chance to chat up D&N's exceptional album Knowledge Is Queen in favor of publicizing a mixed-genre show tonight at Satellite Bar. Dirty & Nasty is on as support for NYC's Nick Hook. Synth pop chanteuse Miears is also on the bill.