Aaron Myers is one of those rare, spiritual people that straddle two totally but not necessarily unfamiliar walks of life between music and politics. Still, Aaron’s story is not really that simple but is extremely personable and consciousness-driven. Born in Dallas, Texas, he began playing the piano at the age of 3 and opened for 15,000 people at 13. After joining the military in 2001 where he held positions Brigade Musician and Choir Director, he earned the Battalion Commanders Coin and Asst. Post Chaplain coin. He left the military in 2005, and set up residences in Los Angeles, Texas and Florida before settling down in Washington, DC.
As a politician, he has run for Mayor of Corsicana, Texas; coordinated the local Obama campaign for Navarro County, serving as Precinct Chair for the primaries, Nomination-at-Large Chair for the Navarro County Convention, and serving on the Nomination-at-Large Committee for the Texas State Democratic Convention in June 2008. Mr. Myers worked in the state of Florida for the Obama-Biden Campaign for Change during the general election as a Field Organizer.
As a musician and creatively, Aaron went on to Navarro College, majoring in Theatre and Business, and was musical director with the College Gospel Choir. While living in Los Angeles, CA, he co-hosted Comedy Night at Miyagi’s on Sunset with Josh Nassar and was Music Director for the Youth Department at West Angeles Church of God in Christ. During this time, he composed the soundtrack and was Music Supervisor for “A Song and a Prayer”. He moved to Washington, DC to oversee the closing of the Global Family Program, acting as National Director. Currently, Aaron Myers is the Resident Artist at the Black Fox Lounge in Washington, DC and Minister of Music at Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ and is promoting his debut Jazz/ Neo-Soul Album “Leo Rising” that was recorded at Avatar Studios in New York City.
A regular political pundit and entertainer, you can find Aaron serving on panels, speaking to young people, and working on many causes to aid communities all over the country.
It seems you’ve gone in several directions in your life’s path and subsequently picked up many talents along the way. What inspires you to go to work everyday?
AM: The fact that I have the opportunity to work in the field that I love inspires me! Also knowing the harder I work in the field that I love will ensure others can identify with my musical expression!
Why the military? Did you want to see combat?
AM: No; I did not want to see combat. Growing up for me was not the easiest situation. Mind you I had a great loving and supporting family, but financially it made more sense for me to go to the military to help offer a college education afterwards. I went in July 11th of 2001…needless to say I was not too thrilled when September 11th happened; but as I look back on it now, I am glad I had the opportunity to serve and to be in the Army when that took place. Thankfully I never saw any combat!
How did you determine your career path?
AM: I like to think that my career chose me! Entertainment just runs through my blood and DNA. When on stage I am a fun entertainer, when in the audience I am the best audience member! Expressing myself through the arts is, in my opinion, vital to my existence!
What led you to L.A.?
AM: Moving to L.A. was a life long dream. I always wanted to move to Hollywood. After a visit in December of 2004, I made my decision to go back to Texas…grab my stuff…and to go back to L.A. and I did!
No grass grows under your feet. Explain the migration from L.A. to Texas, then D.C.
AM: Well, my roots in many places surpassed my presence here on earth. My mothers’ family has been in Texas since 1860, living in the same county (branching out from there to a few other places) and my fathers’ family is based in L.A., and has been there since the 1950’s. So I feel a deep sense of history from both places. When I moved to Washington DC, it was only to help with the Global Family Program. After getting to know the area, I decided to establish my own roots here. Thankfully, I have made many friends along the way that keep in touch with!
Sometimes a change of location is good for us and your involvement in the music scene was forthcoming. Tell me about composing and supervising “A Song and a Prayer”?
AM: “A Song and a Prayer” came by chance. I answered an ad online for the position under the impression that I would never hear back from them. I got a phone call stating that I was hired, and was asked to report to the set with some original music. One of the songs “Look Beyond” I wrote while driving on Wilshire Blvd and then heading up Crenshaw Blvd while on the way to the set! It was a challenge for me and it showed me that this was indeed what I wanted to do with my life!
Did you write all the songs on your current CD? Any collaborations?
AM: My current CD is full of originals, covers and collaborations. “All I Want to Do” was composed for me by a wonderful pianist and dear friend Kenny Peagler. I think it is one of the jewels on the project!
What kind of music do you call it?
AM: I like to call what I do Jazz/Neo Soul. Most of my music has a jazz/soul base to it. Put in a modern beat, and a signature voice…and you’ve got the sound!
Official Video: “Leo Rising”
Define your personal brand:
AM: I would define my brand as a “Signature Brand”. My brand – similar to a signature – is unique, personal, official, inviting, and made for entertaining. When one thinks of Aaron Myers, I would love for these things to come to mind.
I would define my persona as an entertainer of old, transported & transformed into the 21st Century. When you come to my shows there is no doubt that it is 2013…but for a moment you feel transported with ease to other eras when live entertainment ruled the scene.
What role does music and culture play in your identity?
AM: Without music, I do not know who I would be. A few years ago I suffered an accident where (due to the injuries) I was unable to play the piano for about a year. During that year I realized that even without being able to perform…the music was in me. So; if you take away music, you then take away me. But to be quite honest, when I think of a world without music, I wouldn’t want to live there anyway!
What led you to art in general and to your art form in particular?
AM: There is nothing like watching a true entertainer. Two entertainers on today’s scene that I love to see are Kevin Hart & Esperanza Spalding. When they get into their zones…hang on and get ready for the ride! Seeing people being so obedient to their truths, taking that chance and living honestly through their artful expressions, not only inspires me, but keeps me attracted to the industry. Growing up watching the black and white TV Shows, and hearing some killer albums/records inspired me to the point that when the shows were over, and the albums were done…I wanted to keep going!
How do you think you’re different from others in the industry?
AM: Well; one way I am different in a big way is my accent! When people hear me talk they think I am, a) a senior citizen, b) a preacher and, c) a true southerner! These are boxes I do not mind people seeing me and then putting me in. The fun then begins when you take me out of the box and see that I can communicate with audiences that are multi-generational, multi-ethnic, and all of that before I have had my first drink! I think that is pretty unique!
How do you stay on the leading edge of your craft?
AM: Constantly, I am trying to learn more about the history and innovations of my industry. The moment I stop learning will be the moment I am no longer relevant!
What led you to run for Mayor?
AM: Well, my run for Mayor was encouraged by my college government teacher (and now dear friend) Laurie Robertstad. It was election time in our city, and another young person was going to run for Mayor (or at least said he was going to run). I at first wanted to assist his race, but when I figured out it was more of a game to him, she encouraged me to put my money where my mouth was…and thus the “Myers for Mayor of Corsicana, Texas” began. That race taught me that the best form of exercise is to run for public office!
What have your experiences as a politician and an artist taught you?
AM: My experiences as a politician and an artist taught me that if I cannot stand in truth, do not stand at all. People can tell when you are singing if you can really feel it or not. Likewise when a politician is speaking to a crowd, everyone can tell (hopefully) when they are full of it or are genuine. I try to allow this policy to translate into my personal life. The first place I try to stand in truth is with myself. If I cannot be true to myself then I had might as well hang it all up. Daily I work on trying to be authentic with me first, then with those around me. This was the greatest truth I learned from the fields of politics and entertainment.
Where would you be today if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now?
AM: I would not be…period.
What are your views on the state of the economy as it relates to the music industry?
AM: The state of the economy in general is piss poor at the moment (and that is better than it was about 4 years ago). As it relates to the industry, I truly do not know where the money is going or coming from. With so many free music channels, independent artists have a hard time making actual money from their music while trying to push it out to the masses. At the same time, I hear of all the labels complaining about how they are losing money as well…but then I turn on the TV and see music artists living large…and losing large as well. So, I believe this whole industry, from an economical standpoint, is shaky at best. I pray that my expression of art is identified by enough people so I can make a decent living at it!
What are the top 3 issues you would like to see changed in America and also the world?
AM: 1. CURE FOR HIV/AIDS! It baffles my mind that we have not found a cure for this yet.
2. End of discrimination for members of the LGBTQA Community. It makes me literally sick at my stomach when I see so many people who feel they are justified either because of their religion or other affiliation, in spewing hate speech, discrimination, or downright violence toward members of the LGBTQA community. Many folks who do this, do this in “Love” they call it. I am simply over it. You show me a GOD who is NOT big enough to love and accept everyone, and I will show you a GOD who I will not be serving. The GOD I serve loves everyone, equally. I grew up in the church, and the very folks who cannot stand members of the LGBTQA community will shout, dance, cry and be inspired by the music composed/written/recorded by folks…who are secretly (now more are open) LGBTQA! I tell you that this country (and church) needs to wake up and do it fast. If we learn to treat each other as we wished to be treated, this whole country and world would be a better place!
3. Our members of Congress…Collectively…need a time out! When I have dealt with children in the past, and they could not share, compromise, be polite in speech/action or just couldn’t keep their hands/feet to themselves…I would put them in time out (or just spank them). It astonishes me that so many people over the age of 60 can’t seem to get their acts together. While the American people wait for jobs, educational opportunities, access to health care, and access to food…members of Congress have decided to effectively agree on absolutely nothing, and the American people suffer because of it. They all should be ashamed of themselves. Their current job performance does not equate to serving or protecting the constitution. I am appalled…and they should be too!
How has your past work experience prepared you for what you do now?
AM: The biggest thing I learned in the past that encourages me now is that if I am true to myself first. I can walk off stage with my head held high.
When you look back at it now, does your work mean something different to you now than it did when you first started in the business?
AM: ABSOLUTELY! When I look back at wanting to be an entertainer and just starting in the business, I see a young person who did it in hopes of being recognized and for glamour/fame/fortune (all of those things are wonderful) but when I go on stage now…it is for ME! I want to do it so I can be proud of MYSELF, so I can be true to MYSELF. It took losing some very important people in my life to realize that, I hate they cannot be here with me now to experience a happier me.
What’s fascinating about your life?
AM: No two days are the same!
Define innovative methods you apply to your business and life.
AM: Typically I plan my day the day before. Usually I am aware of what needs to happen the next day, and I try not to go to sleep before I am certain of what goals I need to reach the next day! Also, I do not cut on my Television before 4pm. If my TV comes on before 4pm, it is either because every task set for that day has been accomplished or some breaking news that I need to see is on.
Name your favorite role models for success in two industries.
AM: John Legend and Congressman Jim Clyborn
Describe goal-setting methods you use and how you evaluate your success.
AM: This has to happen in stages for me. My ultimate dream come true in life is to get an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony)! I keep that dream in my head daily, knowing that it may or may not happen…but it definitely will not happen if I am not being true to my art now.
Daily, I have set goals that I strive to meet. Weekly and monthly I set goals I try to reach. Most of my evaluations are project/event based, so tracking how successful my work has been can be seen directly through these projects and/or events.
Most memorable moment[s]?
AM: I had to sing the National Anthem at the retirement ceremony of a good friend. This is right after the whole Beyonce situation at the inauguration. Originally I was set to do it acapella and learned the night before that they actually had an instrumental in my key. The next morning as we arrived, I went over the music with the sound guy but noticed the volume was quite low and I also did not have a large lead-in time to start the song. I told the guy to count me off and to blast the music. Well, as the ceremony started and I approached the podium, I counted off in my head…no music…then I heard it…faintly (as did everyone else) and the race to catch up with the music, not pass the music, and to hear the music started in front of about 50 saluting officers/servicemen/sailors, their wives, and 50 more close friends and relatives. As I sang, I looked over the audience and saw everyone in a tolerant, patriotic and supportive mood with a supportive facial expression…except my girlfriend. The look on her face, the size of her eyes (and) the slight grin as she tried to keep herself from laughing would be my most memorable experience. As I sat down I felt horrible, then a General rose and simply stated,
“We knew that wasn’t lip synced because we saw him make it through despite the difficulties.” … then the laughter.
That was the most memorable experience that I can think of. I only hope that if I am ever asked to sing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl, I will have the good sense to lip sync it like Beyonce did at the Inauguration!
What’s exciting this year?
AM: On July 4th, my debut album “Leo Rising” will be officially released! Go to www.aaron2.me to download it!
Excited to see:
AM: I am excited to see where this career takes me! I have always said that I want to live to be 102, and then (when I die) for it to take everyone by surprise! I am excited to see what happens to music, with music, and because of music over the approaching years!
Bonus Clips: “Leo Rising” @ Avatar Studios: