Originally published in January 2018
Pete Hernandez was a musician before he even knew he was one.
The Yakima music teacher and singer/songwriter grew up listening to rock n’ roll, but until he picked up a guitar at age 14, he didn’t realize he could emulate the sounds coming from his radio.
Now Hernandez has been strumming and singing for more than 25 years, and he’s hoping to take his lifelong passion worldwide — on the internet, anyway.
Hernandez has been posting his original works on ReverbNation.com for the past seven years, and he’s starting to build a following.
“I was approached by SRL Networks out of London last summer, saying they had discovered me online,” said Hernandez, a former guitar instructor at Ted Brown Music who still teaches private lessons.
“They are big supporters of independent artists, and they asked me to send in a video of a live performance as sort of an audition. I’m finalizing the track right now, and I think it’s the best work I’ve ever done.”
If Hernandez’s submission is chosen, it will be heard around the world on Skunk Radio Live, an independent music platform with thousands of followers around the world.
He doesn’t know where the audition process will go, but even if his music isn’t chosen, he is honored to have been considered.
“Getting exposure on Skunk Radio would be a great start, but I’ve already gotten a lot of attention on ReverbNation,” said Hernandez, 41, also a manager at The Slow Burn in Union Gap. “It’s hard to know where this will go, but my end goal is to support myself with my music. I feel like this is my purpose in life.”
These days, there’s no doubt what Hernandez wants to do with his career. But in his younger years, he wasn’t so sure what his path would be.
He experienced some hardships in his teen years and his life veered off track for a time. What brought him back to reality was making music.
“I was a really angry kid; pretty self-destructive,” Hernandez said. “I dropped out of school and guitar became my outlet. I eventually got away from the really hard rock and gravitated more toward Pink Floyd, Ozzy Osbourne and Judas Priest. That opened my eyes to a whole new world of music, so I started trying to copy what I was hearing.
“When I finally figured out how to play the guitar, I wasn’t angry anymore. I had discovered artists who had a little more depth, and that inspired the songs I would eventually write.”
Hernandez met some other musicians, played in some bands and started teaching guitar. Then he figured out how to digitally master his tracks, which opened up even more opportunities through the ReverbNation.com community.
That revelation has completely changed his outlook on a potential career in music.
Hernandez says his late father, Pete Hernandez Jr., and his longtime girlfriend, Holly Cousens, have provided him with endless support, instilling him with the confidence he needed to put himself out there, whether on stage or online.
“I wouldn’t have gotten here without them,” he said. “At the same time, I feel like I owe something to music. Music is what spared me from a really difficult life after what I had gone through as a kid. Now I’m hoping it can help me build a career.”