ODESSA, Texas - While many are flocking to West Texas to get their own piece of the oil boom, one country music artist from Andrews, Texas is hoping for an explosive album. The push to make "Mike Hernandez" into a major country-music sensation is in full swing, after it acquired representation from "Steen Promotions" by Dillon Steen.
The band's lead-singer, Mike Hernandez, 37, started singing at an early age, but although he developed a taste for country-music later down the road, he initially sang mariachi music. "I started singing music like Pedro Fernandez and Vicente Fernandez," he reminisced. Hernandez is the youngest of three brothers. His first taste of the spotlight was at 9 years old during a 5 de Mayo parade in Andrews. That was when his mother, Sandy Hernandez, got a wild hair after spotting a mariachi group playing on a float. "She ended up stopping the float and told the guys, "this is my 'hijo' and he sings," and I got to do the whole parade with the mariachi. It was awesome," he remembered.
Music was always an escape for Hernandez, but so was bull riding. He joined the American Junior Rodeo Association in grade school. Hernandez commented, "I rode bulls for roughly 23 years- all the way from the ranks of junior to professional level." It was perhaps this dangerous sport that taught him to be persistent, even in music. "Bull riding made me strive to be the best and work hard at it," he pointed out.
After several years in community college, Hernandez enlisted and served in the United States Marine Corps from 1994 to 1998, and was stationed in North Carolina. "I was proud to serve. I had an experience of a lifetime. I picked up awards and medals over there," he said. During those years, he would take any opportunity to showcase his talent. "I'd go to a bar and I would go up and ask if I could play the first song," he said. The northeast blessed him with a wonderful gift- his son Christian. Christian, 12, is following his father's footsteps by singing. Hernandez also has a 10-year-old daughter named Makaila.
Now back in Andrews, Hernandez is re-focusing his energy to launch his music career. "I have a real good band, professional sounding, talented musicians, and they are awesome," he commented. The Mike Hernandez Band is quickly becoming a local favorite. Hernandez has an intense, warm voice, and driving ambition. On acoustic, it's Dustin Sanchez from Houston. Sanchez has written two full songs and has co-written another one for the group. The band is powerful on stage. "If I see people dancing, then I am happy to be doing it. That's all what it's really about for me," said Hernandez. Slowly, the fruits of his labor are paying off. "Some of the songs that I've recorded are tear-jerker songs. It's stuff that I went through and people can relate," he added.
The band's single, "Drunken Days & Lonely Nites," is now out on radio stations.