For our 3rd Clapper Sounds Interview, we are highlighting the amazing alternative country artist: Houston Bernard!
Houston Bernard is a talented country artist on a Clapper. He was born in Oklahoma, grew up in Alaska but then, at 12-years-old he moved to Massachusetts and he found comfort in his music while going through transitions and tough experiences in life later on. We had an intimate interview with Bernard and talked about his side hustles and his beginnings in music. We got to know more about his thoughts on giving back to his community and the best ways to stay true as an artist in the industry.
Clapper Sounds is meant to be an intimate musical experience, and we want that mission to translate into our written interviews too. As you read about Houston Bernard, play their music in the background with our Spotify Playlist, and really get to know this artist’s unique sound.
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Let’s start from the beginning. What is your first memory of being involved with music? How did you start your artist journey?
I remember when I was 3 or 5 responding to the music that was popular then, like most kids do at that age. I also started to write little jingles that I would sing to myself. I did that at a very young age and I was attracted to playing guitar, I’d get excited when I saw any guitar. It was when I was 12 that I really started learning songs and I would perform at lip sync contest and the school play. I started writing songs and I would record them on cassette tapes. Then, I would start to get gigs and perform in malls and old folks homes. From there I just kept going. Music was a way to connect with people because I was never very social.
How would you describe your musical style? Who are your biggest inspirations?
My current musical style and where I feel most at home in is country music. I’ve been very inspired by artists like Bruce Springsteen and John Mellencamp, that era in the mid 80s. I am ver patriotic but i am human first, so I like how that era because is a balance of the best we can be as a people and as a country hopefully leading into some positivity. I feel like the heartland vibe and style is really what inspires me when I write music. That’s how I would describe my style: Heartland Country.
What is your songwriting process like?
It has changed. Covid really opened so many doors for me, where I can write with more Nashville writers, some really skilled writers.The thing about Nashville writers is the process is really developed over over 60 years where you have to be in the room. Because of Covid, that kind of went out the window. I was able to write with other writers and then suddenly it was zoom writing. I suddenly had so much time on my hands. Normally, I would come up with an idea and honest stories of my own and then bounce off each other. I don’t feel like I do my best alone, the emotions are there but writing with other people you can get more ideas on the table.
What are your thoughts on content creation as an artist? How do you feel about artists having to balance their social media presence and still be committed to their art?
You just got to be selective. Social media is very time consuming. My manager has a monthly schedule that we put together and then I have a social media manager that helps me with that. Everyday we have something and it does take away from me creating music. At the same time, it’s a good way to connect with people that I want to connect with. For me, music is about connecting with people, is not about looking great; I got over that a long time ago. I feel the more I can connect with people the more I can build my brand and the more good I can do as a human. If I can make some positive change or be a seed of inspiration for someone that’s meaningful to me.
Do you have any side hustles other than music?
Oh, a bunch. I run a mobile massage company which I started a little a before I started playing country music. I took over 5 star hotel spas on March 2020. I put the business together, I worked 80 hours a week and I wasn’t getting any sleep. It was not healthy. Then, Covid hit and everything closed down. Honestly, It’s the best thing that happened to me. I got into massages because I wanted to supplement my income, but it was too many hours. This was not my passion, I wanted to do music. Because of Covid, I’ve been able to put more time into my music.
Deciding to be an artist can have its ups and downs. What advice would you give to that young artist who is just learning to play guitar, or starting singing lessons and their dream is to be a musician?
It would probably be the same advice that I would give myself. I would say don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Make sure you have a side hustle. Entertainment is an ugly business, from club owners, to agents, everybody is trying to get their own. Building your audience is really important and staying tru to yourself. Not trying to put out what you think people want, because eventually people see through that and you’re not going to be as happy. Make sure you get an education in the area that you are interested. If you love music and performing and go to a city like Nashville and get an education in music or work in the industry. It’s not about fame, if you are thinking about fame you have already failed. Try to improve everyday, that should be your goal.
Make sure to check our recorded live session on our account Clapper Sounds and in our reels on Instagram.