Out Music: David Hernandez & Benji Schwimmer Dance It Out In ‘ILY.’

Benji Schwimmer and David Hernandez in "ILY."
Benji Schwimmer and David Hernandez in "ILY."
Benji Schwimmer and David Hernandez in “ILY.”

Former American Idol David Hernandez drops his new summer anthem, “ILY.” with an powerful message of how vital it is that we love one another for who and what we are.

“ILY. is not pronoun specific and that was intentional,” Hernandez points out. The initial pre-chorus was written as “I wouldn’t be the man I am if it weren’t for you.” Hernandez changed the line to “I wouldn’t be who I am, if it weren’t for you.”

Hernandez, who has been a force in pop music since he hit the national spotlight on American Idol in 2008, sings his face off in “ILY.” Leaving no corner of his vocal range and power untouched, the 37-year-old is brimming with joy and passion. This is a real singer, folks.

In the music video (by Arno Diem), Hernandez and his co-star – Benji Schwimmer of So You Think You Can Dance fame – play a couple struggling with each other’s shortcomings and insecurities.

They visit a therapist, played by trans actress, Alexa Abraxas, and discover that through the heartache, they share a common thread of love for one another and that for many, it’s the obstacles we overcome that make a relationship stronger.

Benji Schwimmer and David Hernandez in "ILY."
Benji Schwimmer and David Hernandez in “ILY.”

“Talent is a funny thing,” says Schwimmer, who also choreographed the artful and nuanced movement for the video. “It sometimes means you have to deal with personalities that aren’t the easiest to get along with because it goes hand in hand with one’s genius. That was not the case with David.”

“Here you have an artist who not only can sing the roof off but also was on time for every rehearsal, practiced till we both were hot sweaty messes and never stopped seeking the best solutions to the project at hand,” continued the dancer/choreographer.

Benji Schwimmer and David Hernandez in "ILY."
Benji Schwimmer and David Hernandez in “ILY.”

In addition to American Idol, Hernandez’s numerous TV appearances include The Ellen Show, The Today Show, MTV’s TRL, EXTRA, Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, Teen Choice Awards, Idol Tonight, and FOX-TV’s Idol Gives Back.

His previous single, “Beautiful,” released in 2016 became a Billboard Top 200 Dance Chart hit – and I named the track one of the Top 5 LGBTQ singles of 2016.

By the way, hit that link to my Best of 2016 podcast – wow, what a great year in LGBTQ entertainment that was!

Cover art for David Hernandez's new single "ILY."

With this release, Hernandez says it’s important that we normalize the LGBTQ experience, and instill in everyone that love is love, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation.

“Growing up, I was only taught the dynamic and gender roles between a man and a woman,” Hernandez reflects. “There was never any rule or guide book on how two men can coexist in a romantic relationship. Navigating it on my own has been challenging, especially when many people in the world still continue to view same sex relationships as not normal.”

“We are all beautiful and intricate beings that just want to love and be loved,” he adds. “This Pride season, be who you are unapologetically and authentically. Break free from judgment and live your best life! ILY.”

Hit the play button below to take in “ILY.” You can also check out my coverage of his recent releases – “Kingdom” and “Boomerang.”

InstaHunk Round-Up: November 29, 2020

Jeff Ferreira in Rio (image via Instagram)

Checking in on some of my favorite InstaHunks this weekend. What can I say? I like to look at nice things 🙂

First up, Jeff Ferreira (above) says he’s ‘single in Rio de Janeiro,’ but I spy two wine glasses in the pic…

Wait a second, though, international performer and former Mr. Continental, Ramon Ventura, appears to be in Rio as well – so maybe we could get the two together?

 

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A post shared by Ramon Ventura (@ramonventura3)

And another from Brazil! Jim Newman is getting into character for a photo shoot for a sexy doctor (don’t know why a doc would be shirtless, stop with the silly questions).

 

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A post shared by Jim Newman (@jimnewmannyc)

Dentist Curtis Fitzgerald is looking super-chill this holiday weekend.

 

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A post shared by Curtis Fitzgerald (@gpphysique)

Dan Tai is looking for adventure:

 

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A post shared by Dan Tai (@dantai)

Singer David Hernandez is in a onesie kind of mood:

 

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A post shared by David Hernandez (@dhernandezmusic)

Max Souza quotes Gandhi, “We must become the change we want to see.” Then, can I change into Max?

 

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A post shared by Max Souza (@maxsouza92)

Fitness model Killian has a new book, Bliss, available to order. Where’s my dang credit card???

 

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A post shared by Killian (@killian___)

Personal trainer and author Bruno Baba thinks he looks fat in this photo but “at least I’ll be warm in the winter.” #ICanShowYouSomeFat

 

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A post shared by Bruno Baba (@baba_bruno)

And big and beefy GymBear (Wes Dupee) has a cute and cozy Christmas tree up and ready for the holidays:

 

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A post shared by Wes Dupee (@gymbear79)

Out Music: David Hernandez ‘Kingdom’

David Hernandez (photo credit: Ian Maxion)

I’ve long been a fan of American Idol alum David Hernandez and his latest single, “Kingdom,” does not disappoint.

Singing about a relationship that he allowed to wreck his whole world, Hernandez shares a cautionary tale about the dangers of infatuation.

“I think it’s safe to say most of us have had lustful relationships or hookups where maybe we weren’t thinking too clearly,” Hernandez says. “Where we were doing things we normally wouldn’t do or acting in ways that made us look crazy.”

“We all learn and grow from our experiences,” says the swoon-worthy singer. “One of the greatest lessons I have learned is how all is fair in love and war.”

I’ve always held onto my reign / but I’ll put my Kingdom in your name / cause you’re taking over me

“I have made the mistake of offering up everything I have worked so hard for to another person,” he acknowledges from his LA home. Even though friends tried to help but he would ignore them. “The lust was already in full effect,” he explains.

The music video was filmed last month in downtown LA. Due to the pandemic, it was shot with a minimal two-man crew including director Arno Diem. Hernandez says he took a simplified approach for the video because, “I wanted it to feel raw – because ‘Kingdom’ evokes some really raw emotions.”

In addition to American Idol, the veteran recording artist has showcased his talents on The Ellen Show, The Today Show, MTV’s TRL, EXTRA, Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, Teen Choice Awards, Idol Tonight, FOX-TV’s Idol Gives Back.

His previous single, “Beautiful,” released in 2016 became a Billboard Top 200 Dance Chart hit. I named that track one of the Top 5 Songs by an out artist in 2016.

David Hernandez’s “Kingdom” is available now on Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal, Tik-Tok, Amazon, and all other major e-music retailers.

You can check out my 201 Best of LGBTQ Entertainment episode featuring Hernandez’s “Beautiful” below.

Out Music: David Hernandez ‘Boomerang’

Out singer David Hernandez (photo: Joshua Stinnett)

American Idol alum David Hernandez drops his latest music video, “Boomerang,” shot on location in Palm Springs during the pandemic.

Don’t worry – the whole shebang was done on the up and up according to COVID-19 protocols with social distancing, and only actual couples that have been quarantined together were doing the kissing, like Hernandez and his boo, Derek Caldera.

I’ve been a fan of Hernandez for years now. In 2016, his song “Beautiful” was one of my Top 5 Songs from out musicians.

His vocals are always on point never relying on just ‘power notes,’ and the production is consistently creative and top-shelf.

Of the video, Hernandez shares, “The vibe of the song is love all the way around so I wanted to show love in all different shapes and sizes.”

(screen capture from ‘Boomerang’)

InstaHunk Round-Up: Weekend Edition

Wilson Cruz (via Instagram)

Checking in with the men of Insta:

Wilson Cruz (above) spent his New Year’s celebration in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and came out the other side as a well-rested human (below). #LoveSomePV

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A well rested human. Thank you PV. 🥰

A post shared by Wilson Cruz (@wcruz73) on

David Hernandez enjoyed a glass of bubbly at sunset in Puerto Vallarta as well:

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❤️

A post shared by DAVID HERNANDEZ (@dhernandezmusic) on

Rodiney Santiago met a new friend inspiring him to share his thoughts on being vegetarian:

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“When I see bacon, I see a pig, I see a little friend, and that’s why I can’t eat it. Part of me becoming a vegetarian was due the fact I would look at my burger, then look at dogs, and I wouldn’t see any difference and would suddenly question myself on why dogs have rights and others animals like pigs don’t. What’s the difference? A year ago I personally choose not to eat them anymore because I educated myself on factory farming and animal cruelty, and I suddenly realized that what was on my plate were living beings with feelings. I just couldn’t disconnect myself from the truth for that moment forward in my life. Our rationality does not make us superior to the beings that dwell here on earth, it is in fact, the other way around, we are responsible for all the imbalances that occur here. Once you understand and educate your senses you realize that all animals are here in the planet with us not for us ! 🌱 🐷🐮🐔🦢🐑🐏 🐶🐱❤️#vegetarian #exuma #pigbeach #exumabahamas #bahamas #loveanimals #loveanimalsdonteatthem #peta #animalrights #awakening #awake #awakenedsoul

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Tyson Beckford flexed for the New Year:

Gus Kenworthy ignored the camera as he gazed pensively at the horizon in Tahiti:

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Me (feat. feet) 👣🐆🐾👙

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Aaron Kodak admired Phi Phi Island from a distance but no one seems to see any island in this photo:

Someone was playing sportsball somewhere:

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Caption this!

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Wes Dupee found a cute new look for his last weekend in LA:

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Something cute for my last weekend in LA 💙

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Dan Tai says there are three kinds of trunks in this photo. I personally don’t see any luggage whatsoever:

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There are 3 kinds of trunks in this photo…

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In case you’re wondering – no, I never saw anyone just stroll down the street in Beverly Hills looking like Ignacio Pérez Rey when I lived there:

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California dreamin’

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And speaking of Beverly Hills, Emmy Award winner Billy Porter shares his first lewk of the awards season, which he calls ‘Handmaids Tale Realness:’

News Round-Up: April 24, 2019

David Hernandez

Some news item you might have missed:

• Out singer/songwriter and American Idol alum David Hernandez found my favorite place in Puerto Vallarta – Mantamar Beach Club. If you look behind him in the lower right hand corner, you can see the cabanas hot hubby Michael and I always spend our days in 🙂

• File this under ‘Birds of a feather…’ One of the co-founders of Students For Trump has been arrested for pretending to be a Manhattan lawyer and taking thousands from would-be clients.

• Five states – California, New Mexico, Oregon, Nevada, and Washington – have announced they will refuse to impose Donald Trump’s trans military ban and therefore not remove trans people from their National Guards.

• Donald Trump says his administration is “fighting all the subpoenas” claiming the Democrats are hoping to “luck out” by going after him. If you’re innocent, why hide anything?

• Former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was told not to bring up any concerns about  Russian forms of interference in the 2020 election in front of Donald Trump because he “equated any public discussion of malign Russian election activity with questions about the legitimacy of his victory.”

• Fox’s Empire will feature the first black gay wedding on network television; and it may be Jussie Smollett’s last episode.

• Today is True Colors Day – launched by Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors United organization in an effort to raise public awareness about LGBTQ youth homelessness, and to provide supporters with simple ways to make a difference.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) young people are 120% more likely to experience homelessness than non-LGBTQ youth. While many factors contribute to LGBTQ youth homelessness, identity-based family rejection is the most commonly cited reason.

The cast of FX’s Pose sat down to make this video for True Colors Day about how we can change our culture to one of love and acceptance.

Music Video: David Hernandez “Shield (Coat Of Armor)”

David Hernandez (via Hernandez Worldwide Music)

American Idol alum David Hernandez proves he is definitely the king of his own kingdom as he drops his new album, Kingdom: the Mixtape.

Kingdom: the Mixtape teams the hunky artist with the Black Eyed Peas‘ Grammy-winning producer, Printz Board, and features a collaboration with fellow American Idol Blake Lewis.

The follow-up to his 2011 debut album, I Am Who I Am, this new collection of 20 tracks reflects many of the highs and lows he’s experienced since his time on the American Idol stage in 2008, including his sometimes crunchy relationship with the music industry.

“I’ve been sitting on most of this material for years, waiting for the right time to release it,” Hernandez shares via press release. “I’ve listened to too many people’s opinions about when to release, how, what images and content are appropriate… I was just over listening to what other people think I should do. One day I finally stepped back and realized I had a great body of work that deserves to be heard, now.”

Many of the songs explore Hernandez’s journey over the past decade rebuilding trust and love, his refusal to give up, and his persistence to change for the better.

But it’s not all about an uphill climb. There are also tracks that express joy and fun because as Hernandez explains, “Life isn’t always that serious and sometimes you just wanna let go and rage!”

The new album stretches across several genres including power ballads, soul/R&B, and dance tracks.

The title track is an achingly soulful mid-tempo ballad that soars across triumphant drums and a grand piano.

“Shield (Coat of Armor),” the first single and music video from the album, is an uplifting, confident, guitar-driven anthem.

“Beautiful” showcases Hernandez’s vocals in power pop mode, while “Last Supper” and “Animal” are uptempo numbers clearly born for the dance floor.

Then there’s “Break,” an introspective mid-tempo song that lays bare Hernandez’s struggles with addiction.

“I wrote the song at a time when I was drinking a lot and popping Xanax,” says Hernandez. “It was an awful time. We were being evicted from our apartment and everything was going to shit.

“I ended up in rehab and eventually got clean of prescription drugs, and life became much better,” he adds.

While every day can be a private struggle for those with addiction, Hernandez says that he felt compelled to put the song on the mixtape because prescription drug addition has reached epidemic levels among youth.

“Young people are dying and committing suicide. They need to know there is help,” he says.

“I hope listeners hear a piece of my soul in Kingdom: the Mixtape,” shares Hernandez. “I hope they get where I am coming from, really see me for who I am, and that they, too, can relate to the songs. I want the mixtape to be healing, enlightening, and revelrous.”

You can find Kingdom: the Mixtape on iTunes here.

Podcast: The Best Of LGBTQ Entertainment In 2016

Tune in as I share my “Top 5” lists of the best in LGBTQ music, film, theater and more from the year that was 2016.

• Top 5 songs from out musicians Ty Herndon, David Hernandez, Jeb Havens, Halsey and Tegan & Sara

• Top 5 LGBT themed movies: Moonlight, Retake, Other People, First Girl I Loved and King Kobra

• Highlights from Broadway including The Color Purple, Falsettos and Dear Evan Hansen

All that and much more. Hit the play button and enjoy!

Radio Show: This Week In LGBT News

Dancing With The Stars champ Nyle DiMarco

Take a listen to my latest radio show episode, hosted on BlogTalkRadio, which aired today.

Episode synopsis:

Join Randy as he wraps up the latest in LGBT news from the worlds of entertainment, music, politics and sports.

• Three time Olympic medalist Danell Leyva is not only a double-silver medal winner but an ardent equal rights activist ally

• Hottie Nick Jonas talked about criticism he received for playing a gay MMA fighter on “Kingdom”

• “American Idol” alum/out musician David Hernandez drops his new single and music video “Beautiful”

• “America’s Next Top Model” & “Dancing With The Stars” champ Nyle DiMarco announced as next ‘Celebrity Guest Host’ for the world-famous Chippendales

• E! Network cancels “I Am Cait” after only two seasons

• A new study shows homophobic men are possibly just hiding their own latent homosexuality

Tune in as Randy covers these stories and more.

Hit the play button below to listen.

3-time Olympic medalist Danell Leyva

Nick Jonas
Caitlyn Jenner

Out Music: David Hernandez “Beautiful”

David Hernandez, American Idol season 7 alum, drops his new single and music video, “Beautiful.”

In an exclusive interview with OUT, Hernandez says the theme of the track is to remind folks that they are beautiful just as they are. “If you’re missing a leg, you’re still beautiful. If you’re overweight, you’re still beautiful. If you are 75 years old, you’re still beautiful,” Hernandez says.

In 2008, Hernandez made it onto the reality competition series American Idol, landing in the top 12 before being eliminated. Rumors, however, quickly started circulating about the “real reason” Hernandez was sent home. Viewers bombarded Hernandez with comments about his past as a male stripper and soon questioned his sexuality, wondering if it influenced his exit from Idol.

Hernandez has said members of the show were fully aware of his past from the very beginning. But still, the media was relentless. “It was hard to go online and not read something negative about myself.”

People were more interested in rumors and scandals than the music.

Though Hernandez now believes he has the strength and self-confidence to handle a lot of backlash, his younger self did not, and the Idol drama took a toll on himself and his family.

“My dad still knew nothing about my sexuality or my profession. So when it’s plastered all over CNN that’s not how somebody really wants to go down.”

The song is imminently listenable – sexy tribal drum beat with tons of visual diversity lighting up the screen makes this a big, vocally bold anthem for celebrating all dimensions of ethnicity, sexuality, age and whatever flavor you can think of.