North Texas Daily

Local hip hop artist plays to his own beat

Local hip hop artist plays to his own beat

September 10
18:41 2015

Kayleigh Bywater | Senior Staff Writer

@kayleighbywater

Most people try to keep up with the most popular music tracks or follow the biggest artists of the year. Musician and Denton resident Gerardo Reyes does his best to discover and create music that is not nearly as mainstream.

Reyes, who goes by the stage name Character, wants to bring a sound and stage presence to Denton that is fresh and completely his own. His outgoing personality and crazy antics are what led him to come up with the name Character. He said it completely embodies everything he is.

“Music is the only thing that makes sense to me,” Character said. “It is who I am. It’s a part of my character, and I definitely am a complete character when it comes to anything music-related.”

Character was part of a rock band that performed around Fort Worth when he was 17 years old, but the band broke up before it could take off. After a small hiatus, Character picked up rapping in 2012. Currently signed to Gitmo Music as a rap artist, he describes his music as alternative, emotional hip-hop with a theatrical stage presence.

Character is member of two bands. He raps for progressive rock group Corpus Ego and is a rock singer for alternative rap group Motormoufz. He also waits tables at a restaurant.

What would seem like a lot of time and energy to some, Character said, doesn’t really feel like work to him. He said as long as he’s doing what he loves, all the activity is more enjoyable than anything.

Sidney Johnson | Staff Photographer

Gerardo Reyes aka Character Sidney Johnson | Staff Photographer

“I love all aspects of music, but I enjoy some more than others,” Character said. “Performing, whether solo or with someone, is my favorite part about what I do. Whether it’s just in front of the bartender or in a crowd of 80 people, I get to spaz out and do what I love.”

Even though Character is a part of the large music population of Denton, Motormoufz member Stu Ludlow, also known as Stu Brootal, said he brings something to the city that is hard to find in a lot of artists nowadays.

“He doesn’t let the idea of what’s ‘hot’ bother him,” Ludlow said. “His music is uncensored and unheard of. He’s not acting or trying to get you to think he’s cool. He is just being his raw self, [which] is a very off the wall, energetic and often sinister display. He has originality in the true sense of the word. He embraces that uniqueness and it shows in his performance.”

Some artists crack under the pressure of conforming to what is popular, but Character said he got to where he was today was because he didn’t try to go with the flow. He stays true to himself when he writes and performs.

“I am not really an artist that you get to love immediately,” Character said. “From what I have heard from people, the first time you watch me and listen to my songs, you probably won’t know what the hell is going on. But I think that adds to the fun and spontaneity of performing. I am a stupid, crazy fool that hasn’t tried to be someone I’m not. I’m not trying to be cool. I am just trying to be me.”

Fan Kyle Feeney said Character’s charisma shows through his performance style. Each show is not only crazy and unique, he said, but it is also very personable and complex.

“He vibes with the crowd. He will get down with the crowd and rap to them and just be a goofball,” Feeney said. “One time he had a group of us sit down with him and he just rapped around us. He isn’t someone you forget easily, because his energy and love for the art shines throughout his music and performances.”

Character said he tries to perform as often as he can so he can share as much of his music with Denton as possible. Although the road has not always been easy, he said even the smallest shows make him appreciate the place he’s reached

“I play shows pretty frequently in Denton, and every now and then in Fort Worth or Dallas,” Character said. “The hardest part is branching out of your city. Once you shake the right hands and impress the right people, it gets a little easier. It is an uphill battle, but I’ve just had to push forward.”

Like most artists, Ludlow said there is much more to Character than meets the eye. Behind the spontaneous performances and high energy lies a musician who genuinely loves what he is doing and wants the audience to have a great time.

“He has a side of him that people will never get to know unless they see him onstage. There’s nothing that I could tell you without showing you for you to understand Character,” Ludlow said. “His presence is one thing, but the rabbit hole is deep. Once you follow him down into his inner mind, you begin to see something very rare and abstract. He’s a big mess, but everyone loves him anyway.”

The next few months have a lot in store for Character and his career. This month, he will be playing at Oaktopia Fest alongside many other Denton favorites. Toward the end of the year, he hopes to release his first solo album and Corpus Ego’s first album as a band.

Although his music will be picking up, he said he won’t forget his roots: his supporters, his town and, of course, his character.

“Every performance is a new memory, and I think that’s beautiful,” Character said. “I am excited to make many more memories, because it’s not only an outlet from my inner insecurities, but it is also a way I can connect to people. Having my fans and supporters shows me that I’m not alone in the way I feel about things, and I’m excited to see where this journey takes me.”

Featured Image:Gerardo Reyes aka Character Sidney Johnson | Staff Photographer

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