Openly gay American Idol David Hernandez is out now with the music video for his new single, “ILY.” The music video stars Benji Schwimmer from So You Think You Can Dance, a former Mormon who is also openly gay, as David’s embattled love interest. Benji also choreographed all of the dances in the video. Trans actress Alexa Abraxas plays the therapist who is helping them to work through their relationship issues. Its powerful message is one of inclusion and how it is vital 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”. “I want everyone to be able to identify with the song’s message. We are lacking inclusion in music and it needs to be recognized because inclusion inspires understanding and humanizes our experiences.”
It is important to David Hernandez 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.”
The “ILY.” video, shot by Arno Diem, depicts two people in a relationship that are 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 from So You Think You Can Dance plays David Hernandez’s love interest in the video. He also choreographed the dance sequence that he taught to David in two days. “I had never danced so much in my career!” David laughs. “Benji is an incredible and patient teacher. He made the experience much less stressful and really helped me to connect the movement to the music. “
“Talent is a funny thing,” Benji Schwimmer reflects from his LA home. “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. Beyond all of that, David is just an awesome, humble person, and it was a true pleasure to be able to move and create with someone I now call friend.”
David Hernandez began singing at age six, starring in musicals and performing with various theatre companies. At fifteen, he started writing original music and recording his arrangements. In addition to American Idol, he 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. He was named among TV Guides’ Sexiest Stars and opened for John Legend at President Barack Obama’s Inauguration. His previous single, “Beautiful”, released in 2016 became a Billboard Top 200 Dance Chart hit.
He has released two full-length albums, 2011’s I Am Who I Am and most recently, KINGDOM: THE MIXTAPE, an album that included twenty original tracks, many of which reflected on the love and loss he experienced since rising to fame on American Idol.
David and Benji recall different experiences coming out. David’s was simple in that he phoned his mom after a breakup, crying, “Mom, someone broke my heart”. She asked, “Who baby? What’s her name?” David answered, “Shane.”
Benji’s coming out consisted of battling through fourteen years of reparative therapy within the Mormon church. He fought his temptations towards the same sex for many years until finally coming out via a 4-hour film documentary.
David Hernandez hopes “ILY.” inspires acceptance and understanding as grace and love are essential. “We are all beautiful and intricate beings that just want to love and be loved,” he says. “This Pride season, be who you are unapologetically and authentically. Break free from judgment and live your best life! ILY.”
Find out more about Hernandez at OfficialDavidHernandez.com.
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