Singer and Pianist Aaron Myers Discusses 'The Pride Album,' and a Lifetime of Advocacy, on The Pulse
Look up "Renaissance man" in the dictionary, and you'll find a picture of Aaron Myers. He's best described as an "artivist," as his artistry and activism are inextricable. On this special edition of The Pulse, honoring Black Music Month and Pride Month, we discuss his advocacy and passion to serve; his new book, Bi The Way: Tall Tales & Lessons Learned; and the making of The Pride Album.
In his hometown of Goodlow, Tx., Myers grew up singing and playing piano in church. People noticed early on that he had a way with people and the gift of connection. At age 14, he convinced his friend's battered mother to leave her abusive partner. Upon graduating high school, he decided to join the United States Army.
After two years of service, he enrolled at Navarro College in Texas. While a student, he embarked on a campaign to run for mayor of the town. While he didn't win, the election was close. Then he moved to Los Angeles to pursue his dream of becoming an entertainer — working as a standup comedian, a studio musician, and a music supervisor. From there he decided to switch gears to work on the Obama campaign. This led to his relocation to Washington, D.C., where he found his way onto the jazz scene. Simultaneously, he worked as the National Director for the now defunct Global Family Program and advocated for the rights of artists by forming the DC Jazz Lobby.
Aaron has always been a proponent for mental health and LGBTQIA rights as a member of numerous boards. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he worked tirelessly to ensure that musicians receive the essential resources needed to survive. He is adamant about creatives earning adequate pay, regularly speaking up on the issue as co-host of a weekly jazz jam at DC's Mr. Henry's alongside saxophonist Herb Scott, the Founder and Executive Director of Capitol Hill Jazz Foundation.
The Pride Album is Myer's fourth release — a culmination of the numerous stops he's made along his journey of art and activism. It's an expression of the plight of the Black existence in America and the current sociopolitical climate. Whether it's through his original compositions like "The New Jim Crow" and "Don't Ask Me to Smile" or through classics like Bobby Timmons' "Moanin'," which he has carefully infused with relevant lyrics speaking to issues like Black Lives Matter and the ongoing plea for equality.
This album is a declaration of freedom, self-identity, and the inner strength that only comes from fighting for the right to exist. Joining Myers in the band: Samuel Prather (piano), Herb Scott (saxophone), Kris Funn (bass), Stephen Arnold (guitar) and Dana Hawkins (drums).