It takes a lot of guts to leave one’s hometown. To take the foundation built during your life and start from square one. Along with celebrating Antelope Valley culture at home, I seek to document those who represent it abroad.

Luis Echeveria, a musician and former Lancaster native, moved to Nashville to pursue his dream. After attending the Music and Commercial Music programs and Antelope Valley College, he moved on to Columbia College in Chicago, at Kingston University in the UK.

Jesse Davidson: What groups do you currently play with?

Luis Echeveria: My main band is Jon Worthy and the Bends. We are a high-energy Indie Americana rock band. I play keyboards, guitar and sing background vocals in the band. We have a new album called “Something’s Gotta Give,” that will be released on June 28. It’s the first album I’ve been involved with, since I joined the band in August 2018. It’s a more laid back acoustic band record and I’m very proud of the contributions I’ve made (keyboards, accordion, vocal arrangements) to help bring Jon’s new songs to life with a phenomenal line-up of musicians.

I also play in a band called H.O.W.L. (Hang On We’re Lost). We perform original music of all genres ranging from R&B, Country, Rock and Pop. The band is led by chief songwriter and lead singer Shelby Conquest. She’s a phenomenal writer with great instinctive musicality and a great voice. I’ve been in the band since September 2018. We mostly perform in Nashville.

This month, I’ve also started a new solo band to begin showcasing some new songs I’ve written in the past years. Our first full band show will be taking place in Nashville this July.

JD: Can you go over your background in music?

LE: I got my first drum kit when I was 5 and eventually learned to teach myself by watching other drummers and mimicking their moves and style. That was also around the time I started taking classical piano lessons. When I was 7, my dad introduced me to Elton John and the first two songs I remember listening to were “Border Song” and “Burn Down The Mission” and it completely changed my life. I remember going, “How can a piano sound like that? I want to play like that.” When I began taking guitar lessons at 10, my first guitar idol was Eric Clapton, along with Brian May, Joe Walsh and Johnny Winter. I played in many bands in high school but I didn’t pursue music until I began college. Initially I was going to pursue computer science, but I wasn’t very good at it. Eventually, my parents came around to support my endeavors in pursuing and studying music. I love my parents dearly and I am extremely fortunate to have their support in my pursuit of a music career.

I’ve earned a bachelor’s and two master’s degrees all in music, the final masters being in songwriting. As a songwriter, my influences have evolved year by year.

JD: What was your first impression of Nashville?

LE: When I first arrived in Nashville, my initial move was to immerse myself in the songwriter’s scene. I initially went forward under the Americana genre label. I was lucky I got to perform at the Bluebird Cafe open mic three times in two months. I found out early on, that if you wanted the real deal, you had to look into the East Nashville scene. That’s where some great artists are writing about the real stuff. I met my friend Crystal, in line to see John Moreland, and we hit it off. Later that week, she invited me to Aaron Lee Tasjan’s semi-annual jam session concert. A Tasjam, if you will. It was completely mind-blowing and everyone who hit the stage was a star in their own, unique way. Crystal introduced me to all the hippest artists and songwriters East Nashville has to offer, including Aaron. I’ve been very fortunate to have met all these wonderful people and become friends with them.

JD: What are your goals for the future?

LE: Jon Worthy and the Bends are looking to go on the road full-time next year. We’re in the midst of promoting our new album and showcasing the new material. So far, it’s been gaining some good traction. H.O.W.L. has a debut EP of original material soon to be released. I’m also looking to make more moves with my solo work. Ultimately, the goal is to be able to support myself financially as a full-time musician.

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