|Born in Miami Beach, Fernando Perdomo showed an interest in music at an early age. As a child he would spend Sundays scouring flea markets and pawnshops for old records and musical instruments deserted by their previous owners. His allowance money was well spent as it helped him develop a vast knowledge of all styles of music and a mastery of various musical instruments he still uses today; whether he is writing, performing, or recording.
Coming from an interesting family, his mother was a brilliant pianist and poet who became a successful journalist and copy editor. She was a founder of the El Nuevo Herald (Spanish Miami Herald). His mother encouraged him to be creative and let him pursue a career in music after his dad’s tragic death. He has been a pro since he was 18 and he lives and breathes music. Happily Fernando seems to have a good habit of bouncing back stronger everytime something terrible happens.
Fernando had the good fortune of participating in Miami Beach Senior High’s prestigious rock and classical guitar ensembles under the direction of Doug Burris. This rock education gave him all the experience he needed to become a professional musician; and at age 18 sneaking into Miami’s popular rock clubs, recording at Criteria studios, South Beach Studios, and Middle Ear Studios. In 1999, his powerful guitars were featured in a nationwide ad campaign for Pier One Imports.
At 22 he recorded most of the guitars for Christian Castro’s platinum “Amar Es” album, including the number 1 hit “No Hace Falta.” He would go on to tour with Christian for 3 solid years, visiting 15 countries and playing countless TV and radio performances. Fernando was also lead guitarist and pianist for Soraya on her final tour.Currently Fernando is the head of Forward Motion Records, the leader of Dreaming in Stereo, and guitarist for Chris Alvy Band. He produces many artists including Jorge Moreno, Alih Jey, and most of the artists on Forward Motion.
Forward Motion Records
One year ago, Perdomo started the label after his own band, Dreaming In Stereo, found itself at a crossroads. “Dreaming In Stereo was signed to a management contract with a manager named Bill Aucoin,” Perdomo recalls. “Bill passed away and we were the last act he signed. He discovered Kiss back in the ’70s, along with Billy Idol and Billy Squire. He had just gotten back into it and was also managing Nothing Rhymes With Orange. His death really affected me; I was so enamored with his generosity with working artists. I’ve always done tours and been a session musician, but I’ve always been so sad to see how bad musicians have it. So, I was like, you know what? I’m a musician, I think I know what needs to be done. Forward Motion is more than a label,” Perdomo says. “It’s a community of artists who work with each other, admire each other and are friends with each other. Unlike a lot of the labels that go wherever the money is, I feel like I’m going with what I love, which is singer/songwriter pop music. Song for song, I feel like our label has the strongest material. I like the kind of artist that can break their music down into just acoustic instrumentation and it sounds good. But we also have rock bands, jazz, some instrumental stuff.”
Although Forward Motions’ artists vary in where they’re at in their individual careers, Perdomo’s cautious selectivity ties them all together. “I get a lot of demos and I reject a lot of them because I’m not looking for what’s hip but what’s timeless. I don’t really deal with any indie-rock, Brooklyn-type stuff, but there’s other labels that can work with that,” Perdomo says. “The most important thing is how the song hits you and the impact the song has. I sometimes get demos where it’s very hip, dance music, but it’s not what I really like. I’d prefer just an acoustic guitar and a vocal or a piano and a vocal. At the same time, I also don’t necessarily like lo-fi. At Forward Motion, everything sounds radio-ready. The quality control is way up there, and that perfectionism has actually led to some problems. Like, we have trouble getting grants because people think we’ve got our shit together too much.”
We have a different set of goals than most labels,” he adds. “We’re not focused on being a moneymaking enterprise. It’s all about exposure for this scene and a label that’s mostly dealing with artists from South Florida.”
Forward Motion’s rate of production has been extremely intense, releasing 30 full-length albums, EPs, and singles by local and national acts including Alih Jey, Andy Pratt, Arboles Libres, Jim Camacho, Dreaming in Stereo, and Vic Kingsley. “So far it’s been a really great year, from having multiple artists at South by Southwest to having Jorge Moreno win the International Songwriting Competition,” the label boss enthuses. “Things are looking good, man.” His focus at the moment is releasing “Forward Motion Records Live”. This is a live album of his label’s one year anniversary concert that features 14 of their artists captured by Zach Ziskin at Revolution Live in Ft Lauderdale.
Still, after all of those freshman successes, Perdomo isn’t even thinking about taking a break. Forward Motion is set to full speed ahead. And the CEO is looking toward 2012 with all kinds of ambition. “Our goal is to take everything we did in the first year and multiply that by ten for the second year,” he insists. “And the most important thing we can do is set the bar really high.”
Dreaming In Stereo
In addition to his also putting the finishing touches on the album “Art Noise” by Chris Alvy Band, he is quite busy working on new material for his own band, Dreaming in Stereo which will always be his baby and main songwriting outlet. “Dreaming in Stereo has been amazing because I never thought it would be so accepted by fans and the press.”
Fernando explains “I recently found a notebook of songs I wrote back in 1998-99 that i feel are strong enough for a solo album.. I was a Virgin back then and I feel like I wrote some of my best songs about Love before I even had my first girlfriend!!! . I love the freedom of recording and I have done it all.. I may even get produced soon .. I usually produce everything I do .. but I have my eyes on someone and it may be amazing.. ” A big supporter of all South Florida music , Fernando believes you no longer need major labels to sell your music. However he also goes on to say, “.You still need major label bucks to make it successful. ( and now no one is buying music.. so you need investors.. or a rich dad.”
IFernando admits he has been lucky. Here is what he reflects back on are just some of the highlights not wanting to leave anyone out. Producing two Andy Pratt records comes to mind. Having been a fan forever he finds himself in good company. Pratt’s previous producers include Arif Martin, Eddie Offord, Ron St. Germain, and Stephen Hague of the Pet Shop Boys. His career progression has been just great… from being a sideman of Jorge Moreno and Alih Jey to producing their albums. There is a lot of amazing music and new projects ahead and Fernando is always on the lookout for new people to produce!