Tony Idigmusic Mena
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Tony Idigmusic Mena

Columbia, Missouri, United States | SELF

Columbia, Missouri, United States | SELF
Band Folk Acoustic

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Nov
10
Tony Idigmusic Mena @ House Concert

Columbia, Missouri, USA

Columbia, Missouri, USA

Sep
29
Tony Idigmusic Mena @ University of Missouri

Columbia, Missouri, USA

Columbia, Missouri, USA

Sep
11
Tony Idigmusic Mena @ Ashland City Park

Ashland, Missouri, USA

Ashland, Missouri, USA

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Music

Press


Junior’s Cave is so proud of this next interview with an American hero who pours his heart, soul, experiences, and sacrifices into his music. Meet Gerardo "Tony" Mena, a decorated Iraqi Freedom Veteran, who explores his experiences serving six years in the special operations community with the Reconnaissance Marines as a Special Amphibious Reconnaissance Corpsman (SARC) through his music. Want to learn more about this Singer/Songwriter? Read on…


Tony Mena
" During his tour in Iraq he was awarded a Navy Achievement Medal with a V for valor for multiple acts of heroism while under fire" - http://www.gerardomena.com/.

Isaac: It’s an amazing time to be a DIY artist/performer/band/musician. What do you enjoy the most about being an indie performer?

Tony: I enjoy the freedom of being an indie performer. I’m only as successful as the amount of work I put into it.

Isaac: If you had an opportunity to sign with a major label, would you sign now knowing you may have to give up some of what you have build up over the years about you in the process?

Tony: I would sign with a major because so much of my music deals with the theme of war and my experiences in Iraq and I want as many people as possible to know and remember my friends that didn’t make it back.

Isaac: I remembered Simon Cowell from American Idol talking about the “it” Factor that makes a musician/band stand out. What do you think is your “it” factor that makes you stand out from others in the music business?

Tony: My “it” factor is that I write my own songs so I convey genuine emotions when I sing/perform them.

Isaac: Why should music fans listen to your music? Describe what they are going to get when they listen to your music?

Tony: My fans are guaranteed a genuine emotion in a song. They are guaranteed to get the best of me every show. I always put 100% into every performance. I’m not saying I’m perfect and that I will hit every note as it was intended to be played, or that I don’t get sick, but I guarantee that no matter what, I will give 100% for the fans. You will never get a half-ass performance.

Isaac: Briefly describe your humble beginnings that led you to where you are at musically now.




Tony: Well, I completed my military enlistment and returned home and began playing a lot of songs on an acoustic guitar on my front porch. I met several cool dudes from playing outside and we began jamming a lot and formed a rock/funk band. I still have a lot of fun playing with them but recently I needed to branch off on this solo project so that I can explore deeper themes and meanings in my music and approach the lyrics in a more poetic style.

Isaac: You have some strong iconic influences. Of these influences, which artist/band do you relate to the most and why?

Tony: I feel I relate most with the band Manchester Orchestra and I was inspired by their front man, Andy Hull, when he branched off and did his own solo project, allowing him also to explore some more mature themes in his music.

Isaac: Do you feel that Indie music gets the respect it deserves? Why or why not?

Tony: I feel that Indie music is slowly climbing the ranks, or maybe mainstream music is slowly falling. More and more people are creating their own music, and because recording equipment is finally being produced and manufactured at an affordable cost, self-recording is easier than ever.

Isaac: If you could change one thing about the music business, what would it be and why?

Tony: I would promote more originality. Following an overdone formula for pop songs does not equal good music.

Isaac: What type of feedbacks have you been receiving about your music from fans and music critics?

Tony: I’ve received great feedback with a lot of warm comments. People appreciate my service in the military and my poetic songs. Positive feedback always motivates me to keep creating and writing.

Isaac: If you knew that you would never gain fame and fortune with what you are doing now, would you continue to make music? Explain.

Tony: I would continue to create. I have an inner desire to constantly write and grow in the skill of songwriting and poetry. I do not need fame or fortune to validate my music. All I need is a few people in the audience that are genuinely interested in listening and an acoustic guitar in my hands and my soul is happy. That’s also why I love house concerts so much. There is an intimacy there that you can’t get on a big stage.

Isaac: How do you handle negative feedback or negative energy about your music?

Tony: Well, I haven’t really received “negative” feedback yet, but I’ve had my share of rejections, just like any other artist. It takes a thick skin to keep putting yourself out there. It helps to meet regularly with other musicians or artists to keep each other motivated and keep honing the songwriting craft.

Isaac: What role do your family and friends play in the equation of your pursuant of a music career?

Tony: My friends and family play a huge role in my pursuit of a music career because they constantly encourage me to press forward. They believe in me and that’s all an artist really needs in my opinion.

Isaac: What is the best site/s that you can be found on the Internet?

Tony: My music can be found at www.facebook.com/tonyidigmusicmena and my poetry can be found at www.gerardomena.com.

Isaac: The floor is yours; final words…..

Tony: Well, I guess more than anything I’d like to impart these final words: believe in yourself. If you want something bad enough you need to make it happen. You are only limited to the amount of work you’re willing to put in. If you want to better yourself as a songwriter, take a poetry class, voice lessons, guitar lessons, and hit the open mics around town. Never stop setting goals for yourself. Join the Indie ranks and empower yourself, together we can take back the music industry and put the emphasis on well written original music, where it belongs. - Junior's Cave


Gerardo Mena of Columbia, Missouri is the winner of the ninth annual War Poetry Contest sponsored by Winning Writers. This contest seeks today's best poetry on the theme of war. Mr. Mena's poem "So I Was a Coffin" was judged the best of 656 entries from around the world. The winning entries are published at http://www.winningwriters.com/contests/war/2010/wa10_pastwinners.php - Winningwriters.com


Music Monday - Tony Mena, a Veterans' Day Special


Submitted by Aldon Hynes on Mon, 11/08/2010 - 12:01
I stare into the waves.
I ask them to calm down and behave.
Everything in life tastes sweeter,
when you slow it down.
I suspect many of my readers can relate to the opening verse of Tony Mena’s song, “I Felt the Earth Spin Today”, but when you learn a little bit more about Tony, these words have even greater meaning.
His bio reads:
Tony Mena began learning the piano at the age of 12 with encouragement from his parents. At the age of 14 he gave up the piano and focused on high school athletics.After 9/11 he joined the military and entered the Special Operations community with the Reconnaissance Marines. At the age of 24 he was stationed in Okinawa, Japan and began re-learning to play the piano after buying a small keyboard.
During his tour in Iraq, his musical skills were needed by his Battalion and he played the piano for four separate funeral services. During the downtime between missions in Iraq, he began learning how to play the acoustic guitar with the help and instruction of several members of his platoon.
Tony Mena received a Navy Achievement Medal with a V for Valor for multiple acts of bravery while under fire in Iraq. Upon completion of his military service, he attended the University of Missouri where he surrounded himself with music and poetry as a means of dealing with many of the events he experienced in war.
When I first saw Tony’s submission on Sonicbids I wanted to put up a review right away. Then I thought about holding it off until this week. Thursday is Veteran’s Day and if you want to thank a vet, a good way to start is by going out, seriously listening to some of Tony’s music and sharing it with friends. It is that good. It is that powerful.
“I Felt the Earth Spin Today” continues with
I felt the earth spin today
and it was beautiful.
See the world,
through my bright eyes.
Not only are the lyrics beautiful, but the guitar playing is solid, the melodies haunting and tied together with great singing.
As a final tribute, please watch and listen to this Youtube video:

If you check out the notes below, you will find that Saturday was the fourth anniversary of the death of Kyle Powell and Jose Galvan who were Killed In Action in Iraq.
Please, remember Kyle and Jose this Veteran’s Day. Please think about Tony who has taken his experiences to create beautiful music and poetry, and please think about all the veterans that are back in the States today living with injuries visible, and invisible. - Orient Lodge Review


How did you get started with all this?
I got started with my solo acoustic project this past year because I had been singing with a full rock band for a while but I started writing some very intimate and personal songs and taking a more poetic and emotional approach to my music, but it was not very well received by the band. I began to feel that starting a new project that gave me the artistic freedom I needed was necessary.

What's the message to transmit with your music?
The message I'm trying to transmit through my music is that it's okay to write poetic and unconventional songs and explore some new themes that break out of the mold of the popular radio format. I believe that every artist should be allowed to create his or her own vision, but it's an artist's responsibility to experiment and search for new ways of expressing that vision, because in my opinion a copy of a copy of a copy of a song, does not make it "new" or "original". If my music never makes it on to mainstream radio, I can live with that. At least that way every person that has come to, or will come to a show, will receive an intimate and unforgettable performance that can't be manufactured or transferred through controlled airwaves.

What's your method at time of writing a song?
Most times when I'm writing a song, a lyric will come to me randomly while I'm doing some mundane activity at work, or climbing a flight of stairs, and I'll have to stop what I'm doing (including telling my boss to wait a sec, fortunately he's very understanding of the creative process) and get out my phone and text myself the lyric or song idea.


Who are your music influences?
My musical influences are the band Brand New, the band Manchester Orchestra, the side project of Andy Hull (Manchester Orchestra’s founder and singer) called Right Away, Great Captain!, and there is a hint of Ingrid Michaelson in some of my songwriting in that she isn’t afraid to be herself and use some interesting riffs and melodies.

What plans do you have for the future?
My plan for the future is to send out my demo very soon to a few record labels in hopes of a bite. If my 1 in a million chance doesn’t happen for me right away, I won’t be too upset because I’ll keep creating music that I enjoy and through hard work I’ll make my own luck (much like this “lucky” interview, thanks again Raf).

What has been the greatest day in your music career?
My greatest day as a musician was the first day that I knew that I could pull this “solo” thing off. The incredibly talented folk musician, John Craigie, out of California, was touring through my town and was playing at a venue nearby. I needed a place to showcase some local poetry so I called up another buddy that was organizing this show and he let me and some talented friends open with some poetry. Then, they needed some more time filled at the last second, so I went on and played some of my acoustic stuff I had been working on. It was a very “out of my comfort zone” experience and I felt very naked playing my songs by myself, but it was very warmly received by the people there, and John Craigie himself. I actually get to open for him again in November which I’m very excited for.

What has been the funniest prank you have been or took part while a show or tour?
As far as pranks go, I’m afraid that I don’t really feel that I’m at the point in my career where I feel comfortable pranking other musicians. I’m still trying to earn respect and be known as the professional and “on time” guy.

If you were stranded in the middle of nowhere after a show or while on tour, and the help is 65 miles away from where you are, who would you send to look for help? And if while the rest wait, there's no food and the only way to feed yourself is by eating each other, who would you eat first?
I could probably make the 65 mile trek for help in a few days, but as for eating myself, since I am a solo project, I would definitely start with some unimportant and non-weight bearing toes, since I would like to keep all my fingers to continue playing guitar and piano. And with the right shoes, no one will ever have to know that I ate myself.

What are your hobbies?
My hobbies are writing music and poetry. I got into poetry in order to write better lyrics, but I stumbled upon the fact that I’m actually pretty good at it. I’m in the finishing stages of writing and compiling my first full length book of poems about the Iraq war (I’m a decorated Iraqi Freedom Veteran and was awarded a Navy Achievement Medal with a V for Valor for multiple acts of bravery while under enemy fire). One of my poems is currently a finalist for Best War Poem of 2010 by Winningwriters.com.

What country would you love to play?
The country I would love to play in most is Ireland. I have been all over the world because of my military service, but never Europe and in my mind, Ireland has this unique mysteriousness about it and a very rich history that I would love to explore. Plus, playing in an Irish pub should be every small-time musician’s dream.

With what band would you love to share stage with?
It is my dream to someday share the stage with Manchester Orchestra. Everything they have achieved has been through the Do It Yourself process and all without heavy radio play. I’ve been to two of their live shows in the past year, and they play with such emotion that it changes the way you play and write music.

Are you Ok with the direction you are moving so far?
I’m very happy with the direction this solo project is going. I’ve had a lot of good feedback and response, more than I already thought I would have at this point. It was just a few months ago that I would wait for the wife and son to go to bed so I could stay up late and self-record my demo, and now I’m doing a cool interview for Vents Magazine.

Check out more: http://www.myspace.com/tonyidigmusicmena - Vents Magazine


More than a third of veterans returning from Iraq have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, an anxiety disorder resulting from exposure to traumatic experiences such as war. MU student and Iraq combat veteran Tony Mena has used poetry to express himself and heal some of the psychological wounds of war.

Iraq veteran and MU student Tony Mena performs and adds commentary to “So I Was a Coffin,” one of his poems about his experiences in Iraq, on May 21, 2010. The poem was inspired by the death of Corporal Kyle Powell, who served alongside Mena. “So I Was a Coffin,” was a turning point in the development of Mena’s poetic style and is a favorite of friends and audiences.
- KBIA Radio


Discography

We Were Beautiful Then (Demo) - August, 2010

Photos

Bio

Tony Mena began learning the piano at the age of 12 with encouragement from his parents. At the age of 14 he gave up the piano and focused on high school athletics.After 9/11 he joined the military and entered the Special Operations community with the Reconnaissance Marines. At the age of 24 he was stationed in Okinawa, Japan and began re-learning to play the piano after buying a small keyboard.

During his tour in Iraq, his musical skills were needed by his Battalion and he played the piano for four separate funeral services. During the downtime between missions in Iraq, he began learning how to play the acoustic guitar with the help and instruction of several members of his platoon.

Tony Mena received a Navy Achievement Medal with a V for Valor for multiple acts of bravery while under fire in Iraq. Upon completion of his military service, he attended the University of Missouri where he surrounded himself with music and poetry as a means of dealing with many of the events he experienced in war.
He was featured in a KBIA radio interview for his war poetry in June of 2010. He has been the lead singer and songwriter of the funk/rock band Fourth and Conley out of Columbia, MO since 2008, but found time to write and record his demo “We Were Beautiful Then” in 2010 for his solo project, Tony Idigmusic Mena.

Tony Mena has opened for the celebrated folk musician, John Craigie.

Tony Mena has won the "2010 War Poetry" contest sponsored by Winningwriters.com: http://www.winningwriters.com/contests/war/2010/wa10_mena.php