Fernando Perdomo says he’s “really passionate about South Florida music,” and I suppose there’s no better evidence of that than the fact that he made time to talk to me about South Florida music on Sunday, the same day that he buried his mother.
A long-time EL Nuevo Herald editor, Araceli Perdomo died last week after a five-year battle with ovarian cancer. Her son, who was by her side throughout, says her funeral drew members of her three families, “her blood family, musicians, and her Miami Herald family.”
“It’s funny,” he says. “[Former Herald publisher] David Lawrence in the same room as [local experimental musician] Rat Bastard.”
That is funny, but, naturally, Perdomo wasn’t feeling jocular. Still, he made a point to get on the phone with me because he wanted to talk about his Miami Beach-based record label, Forward Motion Records, which will celebrate its one year anniversary on Thursday with a 16-artist showcase at Revolution Live in Ft. Lauderdale.
“It’s been one hell of a year,” says Perdomo, referring both to the loss of his mother and to the impressive successes of his record label. Since its launch last summer, Forward Motion has released more than 30 records, had two artists (Dreaming In Stereo, Perdomo’s band, and singer-songwriter Andy Pratt) play at SXSW, and one artist, singer Jorge Moreno, win a prize in the International Songwriting Competition for his low-budget video, “Thank You”.
The 31-year-old label boss isn’t satisfied.
“I’ll never be satisfied,” Perdomo says. “You know what, I’ll be satisfied, but I’ll never be done. My biggest goal is for a success story to come out of South Florida in the genre that is [Forward Motion’s] specialty, which is English-language singer-songwriter music … the most-timeless genre.”
Perdomo says he wants to “bring back the hometown hero,” someone who puts Miami on the map for old-fashioned songwriting.
“Miami really needs one,” Perdomo says. “You know, Rachel Goodrich is really close. I really hope that works out. Jacuzzi Boys are really close. Of course, these are not my artists, but all we need is one artist to break it big in a style that isn’t Latin or electronica or hip hop to really break things open for South Florida.”
Forward Motion represents 18 different acts, and, as label chief, Perdomo says one of his biggest challenges is “getting people fired up because there’s not a lot you can do in this town.”
“Not a lot of places to play, not a lot of momentum, not a lot of places where I can set up meetings,” he says. “But what I really have been trying to instill is small victories. That’s really what we’re made out of. Not necessarily trying to sell thousands and thousands records, but every single new fan, every single piece of press, every single cool gig, every single kudo will be the thing that builds everyone’s careers.
“I hate the fact that [Miami is] pigeonholed,” Perdomo says later in our conversation. “Every town has its exports, you know, Pittsburg steel, Washington apples, and Florida oranges. I feel like we can be the next Nashville. It’s an untapped resource. I’m yelling, ‘Hey, there’s gold up in these hills. Why don’t you come check out these artists.’”
But waiting around for record companies to “discover” Miami is not an option: As the name of his record label implies, Perdomo is all about self-propulsion.
In line with that m.o., he is hosting the Forward Motion Records First Anniversary Concert on Thursday night. There will be a $10 suggested donation at the door, with proceeds going to the Kristi House, a local charity for victims of sexual child abuse. The concert will also help bring awareness to Musicians On Call, a non-profit that organizes bedside concerts for hospital patients all over South Florida.
Besides raising money for worthy causes, Perdomo says the show, hosted at a Live Nation venue, will do his artists “justice” by putting them on a “world-class stage.” The lineup will include Moreno, Dreaming In Stereo, Vic Kingsley, and long-time staples of the South Florida music scene Jim Camacho and Omine Eager.
“I want to prove that these artists are diamonds in the rough,” Perdomo says.
The show will cap off a year of heavy loss and many small victories, but Perdomo seems as if he has his eye on the future.
“I’m trying to prove that this town is a lot more diverse than it even seems, that this microscene exists, it’s powerful, and it deserves as much attention as [other local music] scenes,” Perdomo says. “I really want to build some careers and some household names.”
Here are the show details. To see more Miami music listings, check out our Miami Music Guide.
Headline: Forward Motion Records First Anniversary Charity Concert
Where: Revolution Live
Cost: $10 suggested donation
Event Page: HERE