Q&A with Austin Storyteller Ricky Mendoza about his new album “The New Hurt”

1. Tell us about your new album , “The New Hurt”. What is it about and what inspired you to create it? Also, what does “The New Hurt” refer to?

First off, thank you so much for taking the time and this space to chat about my music. I really, really appreciate it.

I’m excited for the release of my third album called “The New Hurt”. It’s inspired by an incredible woman I met and fell in love with, and whenever there’s a new love in your life, it hurts like hell when something happens to that person. That person becomes a new source for extreme pain. Love is incredibly painful, yet it is the most beautiful thing that exists.

2. Your single, “I Just Died,” is a nostalgic tale that explores the concept of death from the unique perspective of a soul that has recently left its earthly body. What inspired you to create this song. Was is it based on any personal experiences? If so, would you share?

I remember just reading the phrase “I just died…” somewhere and it sparked a forest fire of thoughts.

What would it be like to actually die right now? What would I see? What would I feel?

I did have surgery to get a hernia removed, nothing major at all, but they sedated me and cut me up and it felt other-worldly. My life was put on pause so I could be fixed internally and that experience may have inspired the lyrics as well. It wasn’t a pleasant experience but it helped me appreciate every day a lot more.

3. What are your beliefs about what happens to a person’s soul after it leaves the earthly body? What helped you form those beliefs?

My belief is that after we die and the time before we are born there is a big nothing. Just nothing. I want to think that the soul does exist, because it’s such a beautiful concept. But I simply don’t know. What I do know is that when in life, we are full of energy, and this energy that we have is swayed by our emotions and our attitude and we can spread our energy around and that’s what is so damn fascinating about music. It allows a human that wrote a piece 500 years ago to travel through time and still affect us in a powerful way here in the present. It is truly mind-blowing and beautiful.

4. What advice would you give for people who have a fear of their own death or fear of a family member’s death?

Death is such a personal thing and the only advice I can share is what I tell myself. Death is the constant reminder to not take anything for granted. I try to really cherish in the moment and experience the beauty of life and to try and be as present as I can. I don’t know what happens after we die, but right now I choose to take in the beautiful views, the nature, the food and especially the energy of people. When friends or family members pass, I am honored that I was a part of their journey and I absorbed their energy, their joy, their sorrow, their quirks, their jokes—everything that they were is inside of me now and it makes me feel like they never left.

5. What helps you gain inspiration for creating music when you are NOT feeling creative?

When the moment arrives that I’m not “feeling it”, not feeling the “flow” or “inspired”, I take a deep breath and let me body relax. Take some rest, sleep or do something that doesn’t require creativity. It takes a lot of energy to be creative and to be problem-solving, so I rest as much as I can.

For inspiration to flow like a raging river, I keep my environment FULL of things that can spark my imagination in order to create music or lyrics. I keep all of my instruments at hand, poetry books, posters, art on my walls, inspiring people…almost everything that surrounds me can spark an interesting thought that can unravel into amazing lyrics. But all this happens because I have a system for writing lyrics, another system for recording music and another for performing.

All of my systems consist of 3 elements:

– Showing up to work (great things happen by simply showing up)

– Doing the work (without judging if it sucks or if its great – just shut off your judgements and write)

– Let the work sit at least for one night and look at it with fresh eyes and judge your work. Some will be good and the majority will be bad, but that’s okay. As long as you keep a constant flow of work, you’ll have a constant flow of inspiration.

Once you start and constantly do something (like writing), it will always be on your mind and new ideas will be constantly flowing, all because you are constantly doing it. It’s funny how the mind works. I try to jiu jitsu my brain to work for me and not against me.

Also, if I want to tackle a HUGE project, like an album or a film, I use what I call the SCELTHR method (which means: Small Constant Efforts Lead to Huge Results).

Even if it’s for 15 minutes a day, I try to chip away at the project slowly but surely and when the goals get closer and closer, my excitement and inspiration grow like a wildfire and suddenly my project is moving by momentum because of all the small efforts. It’s impossible to sprint up a mountain. I’d rather give small solid steps that build up.

6. Where can we get your album and more information about you?

I’m always up for meeting new like-minded peeps on socials and you can usually find me by typing @rickymendozaorg wherever you may hang out on the internet.

And all of the music is available on all the streaming sites or can also be downloaded for free at rickymendoza.org.

Come hang and send me a DM, I’d love to meet you.

7. Anything else?

To the readers: Thank you so much for taking the time to read and for listening to the songs. I deeply appreciate it. Big hugs and healing energy to anyone that needs it.

Your friend, Ricky Mendoza.