We had the good fortune of connecting with Andrew Esquer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Andrew, why did you pursue a creative career?
I guess the short answer is that I couldn’t see myself feeling fulfilled for the rest of my life while doing anything else! The longer answer is a little harder to pin down. My stated field is music, but over the years I’ve been an educator, a music director, a videographer, and a playwright, in addition to being a composer. At some point, a light bulb went off for me and I realized that what I really loved about all these diverse fields was a through line of storytelling. We all love a good story, but I love finding stories, telling stories, conceiving stories. Without leaning too much into those kinds of existential or nihilist thoughts I think a lot of us feel from time to time (and some more than others), I think a lot of the way I perceive and understand the world is through stories, and I think we all learn from and about each other through stories. They allow us to connect and find meaning and shared value and to view the world through all new lenses, and to me, that’s a meaningful and vital component of existence.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
You know, getting just to this point has not been the easiest path for me. Originally, I thought I was going to be a music teacher. The extent of that thought process was just, ‘this is something I could see myself doing’ and ‘this is all I think I’d really be good at’. While I’m passionate about education in general (and about my experience as an educator) now, at the time I was sorely lacking in that sense of direction. When I realized that wasn’t the right path for me… it took some time before I realized I wanted to be a composer-slash-storyteller through music, and a little longer to feel ready to start moving in that direction.
What I’ve gotten from that whole journey is that it’s important to be true to oneself in everything a person does. Even the years of youth theatre I taught, or the day jobs I’ve had, have informed my perspective and output as a creative, and I’ve learned to pride myself on that perspective and trust that if someone is giving me a seat at the table, I’ve got a good reason to be there and valuable input to contribute.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I found some places that I really took a liking to around campus whenever I had the time and was in the area. Half Pint, The Malt House, Mermaid Oyster Bar, some crêperie that I sadly forget the name of at the moment… Closer to my place, I often wind up at places like Hold Fast, Dead Poet, Jin Ramen or E.A.K. Ramen, The Smith, and I can’t forget Empanada Mama. Aside from the fantastic restaurants and bars I’ve come to love though, I’d love to just host at my apartment. I think it’s a great place with some character, and the rooftop view is hard to beat.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My story wouldn’t be what it is without the love and support of my family—my parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins (I have a lot of supportive family!)—and my partner, Erika R. Gamez, who moved with me across the country to try to launch our careers in New York in the height of the pandemic. Their belief in me has been an immense comfort, both while earning my master’s and taking the first steps on my career path. I’d also like to recognize a slew of professors over the years and my cohort of fellow students at NYU specifically, all of whom I’ve learned a ton from, been inspired by, and am now happy to call colleagues (and vice versa). They’re a ton of talented artists and storytellers in their own rights, and I’m privileged to be in their company.