We had the good fortune of connecting with Singer/Songwriter Kash Erickson also known as Don Ugly and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kash, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I’ve loved music since I was a child. My mother was a percussionist so she put me on all types of music growing up. She would tell me I used to hum the melody to “Aeroplane” by RHCP all the time before I could barely speak.
Growing up I was always an awkward and introverted child, but music was my muse. I would write my feelings of the day in a little journal and write down the name of a song I thought matched my mood. (This was way before Spotify playlists hahah)
My mother bought me my first guitar at the age of 7. A little electric squire fender with a small solid state amp, and it became my life.
As I got older and less introverted, I couldn’t think of anything else I wanted to do other than be a artist/musician. So I started changing these daily mood entry’s into poetry and lyrics. But it wouldn’t be until I turned 22 until I got the guts to present them to the world and my peers.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Ever since I made up my mind on giving myself fully to being a creative, I knew I wanted to go by a moniker of some sort. A lot of my influences go by monikers (Iggy Pop, Sting, Father John Misty) so I wanted to follow suit right out of the gate. I spent a lot of time trying to come up with a name, but it all felt too cliche or corny in my mind. So one day when I was reading through all of my lyrics and poetry I had written up to that point, I realized a lot of my songs are essentially about the ebb and flow of life. The ups and downs, the good, the bad, and the UGLY. Hahaha, then it hit me….”Don Ugly.” As soon as it entered my mind it never left, so I ran with it. But in all honesty, the name really doesn’t mean too much. At the end of the day, I wanted something that was so bizarre it would stick in peoples heads when they saw or heard it. And I feel “Don Ugly” does just that.
What makes me very proud about my music and where I am currently is that I am all DIY. I write, record, produce, mix and master all of my music. I promote, manage, and book my own gigs, I’ve even created the music video for my single “Hazy Eyes.” Granted I am not the only musician that does this these days, its still a very rewarding feeling to be able to do so. But I would also like to say that I do not want it to be like this forever. There will be a day where I have a full team to help me do things like I mentioned above and then some, so all I will have to do is focus on creating more music and being the musician/artist.
Nothing is easy about dedicating your life to being a creative. There is so many ups and downs mentally. So much uncertainty. You look and see all of your friends growing old, starting families, buying homes. Your family constantly asking you, “Did you make it yet?” It’s very easy to fall into a block of ambiguity, chasing an aspiration that has absolutely no certain route of accomplishment. But you have to take risks sometimes to really get what you want, or be who you really want to be. Ive learned to overcome these times of hardship by focusing always on what the big picture is for me, writing down what Im feeling at that moment so I can either write about it or laugh at it later. But I’m a huge believer in the law of attraction, so if you are determined and you truly believe in yourself and put in the work, there’s no way you won’t become successful at whatever it is you are trying to accomplish.There is nothing that I ever wanted to be other than a artist/musician, and id rather die trying than give up and get a regular career.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
There is so many things to do in Miami, thats hard to put all into writing, especially for a week long period. But I would definitely take them all around to try all the different types of cuisine Miami has to offer from all the different cultures that reside here. Take them to all the attraction areas like south beach, Lincoln ave, Wynwood. I would absolutely take them to my favorite venue Churchills to catch some local talent.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are a few people to mention here.
First off, my mother who has since passed 7 years ago. She was a musician and a kind hearted woman who taught me to follow my dreams and to not let anything or anyone tell me otherwise. She was my biggest supporter and influence, I wouldn’t be the musician I am without her.
Secondly, My past guitar mentor Larry Miller. To this day I am not a
Classically trained musician, I barely know music theory in all honesty. But Larry was my best friend at the time Dylan’s father who would let me and Dylan play with his instruments in his music room. He had everything from guitars to drums. Bass guitars, synth keyboards, he had everything. After a while of us doodling around, he decided to teach me and Dylan things like power chords, chord progressions, and many other things. We went on to form a band in 5th grade and we participated in our elementary talent show and won first place. Larry was the person who taught me musicianship and to help me explore and realize my aspirations of being a successful artist/musician.
Lastly, I would like to thank Artist/Author Ari Herstand. Although I do not know him personally. It wasn’t until I read his book “How to Make It in the New Music Buisness Second Edition” where I would get a realistic grasp as to what it takes and what needs to be done to become a sucsessful musician these days. Before reading this book, I was a musician in the abyss, writing and releasing songs, just throwing them out to the world hoping my talent would be enough. But that’s so far from the reality of today’s industry. After reading that book, the lights turned on and I can say I have a solid path to take to get to where I want to be. Thank you Ari, if you are reading this, much love brother, I hope to meet you one day and thank you personally.
Joe Wilson @ Tiny Hat Studios Mary Charlote Earp