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7 Questions with Aaron LeRoy Myers
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7 Questions with Aaron LeRoy Myers
Name: Aaron LeRoy Myers
Current title: Minister of Music
Current organisation: Covenant Baptist UCC
Entertainer. Artist. Veteran. Entrepreneur. Believer. These are just a few of the titles claimed by DC-based jazz artist Aaron Myers, whose life story is anything but typical. Originally from Goodlow, Texas, Myers found his passion for performing at an early age while playing music in the church, eventually choosing the piano as his instrument of choice. His soulful baritone voice, second-to-none stage presence and captivating personality make him one of the most exciting up-and-coming acts in jazz!
As a young man, Aaron joined the United States Army where he served for 2 years before enrolling at Navarro College where he majored in business and theater. While at Navarro, Aaron ran for Mayor of Corsicana, the town where the school was located. Despite losing a closely contested election, Myers decided then and there that politics and advocacy would continue to play a major role in his life.
After college, Aaron packed up and headed out west to Los Angeles where he got his first taste of life as a professional entertainer. While in California, he was the featured talent at the Fashion TV's 10 year Anniversary Party, made his rounds as a studio musician and served as a Music Supervisor for the film “A Song and a Prayer.” Within ministry, he was the Assistant to the Youth Pastor at West Angeles Church of God in Christ while also serving as the musician for the Youth Department - never straying too far from his gospel roots. After a life-altering accident that almost claimed his right hand, Aaron decided he needed a change. So, he joined the Obama Campaign for Change in 2008 as a Field Organizer in the battleground states of Texas and Florida, finding his love for community organizing and engagement, and slowly working his way back into playing shape. After the campaign was over, he moved to Washington D.C. where fostered his gift for advocacy and began establishing himself as a musician-to-know in the vibrant jazz scene of Chocolate City.
Upon Aaron’s arrival in our Nation’s Capital, he immediately began activating spaces for live performances around the city, ultimately serving as Resident Artist at the Black Fox Lounge for 5 years while producing over 150 shows before becoming the current Resident Artist at the storied Mr. Henry's Restaurant in Capitol Hill. He remained committed to his role as an activist as well, becoming the National Director for the now defunct Global Family Program headed by the late Linda Grover, staying active with the DC Young Democrats and by forming the DC Jazz Lobby in 2016 which focuses on music and arts policy initiatives at the federal and local levels. Mr. Myers is a stout advocate for Mental Health and LGBTQI Rights. As part of his advocacy, he chairs the Board of Directors for the Capitol Hill Jazz Foundation as well as serves as Board Secretary of Crittenton Services of Greater Washington. He sits as a member of the board of directors for CTE Vision Foundation and Covenant Full Potential Development Center. During the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, he has led the DMV Music Stakeholders cohort as they share resources, offer relief, and advocate for community needs to help strengthen and preserve Washington’s music ecosystem.
Myers has been lucky enough to have had his share of performance, festival and hosting opportunities throughout his career as a musician. He’s played numerous events in his hometown of DC including the 50th Anniversary of the Peace Corps, the National Legal Aid & Defender Association 100th Anniversary, Rehearsing/Directing/Performing with the 100 Voice Choir at the World AIDS Conference, performing at the Library of Congress and having the pleasure of being a repeat featured artist for the DC Jazz Festival. In 2019, Myers was invited to participate in the Folk Alliance Festival in Montreal Canada, speaking on a panel that discussed the intersection of Arts & Activism, before embarking upon a 6-week, 24 show Jazz Revolution Tour that saw him playing in 20 different cities throughout Russia - a once-in-a-lifetime experience that reinforced his belief in his craft and his ability to make his dream come true.
His credits include 3 albums: "Leo Rising", "The Lion's Den" (both included on the Grammy Voting Ballot) and the holiday album "Snowing in Vegas." He is a voting member with the Recording Academy and also the host of "Jazz Stories" on WPFW 89.3FM.
You can listen to his music on Pandora, Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, Amazon, and other digital streaming services.
"It takes courage to begin, but the art is finishing."
1. What have you found most challenging as a church leader?
Finding the space and time for self reflection along with time to also be vulnerable and to be ministered to.
2. How did you become a church leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I have played in the church since I was 6, and became the MInister of Music at a church at the age of 13. Since then, I've worked yearly in this capacity at a church. I was licensed to minister at 19 and I have always tried to make myself available and flexible in helping any ministry I am associated with!
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I usually have a weekly planner, and Thursdays/Saturdays/Sundays are usually my heaviest workload days, with me trying to use Monday as a day to rest a bit.
4. What's one book apart from the Bible that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
"Think and Grow Rich" helped me with Organized Planning, and really accepting the sacrifice I must give in exchange to do most of my work in any field.
5. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
As we have navigated through COVID, I am less anxious or stressed when attendance rates are as high or when people do not get right back to me. This stress has collectively given us space to be more mindful of others.
6. How do you develop a healthy leadership pipeline in a church?
Communication, Communication, Communication. The Pastor must articulate his expectations, and the moment those expectations cannot be met by an individual...this must be communicated. We must remove "assuming" from ministry.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a church leader so far?
A dear colleague and friend of mine approached me after service one Sunday. She had worked in AV and we had worked a lot of funerals and seen a lot of trainwrecks occur during our years together. This particular Sunday, she requested a moment to speak with me, and then proceeded to inform me that her doctor had given her 6 months to live 3 months prior. She was okay emotionally and mentally with what was occurring and she wanted to work with me to ensure that her final service would be on point with no hiccups. After all of the unfortunate services we had experienced, she had no intention of the same outcome happening to her. Her wish was granted and I believe she would have been pleased and she was well honored.