Beto Hale has learned to wear different hats. Born in Mexico City, but currently residing in Colorado, he’s a bilingual singer who composes in both English and Spanish. A onetime magazine editor (Musico Pro), he’s both an avid reviewer and an introspective songwriter. A onetime session musician, he’s a guitarist’s guitarist and a road-weathered drummer. Hale talks with Global Rhythm about how his duel identities add up to a single
For several years, you clocked in time as an editor at a music publication. How has your time in the magazine business influenced your current solo career?
I think I learned a lot about the industry. I was struggling to keep up with my practicing and my writing, which I never abandoned. But, strictly speaking, I think my biggest learning experience really came from an inside view of the industry—from instrument manufacturing to record labels to how a PR person works. So it really helped me on the business side a lot. Also, it was great to be able to interview people and learn that the people I admired for years and years are just normal people. For example, I interviewed Stewart Copeland—he’s just a regular guy who was lucky and worked really hard and made an impact. It gave me a great perspective on the human side of these people I used to look at as gods.
The songs on your new album, American Mythology, seemed to develop quite organically. Can you tell us about your writing process?
Actually, a lot of it was the lonely work of getting up in the morning and having a schedule where I’d say, “Okay, I’m going to write whatever comes out from eight in the morning to nine at night.” Then, I would just bang out ideas and I kinda compiled what I liked from that and then started compiling more formal demos. A few of the things I’ve definitely tried out, like at open mics and certain performances. I’d been working mostly as a side man the last few years, so I didn’t really get a chance to try out these tunes live. I did show them to people once I felt comfortable sharing them and I would get feedback.
It seems like your desk job helped give you a structural context for your writing.