Thai Hernandez: Drummer and Song-Writer of the Bent-Winged Snitches
Thai Hernandez was born in Austin, TX in 1986, the daughter a thoroughly Muggle music teacher and a highly spiritual but completely unmagical manicurist. The youngest of five children, Thai was the only one who developed a talent for magic. At the age of six, the young girl realized she could play each one of her father’s many instruments solely by thinking how each one should sound when played. It was a secret she shared with her astonished father, who contacted the family priest. The next morning, a figure all in black showed up on the front porch of the family’s small home, but it was not Father Santiago. Ms. Esmerelda Smoot of the Department of Secrecy and Obfuscation was the agent assigned to young Ms. Hernandez’s case, and she would be the family’s guide to the secret Wizarding world.
Thai attended La Academia Occidental (LAO) where she received advanced marks in Charms, Care of Magical Creatures, and Advanced Musical Theory. While attending LAO, she met and became close friends with Lorelei Peters, another Western Academy student who was just a few years ahead of her. The pair’s jam sessions became popular events at the school, and when they met Lashaunta Williams (Laveau Academy, Class of 2001) at an inter-school Quodpot competition (Gators v. Gryffons, 1999) and became fast friends. The trio met up regularly over breaks and summers to play music and talk politics. When Thai, the youngest, graduated LAO in 2003 (she was rated third in her class, much to the exasperation of Mother Superior Chongde Ho, who claims Ms. Hernandez could have been top of her class had she applied herself more to studying and less to her music) the trio started playing together more regularly, making something of a name for themselves in the underground circuit. They discovered Collette West (Blackgate, Class of 2000), the band werewolf and organist, at a show in Chicago in 2005.
When Thai was 25, the band was signed onto Orphean Records, one of the AWC’s premier magical recording companies. Their first album “Bludger” went platinum in 2011, and since then the band’s fame has only skyrocketed as they’ve acquired fans from San Francisco to Saint Petersburg. Since achieving super-stardom, the band, and Thai especially, have leveraged their influence towards a variety of causes, most notably Muggle and werewolf rights and the deconstruction of the Statute of Secrecy. As the primary song-writer for the band, Thai has been responsible for some of their most inflammatory lyrics and songs, including the recent hit, “Thunderbirds,” a scathing indictment of AWC policy that favored the protection of magical beasts over the Native Tribes. Another fan-favorite, “Daughters of the Moon” contains the famous line, “You fear my howls to moon and air, but when I scream you just don’t care.” The song has become a rallying cry to the Werewolf Right’s Movement.
Thai Hernandez lives more on the road than anywhere else these days, but she does keep a permanent home in Austin, TX, hidden in her old neighborhood. Unlike many magical artists, she donates large amounts of money to muggle causes, including causes promoting education and literacy amongst muggle children, and the ASPCA.
(Li Yuchun by Wing Shya for Vogue Italia January 2013)