If Joey hasn't pinged your radar yet, it's time to recalibrate.
This 22-year-old is a multi-hyphenate, except along with model and singer, tax man is in the mix. Yes, he's studying tax law while pursuing the arts. It's debatable which is his backup plan.
Also of note, the artist is not only out, he came out at 14 to his 11 brothers and sisters back in San Antonio, Texas, the kind of story that wouldn't have been possible the year he was born, but that's become increasingly common—thankfully!
Keep reading for my Q&A with the young artist ...
Boy Culture: You're working in tax law, but also modeling and making music. What made you decide you could have it all, and didn't have to give up your creative pursuits while working a more traditional job?
Joey: Although my many positions within a tax firm have taught me so much about business and compliance, I feel what I've truly learned working full-time or multiple jobs was that it's always going to take something else to financially support multiple hobbies. Not because art doesn't make you a lot of money in the beginning, but because art doesn't require money to survive.
So why put the pressure of making money on the art?
Truth is, I don't believe I started creating real art until I took the stress of making money off my art and let it fall on my exterior jobs. That being said, how do you balance a full-time job and an around-the-clock need for art? Well, you earn it. Use that art to alleviate the stress of working and work your ass off to the point where they can't deny where your drive comes from. Eventually, the weights will balance themselves, and your life will go in the direction your heart was always headed.
I feel very blessed to have come this far in NYC and to have even found a job that not only cares about my health, but encourages my dreams and future no matter the reach. I truly have everyone at work to thank for allowing me these opportunities while giving me the chance to maintain a healthy financial lifestyle.
BC: When did you get into music? Do you write your own stuff?
J: I’ve been involved in music longer than anything else I can remember, starting with brother-sister dance classes with my mom. Being desperate to be heard amongst so many faces, I pursued singing. More so because every instrument had already been taken twice over, and let’s admit with that many kids it's competitive. I was taught from a young age by my mother and mentor, Mr. Simon, that great music comes from great collaboration. So although I take pride in writing, composing and singing, my own music I feel is never at its best until I am with someone else doing it.
BC: What would a Joey Suarez live performance be like—are you big on dancing and choreography and visuals?
J: I am guilty of loving house, trance, lots of bass and fog. I come from a strong dance background, as my mom and grandparents were international dancers from Argentina. With that said, I strongly emphasize, visuals, LEDs, props and especially dance. It’s not a performance unless you leave it all on the stage.
BC: The camera loves you—do you like posing?
J: Honestly it’s always different, and by that I mean no photographer shoots pictures the same. Some shoot rapidly as you move fluidly, while others choose a concept or a pose for you to replicate to the next level. For me, I like both.
BC: What's a misconception people have about male models/about modeling?
J: I believe the most common misconception people have about male modeling is the lack of clothes. Yes, a shirtless guy sells pants, but a shirtless guy sells shirts, too. Sadly, for men, we don’t have as much of a year-round men’s fashion world to compete in, and as a result find ourselves with less fashion-forward clothes and more skin from our swimwear.
BC: You seem totally unselfconscious in front of the camera—how did you get so comfortable with your body?
J: Well, it started with my very first photo shoot. I had never really taken a picture past a headshot until I was 18 years old, so when I modeled for the first time in college, I was eager to see the results. My reaction wasn’t how I expected, which, on top of a little bit of shock was a huge side of not recognizing myself. I guess it was surreal to take myself in entirely for the first time, and the result was to see who this person was. Almost like rediscovering who you are and who you could be. Not because I thought I looked good, but because it was the first time I felt liberated from my body's past experiences.
BC: You're big on social media—is that something you work at constantly?
J: I am always sharing the love.
BC: What's the secret to having a rabid following on Instagram?
J: I call it sharing the LOVE, or should I say likes? I spend a lot of time liking back all my followers or commenting on their own social media. Turns out if you share some love, you get a little back, too, so that’s what I keep on doing.
BC: How do you choose which songs to cover?
J: I honestly don’t; I only take requests and/or write my own.
BC: Were you surprised by the reaction to your Bruno Mars cover? How would you react if he responded to it?
J: I was very surprised, but proud to be a part of something that speaks to something as strong as domestic violence without having to be violent. I would insist that he and I put together his OFFICIAL video by 2017!
BC: What can you tell me about your single coming in April?
J: Well I can mention my co-star The Official Highstrung, who co-wrote on this piece meant for strong men and woman who know what it’s like to be taught not to love ourselves by society. This song is for those who are willing to break the silence and love what god made them. We all have demon’s in our past, and I hope this song chase’s them away.
It’s hip-hop, R&B song, think late '90s early 2000s with a bit of myself thrown in there. I’ll be having a live debut performance here in NYC on the April 23, 2016 with my co-star The Official Highstrung, who’ll be in town for his Successful Failure Tour featuring his upcoming EP.
BC: Have you shot a music video/what are some preliminary ideas?
J: We are currently in pre-production of our music video as a majority of it will be filmed in NYC, but I can promise to be featuring some crazy effects, lights, dance and makeup all around NYC—my usual signature.
BC: Why is defeating sexual violence a special passion of yours?
J: Well, it’s a passion because it changed my life. I use the word passion because this experience inspired my music and made me who I am today. As a boy who survived six years of sexual violence at a young age, and even close encounters in my adult life, I know I am not alone in these struggles. I want my story (through music) to break the silence of abuse and echo in the hearts of those who need it because it’s not the abuse that hurts children, it’s their silence. I hope to remind them they were never alone, and that this will get better if you express yourself, find your art. Or, like you said, your passion.