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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Stellar Coffee Co. open mic night brews local talent

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Texas State exploratory freshman Zen Fernandez (left) performs at open mic night with sight reading assistance from his brother, Zain Fernandez, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022, at Stellar Coffee Co. 

By day, Stellar Coffee Co. is a study hotspot serving coffee, food and drinks. Thursday nights at the shop, however, call for a transformation of the cafe for weekly open mic nights, an event that has become an outlet for local creatives to express themselves to an audience.
Stellar has been a local favorite in downtown San Marcos and a hub for studying and relaxing since 2018. In 2020, Sean Ryan, a veteran of the San Marcos music scene, was hired as a private contractor to run, supply equipment and organize Open Mic Night.
Ryan’s initial idea, coming from a perspective of a seasoned gig musician, came from a sense of wanting to create a platform for young artists looking to open up a space.
“When I first started this open mic, we thought about, you know, maybe limiting it to certain types of acts, or maybe just have musicians and maybe just comics, and we said, ‘you know, maybe let’s leave it open to everyone and see what happens,'” Ryan said.
Ryan announces and introduces each act as well as supplies sound equipment and instruments for those who need them. The only thing participants need to bring is their talent, ideas and appreciation for other participants.
Ryan leaves things open to participants by letting them express themselves. He focuses on having an environment where there is no judgment, creating an audience dynamic that appreciates and respects every performer.
Those who have a hard time putting themselves out there can breathe easy knowing they do not have to impress an owner of a bar or venue just to perform a song or two. The signup process is as simple as writing their name, act and contact information on a clipboard.
“I just love when someone can really tap into the moment,” Ryan said. “Like every single act, I try to remember that and just look for something, you know, inspiring, and nine times out of 10 it happens. Every single act and like man, that was awesome. Like I try to find something good out of it, you know?”
Performance is a big aspect of the night that comes entirely from those who choose to perform instead of having an obligation to play or perform contractually.
Jack Perrin, a performer, frequents the open mic nights and has become a spectacle for those who attend. Performing his self-written piano ballads, he hooks the audience with his gripping vocal ability and moving instrument work.
Perrin, a musical theater alumnus and vocal coach for the Musical Theatre program, has been writing and releasing his music on streaming platforms since 2021. His writing is displayed under the stage name Jack Mogi to create an artistic guise under what he or others create and perform. Perrin paints a picture of experiences and stories through his music about life, whether they are true or surrealist.
“I’m a storyteller. I use my singing as a way to convey a story or tell a story or an emotion, right, particularly an emotion,” Perrin said. “I’m not looking to be just a great singer, which would be fun too, but my favorite thing to write about is just like, in general, someone’s story. [Open Mic Night] is a place to practice and a place to practice how to share and to share how to practice.”
Zen Fernandez, an exploratory freshman, has been a musician his entire life. Writing from his thoughts and experiences, Fernandez feels like the environment in San Marcos boosts his creativity and gives him an outlet to express that.
“I’m actually in a dorm hall with a ton of musicians and they always encouraged me to do the thing that I want to do, which is music,” Fernandez said. “And I don’t know, I guess being in a different space than like, at home with my parents actually helps a lot. Just feeling independent just inspires me a lot.”
Fernandez thrives in smaller, intimate environments, playing with friends and fellow musicians, but is not always used to how a bigger show might play out. With the availability and open opportunity Ryan and Stellar offer, he feels as if he benefits from it.
“I really enjoy Stellar Coffee because it shows the musicians and just everyone that does art here in San Marcos live, and I appreciate that a lot, and I’m glad that I’m part of that,” Fernandez said. “I definitely use it as a way to practice just performing in front of people. I’m not used to that as much so I’m kind of thankful for something like that to be here.”
Stellar’s Open Mic Night has increasingly become a bigger event each week, and the attention is deeply appreciated by Ryan, and the owner of Stellar, Hope Tate. Tate and Ryan work together to find time to host and promote the event. With Tate wanting to provide a platform for new artists to showcase their talents in a safe space, both Tate and Ryan are aiming and succeeding at making that vision a reality.
To keep up with Stellar Coffee Co.’s open mic nights and its other events, visit @stellarcoffeecotx on Instagram.

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