Friday Q & A

Artist Serotonin Brings a Good Dose of Happiness to Houston

Through music, fashion, and more, the multidisciplinary artist just wants to “make the collective experience of life more bearable.”

By Geneva Diaz May 19, 2023

Image: Devin Finch

Born and raised in Houston’s Museum District, 24-year-old Cam’Ron Evans has grown into a multidisciplinary artist known as Serotonin, acclaimed for his heartfelt psychedelic music, handmade designs, magnetic personality, and vibrant aesthetic. Evans considers himself merely human, while Serotonin can be viewed as out of this world.

Serotonin founded clothing brand Univerdge in 2016, but has since found passion in another art form: making music. He’s been on three Texas tours in the last five years, performing alongside artists like Chris Travis, Slater, and Cowgirl Clue, making a name for himself in the underground music scene while continuing to create art for Univerdge and host pop-up art shows across the state. He also dabbles in point and shoot photography, filming with VHS, oil painting, clay animation, and more.

While home in Houston, you can catch him at venues like Warehouse Live, White Oak Music Hall, Trip Six HTX, House of J, Super Happy Fun Land, and XPace Houston. He’s also taken his show to New Orleans, and on June 9 will perform at Los Angeles’s Junior High LA, a venue for people of color, queer, and nonbinary individuals looking for a safe space and a great time. Serotonin hopes to create a bridge between like-minded scenes and people across the nation.

Who were you before you were Serotonin?

I was just a college kid, unsure if the traditional route to success was in my forecast. My grandparents were dedicated to me graduating [from] Texas Southern University, but I knew I had a higher calling. Labor and education is safe yet time-consuming, and I happen to be very impulsive and impatient. So I knew I had to put my destiny in my own hands if I wanted to reach fulfillment in my lifetime.

Who influenced you to become an artist?

I always happened to be very infatuated with artists who are obsessed with detail, colors, and authenticity. I was always the kid geeking over Basquiat biopics and documentaries, DJ Screw tapes, Def Poetry Jam episodes, Pharrell’s Billionaire Boys Club apparel, and anything I felt took careful execution and passion. When I discovered new things, I would study them to figure out how they were made. [That] evolved into a passion and eventually a pursuit of happiness, and art became the priority of my life. I decided to spend my time learning how to paint, make clothing, music, and films, as well as how to market them.

Where did the pseudonym Serotonin come from?

My mother, Samantha Hill, named me after her favorite Dipset [The Diplomats] rapper Cam’Ron. Ever since I can remember, when I introduce myself, people always ask, “Like the rapper?” It honestly feels like it manifested over time because I’d always respond yes, then I actually became one.

Since my mom named me after a rapper, I couldn't use my government name as my stage name, so I went by Rick Glaciers until 2020. When Possum Soup, the album, arrived in 2021 under Serotonin, I was now labeled and defined by something universal and simple. The intention was to represent happiness as well as create positive, timeless, and progressive work rather than negative, violent, and pointless material.

Tell us how Univerdge came to fruition.

Univerdge, meaning Merge with the Universe, is a lifestyle brand that repurposes garments and accessories using hand embroidery, screen printing, and tie-dye techniques. Our designs can bear retro futurism, psychedelia, or metaphysical references. We strive to balance high quality and low pricing so everyone can experience our cosmic creations. The intention is to repurpose and recycle material so we can assist in the reduction of pollution and the accumulation of waste.

What’s it like being an underground artist in Houston?

[It’s] interesting because there’s so much going on constantly, which enables there to be a lack of normality. Over time everything is accepted and that's awesome. Being a multidisciplinary artist, it becomes easy to be mentioned for only one skill or endeavor, so every now and then, you must remind people in the city what you are entirely here for. Luckily my fans haven been extremely supportive of the music and merchandise I’ve distributed. I think their support makes me look at them as my homies. I try to pay attention when they speak to me. I’m just trying to make the collective experience of life more bearable.

How did you build such a huge following so quickly?

I did a lot of giveaways on Twitter back in 2015 to 2017. People were finding out about my stuff through following other people, and I think the way I made the customers or fans feel important made other people want to catch that experience. I am extremely transparent to my community, and that granted me a lot of access to spaces and venues I didn’t know existed. Overall, giving my audience a glimpse of my process and allowing a peek into my influences allowed me to really harness and represent a part of Houston. I try to remind people that we are all human and capable of bringing our dreams to fruition.

Why do you think the underground punk and hip-hop scene was so accepting of your art and music?

Most people in the scene have a story to tell. From city kids taken to suburbia and escaping back to the city, to dealing with dysfunctional parents, finding art and psychedelics through parties and friends. The more my work had relevant experiences to specific neighborhoods and kept it totally honest, the better the response was. For example, I have a song called “Shadow Creek” about a neighborhood in Pearland and my frustrations living there. Many people would contact me like, “Yo, I live there too bro, I appreciate what you're saying.”

As for my latest work, Do It Yourself, the title alone captures the spirit of the punk [and] alternative scene here in Houston. The handmade cover art by my girlfriend, Johanna Ledestma, the screen-printed merchandise, and the cassette tapes for the album were all in reference to the things I admired about the punk scene. I was nervous selling the physical copies of my music for $25, but they sold out, and I think the dedication is what made the scene so receptive to it. They got to witness my whole album rollout happen from scratch. That is the transparency I try to display in all my projects.

How do you get noticed, but stay true to the underground scene?

Create something that no one else in your digital and physical algorithm is creating and I guarantee that you will stand out. In Houston, we all have access to the same materials and resources, it’s a matter of how you can manipulate them into something completely new and different. It’s important to remember that the underground scene is a space for development, comfort, and security. I think taking a risk to expand past your local underground scene takes faith and courage. My advice is to look within yourself and discover the dreams you have in mind, and look at your surroundings and ask yourself, Will these people, places, and things help me get there? If so, nurture your bond, and embrace your spaces; if not, take some trips and do extensive research on what it takes. Above all else, trust yourself.


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