A GoPride Interview

Eric Himan

Supposed Unknown: Gay singer-songwriter Eric Himan on being an independent musician

Fri. August 10, 2012  by Michael J. Roberts

I am proud of my independence in music but for independent musicians on my level, it is hard to get the public notoriety...
Eric Himan
Eric Himan, a nationally touring soulful/folk/rock artist based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, has recently been featured on Sirius/XM's Coffeehouse radio station with his song, "Save The Afternoon" and a version of the Simply Red classic, "Holding Back the Years".

With his signature gift for pop melodies in "Lonely No More" to the social commentary in "You First," Eric delivers what only a veteran of the indie music scene can provide - a woven tapestry of genres which flow seamlessly together providing the listener with as diverse experience.

Eric Hinman and his band will be performing at the Northalsted Market Days, Saturday, August 11. Before flying to Chicago, Hinman took a moment to speak to ChicagoPride.com's Michael J. Roberts.

MJR: (Michael J. Roberts) Hi Eric, thank you for doing this interview. We here at ChicagoPride.com are all huge fans of yours and your music. What can the Market Days crowd expect you hear at your performance.

EH: (Eric Himan) Thanks Michael! They can expect to hear myself, but really more of my band. They are such a talented bunch of musicians. The four of us will be providing very upbeat rock music with some my original material interwoven with covers from Amy Winehouse to Queen. I am truly blessed to have these great musicians in my band.

MJR: Since you are traveling so often and touring, does being away from home influence the songs you write?

EH: Absolutely. My accomplishments and sense of self, influence my songs as well as any of my hardships. I feel l write most when I'm lonely or feeling adversity. I have had a lot of adversity so I try to project that in my music.

MJR: Your last album "Supposed Unknown" is fantastic. How did you come up with that title?

EH: I feel like you are constantly being stumbled upon in music. I have been doing this for 10 years, being and independent musician. It is strange how you can be constantly touring, putting out c.d.'s every year and you are still meet with people who have no idea who you are or what you have done. People ask me if this is my first c.d. and have to tell them ‘no, it is my ninth,' or ‘do you live around here' and I tell them ‘no, I live 1500 miles away from here.' I am proud of my independence in music but for independent musicians on my level, it is hard to get the public notoriety that someone like Ozzy Ozbourne would have. You are constantly new.

MJR: How hard is it for an independent artist to get radio play?

EH: It has not been easy. Radio and radio time is mostly commercial now and very conglomerate with organizations like Clear Channel. In a world when record companies are so tied in to these organizations and are owned by the same people, for someone like me to push through radio like someone like Adelle is next to impossible. In terms of mainstream radio is like David and Goliath.

MJR: Do you think being an independent producer gives you more freedom with your material?

EH: Oh, definitely. I have been accused of being a little too controlling over my work. I have been asked to do things for movie and t.v. but I still want to have control over the final product.

MJR: Who are some of your biggest influences musically?

EH: People with big and unique voices. Anyone from Janis Joplin and Aretha Franklin to Ozzy Ozbourne. Someone who has raw emotion and is not cheesy. That is why is never went the musical theater route. They all have great voices but I am more into the Woodstock rawness. The have such natural talent.

MJR: You recently collaborated with Noah Spiegel from the Tulsa Opera on your Queen show.

How did that collaboration come about?

EH: Queen is very operatic and theatrical to begin with, so I thought it would be really fun. I did get a lot of kick-back from my friends who told me I should stick to my original music. I had some big-wig tell me not to do it. But for me I have spent so much of my time pushing my own material that I thought it would be fun doing something completely opposite, and not be defined by it, but just something different for me.

MJR: With all your traveling, do have anytime for a personal life?

EH: I'm going to have to now because this past Saturday I ended up getting married. Now I can breathe a bit before I come to see you in Chicago. After that I am going to go on my honeymoon. It is the first time in a long time that I haven't made long term plans beyond a certain point. There is a little bit of panic with not planning a lot of projects at once, but I will get used to it.

MJR: Now you plan to settle down, build a big house and get a couple dogs and live happily every after.

EH: No need to plan that Michael. We are both overachievers and already got the two dogs and a house. Hmmm, I guess I still like to plan ahead.

Eric Himan will be performing at Northalsted Market Days on Saturday, August 11 at 7:40 p.m. at the Roscoe Entertainment Stage. Market Days spans six city blocks and features three music stages with more than 40 musical acts performing, including Olivia Newton-John, The Pointer Sisters, Sheena Easton, Adam Barta and Matt Zarley.

Interviews: Olivia Newton-John | Sheena Easton | Adam Barta

Market Days Entertainment Schedule: Sat., Aug. 11 | Sun., Aug. 12

Related: Navigate Market Days with 'Out & About' mobile apps

Interviewed by Michael J. Roberts. Michael J. Roberts is theatre editor for the ChicagoPride.com covering Chicago's diverse arts and entertainment scene.


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