Friday, September 05, 2008

Eric Himan’s Battle Cry

I'm a huge fan of singer-songwriter, Eric Himan. The Advocate's James Hillis has a new interview with the talented musician, read the excerpt below. Also, you can visit Eric's official site here.

James Hillis writes:
Striking, gay, tattooed pop-rocker Eric Himan has amassed a loyal following at his club dates across the country. But it’s his activist lyrics and take no prisoners attitude that has gay service men, the trans community and practically everyone who ever longed for a musician to empathize with their feelings that has fans lining up around the block.  
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 On stage, the 29-year-old sports an impressive build, one which he has no qualms about working. He wears a form fitting t-shirt and jeans that could have been bought from the nearest Goodwill bin. Meeting him up close though, he’s surprisingly small. But with his heavy ink and full features, he is still arresting. “I write songs about my feelings, my opinions -- things that have happened in my life,” says Himan. “Sometimes, I just want to know that somebody else feels the same way. And sometimes that’s the greatest thing in the world. To make that connection.”  
Himan’s ability “to make that connection” in such an authentic, person-to-person way is what makes him special. Drew Waller—a gay Borders Books executive responsible for a major deal Himan has with the chain to carry his new CD and sponsor in-store concerts—says part of the reason such an under the radar artist got the gig was his ability to create the kind of “interactive” atmosphere Borders was looking for. “He would draw new people in,” says Waller, and whether it was an audience of 10 or 100 “everyone had a great time, I think that that was really his one jewel.  
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Himan’s last single “Little Boy Blue”, tells the story of a transgender boy Himan met at one of the many LGBT youth centers he visits while traveling the country. Himan says that after he put the song up on his myspace page one trans youth messaged him with the screen name littleboyblue telling Himan the song had saved his life. Another trans fan devoted an entire web page to the song and video.  
Himan’s own story was shaped by early tragedy. When he was four, he was the sole survivor in a car crash that killed his mother and a sister. His father, a military man, had to move Eric and a younger sister frequently and often at short notice. Living in Southern Florida in 1992 when Himan was 13, the family lost everything in Hurricane Andrew. Himan’s aunt wisely invested insurance money from his mother’s death so he could attend Penn State. Then, on the heels of his 2001 graduation, Himan hit the road as an indie artist. And that’s where he’s been ever since.  
Unlike most gay rock or pop acts, Himan has been out since his first, self-titled CD release in 2000 while he was still in college. He says he felt dissatisfied with the gay male role models that were out there. “How can I sit here and write songs about my life and omit one part of it that I have a connection with an entire community of people. That’s ridiculous.” Starting out, Himan played small, grimy bars and coffee houses where he might only get one or two people at a show. But within just a few years Himan was packing small but established rock clubs like Uncommon Ground and the Bitter End in New York.  
The last two years he’s been playing even bigger venues: World Café Live in Philadephia, and New York’s Zipper Theater—not to mention playing the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago where he performed for 80,000 screaming fans in Wrigley Field as the opening act to Cyndi Lauper.  continue reading