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Evolution of Media Interview

Who The Hell Is Hyim


Interview By:
Candice Mays

Bay Area artist Hyim (pronounced: “high-eem”) is a critically acclaimed singer-songwriter, a producer, a poet, and a tireless campaigner for human rights. His album Hyim and the Fat Foakland Orchestra was given major kudos by writer Candice Mays (see reviews section). Recently, Hyim agreed to give provocative answers to Candice’s probing questions.

1. Hey Hyim, it’s a great pleasure to be able to sit down and talk with you. Just to get things started, can you please educate our Evolution of Media faithful about who Hyim is?
I am a human being born in the 20th century, thriving in the 21st century and…
Growing up on a commune in the late ’70s was an amazing and unusual childhood experience,” says Hyim (Hebrew for life), the “hippie child who grew up on hip-hop,” California Music Awards Nominee, KFOG Local Scene Artist (“Sunny Day” was track #1 on the KFOG Local Scene CD 2005), Yamaha sponsored artist, “eclectic maestro,” and critically acclaimed producer, pianist and performer. He is a singer-songwriter, composer, playwright and poet. He is the next generation’s music “fusionisto,” following in the footsteps of Dave Matthews, Manu Chao, Peter Gabriel, Ozomatli, Bob Marley, and Norah Jones. This San Francisco native was raised in the Oakland public schools, began playing piano at the age of three, studied sitar in India, clave in Cuba, classical guitar in New Zealand, Turkish rhythms, Persian poetry, the Torah, and whom critics say has “the voice of a young Sting.” Hyim blends the rhythms of the world as chariots for his brilliant songs. Hyim provided the score for the short film, “Two Birds,” directed by Juan Jose Rivera and winner of the San Francisco Latino Film Festival jury award for Best Emerging Latino Filmmaker 2006. Last year, Hyim held a 5 Day Fast and Chain Vigil for Peace and Education, calling into question the economic sense of investing in war as opposed to our children. Hyim is currently working on a new project called The Hyim Trio: A Collection of Ballads. Hyim’s music and spirit know no bounds, and as the sounds spread and take flight, the world watches, bodies are moved, and the audiences applaud.

2. Now, when I was reading up on your website, I couldn’t help but be touched by the story you tell about your father’s influence on your music. Do you include any of the childhood lessons your father has taught you in your song lyrics?
Absolutely. My father was a hero and very involved in the community. My father taught me the values of respect, family, global citizenship, humor and music. The experience of my father being murdered the way he was, furthered my appreciation for love and peace and non-violent diplomacy. Examples – the songs “Let Out A Little Peace” and “Change A Come.”

3. Looking down from heaven, what do you think he’d say about your work?
Keep rockin’ that sh*t!

4. Your music is known for being politically optimistic, socially uplifting, and generally happy. Is there ever a time when the negative aspects of everyday life get the best of you and make their way into your music?
Sure. A lot of my music, especially my older music has a lot of sorrow, rage and despair. We all have many sides to ourselves. Check out the songs “Musings of the Beast”, “On the Line,” “Treasures & Crocodiles” (Ode to Capitalism). Of course, turn on the news. Also, three of my peers have cancer. I believe that my friends’ sickness is a direct result of the toxins in our society. The sadness within that understanding, their suffering, naturally influences my muse. We have the highest breast cancer rate in the country.

5. This year, both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton appear to be the front runners in the race for the Democratic presidential nominee and many are saying that this could be a momentous year for politics. How do you think these two front runners are changing the face of politics?
The key word in your question is “momentous”. My primary interest in Obama and Clinton is that they are a part of a “momentum” and change in an ever shifting and growing political and social human evolution. It’s like in 1872 when Fredrick Douglas and Victoria Woodhull ran together to win the White House. Diversity in all its forms is the spice that adds flavor (“saoco”) to life.

6. Do you think America is ready to have an African American or female President? If elected, what changes do you hope they’ll institute once in office?
I assume that by “America” that you mean “the United States of America” and not South or Central America or Canada or Mexico. I would like to hope so, but only time will tell if we are ready. The abolition of war, the institution of the Department of Environmental Defense and the Department of Peace will be a prime starting platform.

7. On a lighter note, you’ve been quoted as saying, “I can shake my thing better than Dave Matthews.” Known for your electrifying live performances, what is your goal once you are out there on stage?
Have fun, communing with creation and engaging the people.

8. Judging by the eclectic mix of musicians critics have compared you to, which comparisons, if any, do you feel are the most accurate?
I have no idea. I think that the Evolution of Media’s review of my album is a great reference for that question.

9. Many musicians are influenced most heavily by the singers they hear on their parents’ record players. What musicians did you look up to the most while growing up? If given the chance, would you collaborate with any of them?
The Police, Tito Puente, Joanie Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Mozart, Ravi Shankar, Paul Simon, Simon & Garfunkel, John Coltrane, Nina Simone, I’d like to get them all into my studio.

10. The music industry is undergoing a virtual upheaval due to the internet’s increasingly powerful role. How has the internet affected your career and what suggestions would you have for up and coming musicians trying to use it as a marketing tool for themselves?
The internet has helped my career tremendously. The internet is leveling the playing field. Now it’s almost an endurance race. People are so talented that there’s a lot of cream at the top, so you have to find people, find your audience who want your cream. Be creative, hone your muse and talent, practice your instrument, and come be my friend on myspace. Don’t spend all day in front of the computer!

11. We’ve covered a wide range of topics and I wanted to give you an opportunity to speak out. Is there anything else that you would like your fans/our readers to know about you, your band, your music, or your life’s mission?
As we evolve as human beings on this planet it is vital to our success as a species that we learn the lessons of peace, forgiveness and compassion or we will suffer not only individually but collectively as well. As my production work grows, as my touring broadens, I am continuing to enjoy the fruits of not only my labor but also the work of my ancestors as well. For that, I am grateful. Look out for the Hyim Trio album in 2007; brand new album produced in my little turtle studio.

Shalom, Salaam, Paz, Paix, Pax, Namaste,