facebook - music
Join Hyim's Mailing List


For booking or any other inquiries contact:
Linda Yelnick, Manager
San Francisco Bay Area
Family Productions Label

To contact Hyim:

HYIM JVIBE Interview

Living–and Loving–Life with Hyim
Jaime Bolker
February 2008

Only in the San Francisco Bay Area would you find two reggae lovin’ Jews, chowin’ down on vegan food and discussing music, the world, love, life and poetry. This was the scene for my interview with musician Hyim. Described as “a young, poetic Peter Gabriel, a male Norah Jones, Manu Chao, a piano-playing Ben Harper, Michael Franti and Sting in The Police days,” Hyim is really like no one you’ll ever meet. He speaks in a quiet, soothing voice and takes a moment to really think about what he wants to say, so it’s clear he’s really dedicated to changing the world for the better. This interview is just a taste of what he’s all about, but if you find yourself hungry for more, check out his website at www.hyimvibe.com and enter to win (contest over) one of five autographed copies of his newest album, Hyim and the Fat Foakland Orchestra.

Have you lived in the San Francisco Bay Area your entire life?

I was born in San Francisco on a commune, but I went to college out of the Bay. I spent a fair amount of time in New York, in Los Angeles. I’ve been to a fair amount of foreign countries. I left the country for a year and studied music in India. I went all through Europe. I went to Israel by boat and then over to Egypt, Ethiopia and Tanzania. I went up to Nepal. Traveling definitely opened my eyes. It further validated the idea that there are so many ways to live and to perceive life.

What made you want to go into the music industry?

I’ve been playing music since I was a little kid. I grew up on hip hop. I actually made a few albums that were more hip-hop based, but when I was traveling, I became aware of a decision I had to make. Do I want to come back [to the United States] and go into academia or music? I have many family members who are doctors, so I knew I wanted to do some kind of healing work because it’s such a big thing in our world. Finally, I realized that essentially the greatest honor I could give to this world was my music.

You made albums before you traveled. Did those experiences change your music?

It became about where I was going to really focus. In music, you have to be a businessman, and before I hadn’t been one; I had just been making music.

So now you’re a businessman?

[Laughs.] Well, I’m doing better. You have to put food on the table.

So what inspires your music?

Good conversation over good food. Stuff comes out of me constantly. Talking with people is a creative process in itself. The world inspires me. In a lot of ways, writing music is a kind of prayer. I wanted to really use my life. I think my inspiration comes a lot out of my childhood. I grew up in Oakland, so I grew up with music and all different kinds of musicians. I’m definitely inspired by my friends and family. I’m inspired by women and how beautiful they are.

Has being Jewish inspired your music?

Yeah. It’s in my blood. It’s in every breath that comes out. It’s part of who I am. Judaism is something I find so special because it’s not only a platform for your spiritual life, but it also helps one develop a sort of moral framework to live by.

You’ve done so much social activism work in the community. Have you always been a social activist?

I think it had a lot to do with my family. I was going to anti-war events when I was really young. My dad was killed when I was 10, and that triggered something in me to want to stop violence. I’ve definitely been in my fair share of fights growing up in Oakland, but I would like to see what else is possible, because violence hasn’t worked.

How has your music helped with your activism, and how has your activism helped with your music?

In a way, I feel like my music is my activism. I hope it brings peace or love. There’s a song, “I Lay My Heart,” on my album, and I’ve had so many people tell me how much they love that song, that they like playing it on their first date, and that’s a beautiful thing. I feel like the activism and music really help each other. They are sort of two hands of the same body.

What will we see from you next?

I look forward to graduating from grad school. I look forward to putting out my next album, and then after that I’m going to put out an all-ballads album. I want to keep learning and growing. It’s going to be a great year.

What advice do you have for my generation?

Get really, really active and try to make change. Hope for the best and make the best happen. Start organizing people; there are so many places where change needs to happen. There is no wrong place to start.


Jaime Bolker is a student at International High School in San Francisco. She’s a pop-culture junkie and is currently obsessed with Dawson’s Creek re-runs and Bob Marley. She’s also a member of the JVibe Teen Advisory Board.