Eric Himan is a musician whose star is on the rise. The crooner of such popular songs as "Gonna Make It Work," "Little Boy Blue" and "Dust" is about to release a concert DVD "Under The Ink," which refers to amongst other things, Eric's many tattoos.
This writer had the pleasure of catching Mr. Himan in concert at Room 5 in Los Angeles, CA recently on what ended up being the evening of Whitney Houston's passing.
Are you ready, Eric? Let's go...!
MS: It was great to finally catch a show of yours at Room 5, I have heard about you for a while, it was a great gig!
EH: Thank you.
MS: How wild it happened to fall on the evening of Whitney Houston's death.
EH: Yeah, it was nice though to come on stage and do something in her honor considering it was something that was on everybody's mind.
MS: So, are you an actual fan of Whitney's?
EH: Oh, of course. The singers I grew up listening to, Etta James, Janis Joplin - they had big voices and Whitney's voice was bigger than anybody's. Even singing pop songs she seemed to rise above other people. She could take a cover song like "I Will Always Love You" and turn it into something that was completely her own.
MS: Speaking of Ms. Etta James, your cover of "At Last" was really great, you made it yours.
EH: I appreciate you saying that. In a world where everybody is covering everyone else, and it's now beyond ridiculous with "American Idol" and "The Voice" - even when money is tight and I know I would get more recognition from doing one of those shows the idea always seems cheap to me. There seems to be less songs being brought into the world as a result of them. It makes it kind of sad for the artist who writes their own stuff and is identified by that.
MS: Since you do write your own songs, let's talk about one I was taken with, "Little Boy Blue," tell me about that.
EH: "Little Boy Blue" came from an LGBT tour I was on, that I think I got way more out of than the kids did. (Laughs.) What I didn't expect on the tour was to meet so many kids that were transgender. There is a misconception that when you are gay, you immediately understand those who are transgender. People assume I know transgender issues, yet I am going through my own gay issues.
EH: So, when I toured the LGBT centers it was really interesting to meet a lot of young transgender minors. They were just fantastic! They taught me a lot about it through their own experiences. One of them was this guy named Blue, that's what he went by. At first I took him for every spiky haired young lesbian, at the time that's what he reminded me of. Later on I was told that's a boy, not a girl, that's how he identifies. That really changed my perception. He wasn't the nicest to me in the beginning, because I was in his face, he pushed me away, but I am guessing in my non-threatening way I warmed him up to me.
We ended up being friends. When I was writing songs for my CD, "Resume," I thought: "That is an experience I want to talk about." You kind of get sick of writing about your own feelings and your own emotions. I felt like writing a song about someone else.
MS: Are you guys still friends?
EH: Years later I am still friends with him. He's a lot older and doing really well. He's way less guarded than he was once before.
MS: Out of all the songs I saw of yours on YouTube, this is the one that captured my imagination the most.
EH: Yeah, it's funny how people don't really get that it's about a transgender boy right off the bat.
MS: I'm not sure how much of that I picked up on or not. I knew it caught my attention and made me think.
EH: It's in the lyrics: "In your world I was lost in time, your body and your mind were living separate lives."
|Eric Himan | "Under The Ink DVD"
MS: Your explanation of this song is great! The lyrics are also not so specific that they could apply to other things in life, too. You have a DVD coming out.
EH: It's my very first DVD, "Under The Ink". In the age of YouTube, many people are like, "You don't even need a DVD." But I think there is still something to having a whole concert presentation; whereas YouTube is basically three minute clips, a whole concert on DVD is something complete.
MS: What was the concert for?
EH: It was a benefit I did that was recorded for The Arts of Humanities Council of Tulsa, that keeps music in the schools here, which we had a problem with at one point.
MS: That's awesome!
EH: A lot of the songs were from my CD, "Supposed Unknown." I also threw in a few extras including a cover of Patti Smith's "Because The Night".
MS: Love that song! It was written by her and Bruce Springsteen.
EH: It's great, I had to get permission from his publishing company to use it on the video.
MS: People who have dealt with Bruce tell me he is really great about not charging artists through the nose who use his material.
EH: Thank God. I have 1,000 copies of the DVD coming out and he made sure I only had to pay $150.00.
"Under the Ink" is on DVD March 6th.