February 27, 2024

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From the farm to cruise ships to local stages, singing has been Derek Hines’ passion: Video

Derek Hines is so relaxed and casual, having a conversation with the jazz vocalist is like chatting with your best pal. He’s like that on stage too, often standing with his hands in his pockets or behind his back. Then he starts to sing and his rich baritone undulates with a rhythm so rich that lyrics are given deep emotion.

Hines, who lives in downtown Kitchener, said he wakes up singing. Sings while cooking breakfast, while working on anything. Hines interprets his world through music and he pays tribute to those who have passed with song, people such as his mother who died of cancer but had always wanted her son to record the church music she loved.

In November 2017, Hines released his first album “The Long Journey Home” a collection of gospel music arranged Big Band style. This music is Frank Sinatra meets Mahalia Jackson.

The 46-year-old Hines, who is becoming a much in demand singer locally, will perform music from the album at Dublin Street United Church in Guelph on Feb. 24 and at the Jazz Room in Waterloo on March 9.

His love of music was born in an unexpected place.

“When I was really young my mom and dad would take me to the barn,” recalled the adopted son of chicken farmers living near Wellesley. What do you do with a three or four year old while you’re trying to feed hens and muck stalls?

“They’d bring a black and white TV and I’d watch Sesame Street and music,” he said.

Hines was also influenced by his mother, who was highly musical.

She loved the old religious tunes and there was a lot of Irish music in the household, a salute to her mother’s heritage. His dad preferred the country stylings of Boxcar Willie.

It was an interesting musical background and one that Hines would continue as he experimented with everything from Christian music to musical theatre to rock until he finally found his jazz groove.

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