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Exclusive interview with the Grammy and Juno award-winning chanter/songwriter Dan Hill

29 Nov 2010

Although Mr. Dan Hill doesn’t need any introduction, in case you have been living in another planet, allow us to present a résumé of his professional accomplishments. Mr. Daniel Grafton Hill IV was born in Toronto (Ontario, Canada) the 3rd of June 1954 to American parents who, as an interracial couple, moved to Canada to escape the twin scourges of racism (including laws against miscegenation) and McCarthyism. The couple also believed at the time that Canada provided a better environment to raise their family. The internationally renowned artist Dan Hill comes from a prominent family. His late father, Daniel G. Hill III was a social scientist and public servant. Before he came to Canada, he collaborated in the U.S. with the late eminent American sociologist E.  Franklin Frazier.

Dan Hill’s father became in 1962 the first Director of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, the first black in the country to hold this position. Mr. Hill Sr., Ombudsman for Ontario was called Canada’s father of human rights. His wife, Donna Hill, was also a human rights activist when she was active.  Daniel Grafton Hill’s brother, Lawrence Hill, is a prominent writer. His sister, Karen Hill, is an authoress and a poetress. 

Dan Hill [IV] is ranked among the world’s elite singers/songwriters; he is also a musician.  He plays piano and guitar. As a teenager, he admired artists such as Frank Sinatra, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan. He began writing songs at the tender age of 14. He started to play professionally in small gatherings and coffee houses by the time he was 17. Two years later he signed with GRT Records in Canada and began his quick rise to fame.

Hill became popular in North America after the release of his first album entitled Dan Hill in 1975. The song from this album “You Make Me Want To Be” was a hit in Canada. In 1977, Hill co-wrote his mega hit “Sometimes When We Touch” with Barry Mann ; he was just 23 years old. The popularity of “Sometimes When We Touch” made Dan Hill one of the youngest successful songwriters in the history of the music industry. This song became a Top Ten smash hit in the U.S. and an international success. This single went Gold in Canada. 

“Sometimes When We Touch” was the first co-writing experience for Dan Hill.  He was named Top New Male Vocalist in both Cashbox and Record World. He won Juno awards for Composer of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year. “Sometimes When We Touch” also earned him his first Grammy nomination in 1979 for male vocalist of the year. The song was subsequently covered by Rod Stewart, Barry Manilow, Newton and Tina Turner.  It is among the most covered pop songs of all time.  The success of the song resulted in appearances on The Merv Griffin Show, The Mike Douglas Show and other shows. In 1985, Dan Hill was one of the many Canadian performers to appear on the benefit single "Tears Are Not Enough" by Northern Lights.

Dan Hill made a come back in 1987 with another Top Ten hit “Can’t We Try”, a duet with Vonda Sheppard followed in 1988 with “Never Thought (That I Could Love)” which was number one on the charts.  Since then, his work has appeared on Billboard’s adult contemporary charts. A road trip to a Hill concert was the subject of the 1994 Canadian comedy film, South of Wawa. In 1997, Hill won a Grammy Award for co-writing and co-producing the song “Seduces Me” from Céline Dion’s breakthrough 1996 album Falling Into You (which sold over 32 millions albums). “Seduces Me” was re-released on Dion’s Collectors Series in 2004. It is important to note that in several concerts and interviews, Céline Dion mentioned that her favourite song from Falling Into You was Dan Hill’s “Seduces Me”. This single was written with John Sheard and co-produced by John Jones and Rick Hahn. In 1997, “Love of My Life” rose to number one on the U.S. country charts. In November of the same year, Dan Hill received The Harold Moon Award, a prestigious honor bestowed on Canadian songwriters for remarkable international contributions in songwriting. In 1999, prolific artists such as the R&B singer Deborah Cox collaborated on Dan Hill’s CD Love of My Life (The Best of Dan Hill).

Dan Hill’s song “I Do (Cherish You)” was recorded by the pop group 98 Degrees and was featured in the worldwide hit movie Notting Hill (which starred Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant).  Dan Hill chanted the title song “It’s a Long Road” from Sylvester Stallone’s movie First Blood and the theme song from Rambo I. Hill has licensed his songs for countless other Hollywood movies such as The Phantom of the opera.

Dan Hill’s work is eclectic, his songs have made it to country music charts, pop charts, and so on. The chanter also has his own U.S. label. His work has resulted in sales of over 100 million albums.  Hill has also written a best selling novel Comeback and a candid memoir I Am My Father’s Son:  A Memoir of Love and Forgiveness, published by Harper Collins. The book is dedicated to his late father, Daniel (Grafton) Hill III and to his mother Donna Mae Hill.  The Canadian magazine Now classified I Am My Father’s Son among the top 10 books of the year after its release. It recounts Dan Hill’s childhood and his complex relationship with his late father, as well as parents’ expectations of their children, his career as a performer and songwriter, his search for identity.  In essence, it is Hill’s inside look at growing up as a biracial child in Canada.  Many other subjects are covered in the book and taboos are wrecked such as ageism in the music business with all the complexities in this changing industry.  Thus, the book offers the reader an introspective insight into the artist’s personal and professional life.  On the cover of the memoir is a powerful and lovely picture of a child’s hand holding his father’s index finger. I Am My Father’s Son is a very well written memoir. The future readers will be deeply touched by the content. This intense, critically acclaimed book illustrates the universal relationship between fathers and sons. The author, Dan Hill is a very good story teller with a wonderful sense of humour.  He penned also several articles for prominent media settings such as the news magazine Maclean’s.

When Dan Hill stops recording and performing to concentrate solely on writing for other acts, he resolves to never again play his songs and talk about his career except when he was working.  But he broke his promise and played one last song for his father the month before he went into his last coma. The song which has the same title as his book, “I Am My Father’s son”, is from his latest album, Intimate , released in 2010. The seamless single has power and grandeur; treats the complex father-son relationship with authenticity and it talks about forgiveness.  The album Intimate unites anew producers Matthew McCauley and Fred Mollin both working with Dan Hill for the first time since 1978. Together, the trio produced Dan''s first four platinum-selling albums. On Intimate, listeners will discover a great new acoustic version of his classic song “Sometimes When We Touch”.

In spite of all his accomplishments, Dan Hill remains a down-to-earth and generous man who gives back to the community. For instance, he gives workshops to aspiring songwriters children across Canada.  He also devotes his time to social causes.  For example, he participated in a fundraising concert for Haïti following the devastating earthquake on the 12th of January 2010. In addition, as a community ambassador, Dan is a supporter of the Canadian Diabetes Association (www.diabetes.ca). The disease affects more than two million Canadians and an estimated 246 million people globally, as well as Dan''s grandfather, father, brother and himself. The latter was recently involved in a federal initiative to expand diabetes research with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Canada.

Dan Hill nearly lost his son to gang violence and has become involved in Stop the Violence (www.stoptheviolence.ca/index.php?id=8). He is also dedicating much of his time to supporting World Vision (www.worldvision.ca), which works with children, families and communities to overcome poverty.

To sum up, Dan Hill is a legendary talented and versatile artist with more than 30 years in the music business. His body of work draws on his personal experience and themes which touch his heart.  This is evident in his songs such as “McCarthy’s Day”, “Africville Skies” or “I Am My Father’s Son” to name a few. Throughout his career, Hill has earned  four number one songs released twelve top ten records, won a Grammy Award, five Juno Awards (the Canadian equivalent to the Grammy), four platinum albums in Canada, two gold albums (also in Canada), etc. It is important to note that Dan Hill is one of the few artists in North America who was granted a Grammy and five Juno awards among several other distinctions. It is a rare accomplishment. His songs have been performed by numerous top artists such as Céline Dion, George Benson, the Backstreet Boys, 98 Degrees, Michael Bolton, Rod Stewart, Tina Turner, Britney Spears, Alan Jackson, Jully Black and others.

Dan  Hill, the “Picasso of songwriting” is one of the most respected and accomplished high-caliber artists in the music industry. On a more personal level, he lives in Ontario (Canada) with his wife, an accomplished barrister, Beverly Chapin-Hill.  The couple has one son.  Mr.  Hill and his spouse have written two songs, “Can’t We Try” and “(Can This Be) Real Love”.  On August 23, 2010 we had the honor to speak to Mr.  Dan Hill who gave among other things priceless advice for aspirants who wish to follow in his footstep.  The interview was conducted in Canada by the columnist of Afrotoronto, Patricia Turnier, also Editress-in-Chief of www.megadiversities.com.

Patricia Turnier talks to Dan Hill:

P. T.  What made you decide to go public with your life story which focuses on your relationship with your late father? Was it a cathartic and healing experience for you to write your memoir I Am My Father’s Son?

D.H.  When my father died, for the first time in my life I couldn’t write songs.  I was always writing songs since I was 14.  They always came easily to me.  I was so broken hearted that for the first time I was paralysed in the figurative sense, which prevented me from composing songs.  It was a dire period of my life.  Nevertheless, I always turned to songwriting when I was emotionally distressed or had upheavals in my life because it helps me cope with my feelings.  But for some reason, things were different when I lost my father.

When my dad passed away, I realised that I was writing practically all my life to get his attention and approval.  When he died, I didn’t feel the need to pen because I could not try to impress him anymore.  So, I needed to take somewhere all the creative energy that I had inside of me.  This is how I realised that I should write a book, about my dad and me, our parallel lives, what made the man, my father…  It was a way to fill the void of not being able to write songs.  The more I wrote, the more intense and powerful it became.  The story had a grip on me and it gathered momentum.

P.T.  In your book, you talk about your mixed heritage.  As a biracial individual, did you go through an identity crisis when you were younger?  If so, how did you overcome this?

D.H.  I did go through an identity crisis based on my biracial background.  I grew up in an almost totally white neighborhood.  At some point, it was really hard for me and I even went through a period of self-locking and soul-searching.  I had to find out where I did fit in with my mixed heritage.  I overcame this issue by writing about it through prose, such as articles and songs.

P.T.  You began to write songs at a young age, you were 14 years old.  Did you have at that time songwriters you looked up to?

D.H.    Music is my first love and I grew up with it which has always been part of my family.  There was always music in my house.  My father had a wonderful singing voice.  All the time, he played great music and I heard great singers through him such as Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Billie Holiday and so on.  In itself, it was a wonderful learning experience which was an important part of my knowledge in the artistic arena.  I consider myself a music lover. Music has always been part of my life as long as I can remember.  I often sang to the beautiful tunes that my parents loved.  The way that my mother and my father responded to music with joy was an inspiration for me.  In other words, my family provided me an important musical influence.  This rich experience allowed me later to develop and perfect my style in the artistic realm.

P.T.  In your brother’s (Lawrence Hill) book Black Berry, Sweet Juice, a best-seller in Canada, we learn that your late father had an amazing voice and you just spoke about it in answering my last question.  Was he one of the earliest people in your life who inspired you to become a chanter?

D.H.   Yes, definitely.  He sang a lot and he had so much joy doing it.  He really had a beautiful voice.  I think unconsciously it inspired me to embrace a singing career.  I loved watching him sing which made him very happy.

P.T.  Do you know if it was a dream of your father to become a singer when he was younger and did he decide to suppress this desire because he thought it was unrealistic?

D.H.  It was never a dream of my father.  His singing was a hobby for him.  If we look into his background, his father was also into music; he sang, wrote songs, played many instruments.  However, the tradition in the Hill family is academic with earning Ph.Ds.  So, he followed this tradition of seeking a higher level education.

P.T.  Since your teenage years, you started to write essays, short stories, poetry and articles.  Do you think that having the ability to write poetry is one of the greatest assets to become an excellent songwriter?

D.H.  It is important to have the ability to express yourself with written words. You have to know how to be articulate. It really helps as a songwriter. Since my childhood, I was surrounded by people in my family who were writing. I had to pen letters and so on to relatives.  My parents and my grandfathers wrote books. Being in this kind of intellectual environment was a second nature for me.  Therefore, songwriting is very easy for me. I have a strong voice and I master some instruments such as the guitar. I think that having a training of different styles (poetry, prose) is an excellent basis to become a great songwriter. Having other abilities as a vocalist or as a musician is another great credential for songwriting.

P.T.  What is your favourite song you wrote in your career and why?

D.H.  This is a great question and a hard one. It is like trying to choose your favourite child. I have to say “I Am My Father’s Son” which is the last song I played for my dad before he passed away.  I think the lyrics are authentic, intense and powerful. I believe also that the theme is original. It is seldom that one hears this topic in a song.


P.T.  When you co-wrote and co-produced  “Seduces Me” sung by Céline Dion (from the CD Falling Into You, one of the best-selling albums of all time, released on Women’s Day (the 8th of March 1996)), did you know it would be Grammy material and how did you feel when you received the award in 1997?

D.H.  I thought it was an unusually strong song. It is powerful and has an erotic component to it. I do believe that it is one of the best songs that I penned. I did not conceive of it in terms of a Grammy. I try not to think about those things.  However, I knew it was a great song. When I co-wrote the single, I had the certainty that Céline [Dion] would do a great job. I knew that it would really resonate with her background. She comes from Québec and I knew she would bring the French romanticism in the song.  As a woman, I was convinced also that she had what it takes to bring the female sensuality in the song. She felt it and knew how to bring emotions into it. In other words, she understood the emotion behind the lyrics and knew how to get all that across. She has the ability to get deep into the song.

P.T.  In what settings do you feel more comfortable to write your songs and how do you find your inspiration?

D.H.  I try to write in almost any setting.  Also, I have to say that it depends on the situation.  Sometimes, I have to write with well-known singers and I have to pen with them in their settings.  When I am by myself with my own devices, I like to be in an acoustic place with my guitar and piano.  I keep playing until some interesting stuff begins to surface.  What can I say about my inspirations?  Well, let’s put it this way.  I think that every moment I am inspired.  It is like that for writers.  When they say they are not writing, they are doing it even in their mind.  You find the inspiration by being observant of everything around you and inside you.  When you compose a song in ten minutes, it is not really the case because unconsciously you were building all these things for the single with the use of experiences and knowledge before putting it on paper.

P.T.  You said in the past that it helped you in your career as a lyricist to be a singer.  Do you think that for aspiring songwriters who want longevity in their career they need to be versatile?

D.H.  I think it helps to be versatile and flexible.  Flexibility allows one to write songs in different situations.  Sometimes, people in the music industry send you a track without any words and ask you to put a melody on it with lyrics.  It is an asset to be a singer in the studio because you can show artists how the song can be better.  As a singer, I hear the music and I can demonstrate with my voice how to improve the melody.  When I do vocals, I demonstrate to the performer how to sing the lyrics.  It shows how it really sounds.  There is an important aspect in delivering a song with emotions when you present it to other artists.  Another great asset is to be able to write the chords that you are playing when you pen a song.  Personally, doing this really helps my work.  In this respect, it is good to know as much as possible as an artist.  It is a real advantage to learn to read, play and write music with a good musical ear.  You can save hours of studio time if you are able to translate the tunes into notes.

Great songwriters know how to touch the heart of the audience.  I think also that it is important for them to not be afraid to address powerful and honest issues.  In other words, in their creative process they have to be bold to expose themselves and be naked in the figurative sense.

P.T.  It is very interesting to hear this.  I thought that it is more as a performer that you must feel naked than as a songwriter.

D.H.  As a songwriter, in a different way you can feel naked.  You have to go deep inside your heart, your memories… It’s like a self-hypnosis process.  You can’t be afraid to say things which are revealing.  It is hard sometimes and when you get older it becomes more difficult because with age we have more defences.  In this respect, with age we can have the tendency to reveal less of ourselves.  As a songwriter, you have to learn to not let that happen.

P.T.  About your latest album Intimate, what message do you want people to take away from it?

D.H.  I would say the importance of connections.  I think we stumble in this world by trying to find how we can relate to one another.  In fact, we are too often disconnected.  In Intimate, I am trying to establish anew the need for interrelationships.  These days, with all the technology we might think that we communicate better, but it is not necessarily the case.  I could add that it is very easy to be disconnected.  The technology has the ability to take us away from other people.

P.T.  Talk to us about your moving song “I Am My Father’s Son” on your latest album.  You talked a little bit about it before but can you elaborate further?

D.H. I knew my father was dying.  There were a lot of things that I wanted to say to him.  However, I really didn’t know how to express it.  So, when it is difficult for me to communicate something, using songwriting is a great tool for me.  “I Am Father’s Son” is really about the last connection that my dad and I had.  It is also about the disappointment that I felt from him.  The song is also about how I learned to forgive him which is a big part of love.  I needed to write that song in order to process all the mixed emotions I had about my father.  It allowed me to see him more as a human being.  I was able to understand more about what motivated him as a man and about what shaped him.  The song itself helped me to pen my book “I Am My Father’s Son”.


P.T.  In Intimate, you wrote a beautiful song about Africville called “Africville Skies”.  What does Africville mean to you as an Afro-Canadian and how does it feel to have been approached by the Montreal-born jazz pianist/composer Joe Sealy  to pen about this town?

D.H.  I was proud to have the opportunity to sing about the oldest black community in Canada established gradually in our country after the war against England (which took place from 1812 to 1814).  In 1838, the community was complete and it was comprised of descendants of American slaves.  In this respect, free land and equal rights were promised to Black Loyalists. Africville was a beautiful and strong population which was self-sufficient.  This community had his own infrastructure:  schools, church, etc. So, I was enthused to sing about this historic population.  Joe Sealy’s father was born in Africville.  When his father died, one of his feelings was to write an album called Africville Suite where we find beautiful pieces about Africville.  Joe Sealy wanted me to write lyrics about this community.  To be more specific, Africville was a small unincorporated community located on the southern shore of Bedford Basin in the city of Halifax (Nova Scotia, Canada).  In 1967, the community and its dwellings were razed and the residents were evicted.   They were forced to relocate.

I feel honoured that I have been approached by Joe [Sealy] to pen “Africville Skies”.  I love him and I think he is a brilliant composer.  More importantly, he is a fabulous human being.  He received the Order of Canada.  I was very proud and I was moved to write lyrics for this great artist.

P.T.  In your book, we learn about your hurdles as a songwriter, especially at the beginning of your career.  The music industry has changed tremendously and has its challenges, particularly with all the downloading.  What advice do you have for young people who want to make it as songwriters and singers?  What can you tell them regarding the protection of their work through the royalties?

D.H.  They need to do their homework about the music business, through reading for instance.
There are great books on the market which allow people to understand the intricacies of the music industry such as All you need to know about the music business written by Harvard alumni lawyer Donald S.  Passman.  This book gives an excellent overview of the music industry.  Young people can also seek guidance from individuals who have been in the music industry for many years.  Mentors and connoisseurs of the music business can give access to people and resources needed to develop a career.  It is always from the best that you learn.  This will allow young people to save a lot of time and energy.  It will also permit them to avoid traps.  I would like to add that it is important for artists to get a business understanding of their career.

For the people who want to make it, more specifically as songwriters and singers, they can learn to play an instrument.  It is important to write daily.  You have to practice and study on a regular basis.  It is useful to listen to records and try to understand what the artists are doing by looking toward what it is resonating with what you are creating.  You have to go through this process with authenticity and by bringing your own originality.  It is important also to catch up to novelty because the music domain evolves constantly.

It is helpful to broaden your horizon.  In this respect, if you are an artist who doesn’t sell much with your CDs, you can consider other venues such as commercials, movies, TV shows, etc.  There are many ways for songwriters to make money, even more now than when I started in the business.

P.T.  In your book, we learn that your father who became the first Director of the Ontario Human Rights Commission placed great value on you to pursue an academic profession and didn’t accept easily the artistic road you chose.  What message do you have for young people who want to be in the music industry but are being deterred by their family who want them to choose a liberal profession?

D.H.  This is another very great question.  I think that it depends on the individual.  It is extremely competitive to make it in the music business.  For instance, Jay-Z said it was ten times harder to make it as a rapper than as an NBA basketball player.  So, to make it as a musician or as a performer it goes back to what was discussed earlier, you have to be really versatile.  I mean, it is helpful to be able to play and master an instrument.  If for some reason, you do not end up to be a pop star maybe you can consider teaching guitar, give voice lessons or become a record producer for instance.  So, it is possible to see the music field as a broad canvas of which there are many different ways to make a living instead of seeing the prospects in a much narrower way.  It is not everybody who will become the next Nelly Furtado for instance but I don’t think either that it is unimaginable to make a good living in the music industry if you have more than one string to one’s bow.   In other words, young people can’t limit themselves and it is important to see how to be prolific across many genres.

I encourage young people to follow their passion and exploit their talent.  They have to assess their lives and find out what they’re good at and focus on that.  Doing what you love will always make you a winner.  However, they have to be willing to work very hard for it and make some sacrifices.  For instance, the late Charlie Parker practiced saxophone fifteen hours per day.  He didn’t become the pioneer of bebop just by coincidence.  There is no such thing as an overnight success. In other words, there is no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs.  Success means diligent work and discipline. There are a lot of talented people who will never be discovered because they will never develop their potential by being determined to put in the hard work, or some will surrender too soon.  You have to be patient to see the results of all the efforts. One of my favourite mottos is:  “Strivers achieve what dreamers believe”.  When opportunities are presented, young people need to be prepared.  By the way, whatever the domain chosen by young people, they must have a serious work ethic and not rest on their laurels.  The best physicians, for instance, need to be retrained regularly to stay current on the latest research and procedures.  There are no shortcuts.  Young people have to be focused and diligent.  I could add that my determined mantra is:  Never give up, dream big and do not settle.


P.T.  To finish, what are your future projects that you can share with us?

D.H.  I am writing a lot of new songs, some for myself and some for other artists.  I have a couple of new articles coming out.  I pen a lot of articles for magazines.   I am also doing a lot of concerts.

P.T.  Thank you so much Mr.  Hill for your time and attention.  It was an honor to interview you!


Discography
Albums
•    1975 - Dan Hill
•    1976 - Hold On
•    1977 - Longer Fuse
•    1978 - Frozen in the Night
•    1980 - If Dreams Had Wings
•    1981 - Partial Surrender
•    1983 - Love in the Shadows
•    1987 - Dan Hill
•    1989 - Real Love
•    1991 - Dance of Love
•    1994 - Let Me Show You (Greatest Hits and More)
•    1996 - I''m Doing Fine
•    1999 - Love of My Life (The Best of Dan Hill)
•    2010 - Intimate


I Am My Father’s Son:  A Memoir Of Love And Forgiveness, available on the market since February 2009 on www.amazon.com or .ca and in bookstores in North America


An excerpt from Dan Hill’s book  I Am My Father’s Son (p.  368-369):

“Dad, it’s David.  Stop leaving home.  Stop leaving Canada to always go to America.  Choose a country.”
Ouch.  Like so many Hills, my eleven-year-old son had a scary way with words.  “Choose your love,” David was saying.  “Is it music or family?”  It brought back the image of him, at four or so, looking balefully out our living room window, searching, as he did every day when I was gone, for his jet-setting father.  Bev had described this wrenching scene many times to me over the phone but until I saw him there, as I pulled up our driveway from yet another songwriting journey, I hadn’t understood.  There he was, his small face squished up against that big bay window, waving excitedly in my direction.
On my flight back to Toronto the day after David’s message, I couldn’t get one particular song of mine out of my head.

Memories of when I was a little boy, four years old,
Waiting for my daddy to come home
Now I look into the eyes of my own son
Wondering what he’s thinking of
Waiting at the window, when I come home
Watch his eyes fill up with joy and wonder
He reaches out his tiny hands, I feel the bond between boy and man

Memories of my mom crying, my daddy gone for weeks at a time
Not knowing how to comfort her
Face in my pillow, pretending not to hear
Now I write this letter to my little boy, I’m far away
Not knowing really what to say, except I’m sorry, oh so sorry

I don’t wanna make the same mistakes my daddy made with me
Still his voice rolls off my tongue when I say boy, protect your mom
Memories of my wife crying on the phone
Wondering when I’m coming home
My voice sounds detached and cold
Reminds me of someone that I knew
He had a funny attitude, when I needed him to be
All the things only a daddy could be to me

I don’t wanna make the same mistakes my daddy made with me
Still his voice rolls off my tongue when I say not now, I’m busy son
Memories of lying in bed with my wife and son
Overwhelmed by so much love, trying to explain how a man can cry
Yet still be happy


Thinking of all the dumb mistakes I’ve made
Now I understand my father’s pain
He did the best with what he knew, I love you daddy
I watch my son fall asleep, and wonder what he’ll think of me
When years from now, he sees his son
Reaching out his tiny hands, for love

Dan Hill’s Official Web site:  www.danhill.com

This album is available on www.amazon.com or .ca

An excerpt from the song “I Am My Father’s Son”:

“It’s about you and me, Dad
It’s called My Father’s son”
I took the CD out of its casing
And started to feed it into
The stereo system

“Uh oh.  So now you’re gonna
Take some pot-shots at me?
I gotta listen to another song
About what a terrible dad I
Was to you?”

“No, Dad, honestly, no pot-shots.
It’s hard to explain- Just listen!”

“The strongest man I ever knew
I never was a match for you
Always wanted your attention
Never knew just how to get it, so I rebelled
Tried to be your opposite,
I did it well, strange but true
How our lives are like a circle now
I’m very much like you
You were my unsolved mystery
Always barely out of reach”

“Memories die hard, love dies harder still,
I forgive you, I have no choice
‘cause when all is said and done
I am my father’s son”


Praise for Dan Hill’s book I Am My Father’s Son:

"Inevitably, Hill''s musical sensibility infuses his prose. . . . The story has a musical pulse, an exactness of comedic timing. Like his father and brother . . . Hill possesses the gift of storytelling, in the broad, oral, African-American tradition." --Ottawa Citizen

"Took me on an intellectual, emotional and spiritual pilgrimage that instantly changed my life forever. . . . Dan Hill is my hero. His compassion, fearlessness and resilience reignited a flame in me that was almost dim. Thank you for the laughs, thank you for the tears, and thank you for your moments." --Jully Black

"Describes a complicated family, in a complicated situation, in a complicated time, and does it with honesty and verve."  “[I Am My Father’s Son] jolts us, like hearing a soon-to-be-classic song for the first time.  The book uses the glitz of the 1970s music scene as a back drop for a soul-searching story of a father and a son   --National Post

“A compulsively readable memoir.  It is a fine contribution not just to Canadian showbiz lore but to our country’s social history.  Dan Hill dishes lots of fascinating backstage gossip… [but] also strikes universal chords.” –Winnipeg Free Press

[Dan Hill’s] raw memoir, I Am My Father’s son, [is] a searing examination of his relationship with Daniel Grafton Hill III”-- Toronto Star

Media’s comments on Dan Hill’s CD Intimate:

“…I’ve been to a lot of concerts and a few of them I consider to be the best from start to finish — my own hall of fame entries — and this one by Dan Hill is one of them. I don’t think I’ve been to an event that was as moving as that was. Dan’s voice seems not to have aged. It was just spectacular and it’s too bad there was room for 500 more people in the Opera House.”
- John Swartz, Orillia Packet and Times

“This album has to be the album of the year 2010, and according to Atlantic Seabreeze, the album is a masterpiece, with many awards in the making. The music and Dan''s great voice is simply outstanding and make one play the CD over and over again. According to Dan, it took 15 years to write the songs on the CD, and most of them penned for other artists and he had no inkling that one day he would be recording these songs. He states, that''s the great thing about music-you never know where it may lead you”, www.atlanticseabreeze.com