James Hill




Recommended Listening:
The Old Silo Buy
Man With a Love Song Buy
True Love Don't Weep
(with Anne Davison)
Buy
A Flying Leap Buy
Sample Track:  Lying In Wait
(from "Man With A Love Song")

How does a kid from Canada become what the Honolulu Star-Bulletin calls a “rare peer” of Hawaii’s premier ukulele players? James grew up nearly three thousand miles east of Honolulu in the town of Langley, British Columbia, where ukulele instruction has been mandatory in many schools since the late 1970s. To his fourth grade classmates, the ukulele was a means to an end, a way for them to dip their toes into the vast ocean of music. For James, the uke was a sea of possibilities unto itself and inside its tiny wooden shell he saw his life in music. He was hooked.

During his teenage years James honed his skills as a key member of the renowned Langley Ukulele Ensemble and as a student at the Langley Community Music School. He continued his study of music at the University of British Columbia where he earned a Bachelor of Music Degree in 2003. In a full-circle plot twist, James – also a passionate teacher – went on to co-author the Ukulele in the Classroom method book series with J. Chalmers Doane, the trail-blazing teacher who pioneered the use of ukuleles in Canadian schools. In 2010, James and his father Barry, a retired school teacher, launched the JHUI Teacher Certification Program, the first of its kind in the world. His most ambitious educational offering to date is The Ukulele Way, a ground-breaking learning method that combines print, video, audio and its own social media platform.

James Hill has come a long way from that fateful day in fouth-grade music class. A seasoned performer with a fan base in North America, Asia and Europe, he has garnered wide acclaim for his ground-breaking approach to a chronically-underestimated instrument. Over the course of his first three genre-defying albums – Playing it like it isn’t... (2002), On the Other Hand (2003) and A Flying Leap (2006) – he re-wrote every rule that had previously kept the ukulele in the realm of novelty and obscurity. Then came the Canadian-Folk-Music-Award-winning True Love Don’t Weep (2009), his collaboration with cellist/singer Anne Janelle Davison, an album that pushed the budding singer/songwriter into new territory, topped folk radio charts in North America and opened doors to festival stages across the continent.

Man With a Love Song (2011), reached a new plateau yet again. “An album for troubled times," wrote TRAD magazine, "joie de vivre, tenderness and musical perfection." “Stellar," proclaimed Exlaim! Magazine, "A fantastic album from a man who makes songwriting seem effortless.” Seemingly overnight, Hill had made the delicate transition from instrumentalist to songwriter.

A singer, songwriter, educator and virtuoso instrumentalist, James Hill is a man on a musical mission. It's a mission that reaches beyond the concert stage and into communities, homes and classrooms around the world. After all, what's left when the applause fades and the bright lights go dark? Perhaps only the sound of ukuleles strumming happily into the night...