I met Justin Hines a couple of years back when Vita was hosting a self advocate conference and we wanted to have something really wonderful to wrap up the day. With little hope of getting him, we called Justin's manager and asked if he'd come and sing for an hour or so and talk to the self advocates about hope and dreams and stuff. We were thrilled when he agreed. I'd first read about Justin's music in an article about him in the newspaper. One YouTube listen and I was hooked. I bought all his CDs ... both of them. Since then I check out his web page every now and then. I was thrilled to find out he had a new CD coming out.
Almost every day I get an email requesting me to feature a product or a web page or a topic here on Rolling Around in My Head and I always say 'no' ... except sometimes to the ideas for blog topics. I want this to simply be a personal blog. Well, I'm kind of breaking the rule, I wasn't asked by anyone, I haven't seen Justin since that day, but I wanted to give whatever publicity I could to Justin and his music. For three reasons. First, I love his voice. Second, I love the kind of music he writes. Third, I've met him and he's genuinely a nice guy.
After his session with the self advocates he pulled his chair up beside me and stayed right to the end signing autographs and chatting with everyone who lined up to say hi. He never rushed, he took the time to understand what someone was saying, he personalized the experience for everyone. He sold a lot of CDs that day and then, in an act of incredible generosity, donated all the money from sales straight back to the work with self advocates at Vita.
When Joe and I were much younger we went to hear singers and see performers from our own home community. We believed that 'gay dollars need to support gay voices'. I still believe that to be true. Hence I think that we here, in the disability community, need to pay attention to and support those of us with talent. If you like what you hear, why not spend a few bucks and pick up a CD? Make it possible for Justin to make more music. Make it possible for kids with disabilities to see themselves on stage, to see themselves in their future living dreams.
On August second, we're getting Justin's new CD. Gonna go straight to the record store and ask for it, if they don't have it we'll order it.
By the way, there is a link to Justin's blog on his site and he tells about how he managed to sing in a London club that was down a set of stairs with no elevator. They say 'where there's a will, there's a way' I don't think that's how it really goes, it's more like 'where there's a won't, I will'. Gotta love a guy who gets downstairs and gets it done while keeping his very deep and very personal ... cool.