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Meet Van Hunt

Today we’d like to introduce you to Van Hunt.

Van, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I started out in Dayton, Ohio – never imagining I’d wind up in Los Angeles. As I’m sure it is for many, LA was just a scene from a movie. It didn’t seem tangible, at the time.

I always knew I’d express the sound in my head. I never knew how it would happen, or where it would take me. But, I knew materializing the static inside me would become my job. Because it was all I had to say — it was all that was my own. And, keeping it inside wasn’t an option. Quietly, I told myself, “if you have to have a job it might as well be something you can’t help doing.” At age ten my Mom moved us from Dayton, Ohio to Arlington, Texas. I discovered Prince there. His music showed me the way out of my head — out of Arlington. By the time I reached Atlanta, in 1988, I was a corked bottle of ideas. It was there, working with rappers, r & b singers, grandmothers, grandkids – on their demo tapes – where I developed a basic understanding of how to write songs and record them.

I got the call.

I suddenly found myself traveling the world with a band. It wasn’t my band – but as the youngest person on the tour, I had plenty to learn about being in a band; and running a band. One night in Japan, a rare night when I had a hotel room to myself – I spread a couple of Sly Stone records out onto the floor.  For two hours I listened to the 50 years between what Sly had done 25 years previously, and what would take me another 25 years to do.

I’ve been both strangled and saved by human beings of all hues. I know that being rich or poor makes you neither a villain or a victim – it is likely you are both. Life cannot be captured in a moment. No matter how many pictures your phone holds. Life moves. I said that to end with this: I don’t know my story. It was written when I got here. It was amended by me to an extent; and it will continue to be written after I am gone. My story is that I rock WITH the boat. But, only THE WAY I rock is mine. The boat – and the water it sits on was here when I arrived.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The only “struggle” has been the stickiness of racism. As a tool for economic distribution it has been quite efficient at restricting my opportunities and my ability to come back from my mistakes. I don’t say that as a victim – it’s just the cards that were dealt. I appreciate being alive, with a chance to play the game; and I do it my way.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I create patterns with sound and texture.

Music is the medium through which I work.

When teaching someone how to express themselves through music, the most difficult part is holding their hand as they walk their vulnerabilities through academic and corporate structures. What I am proudest of is that I practice what I preach. I don’t know what sets me apart from others, but I would love to know it is my comfort with who I am.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
It’s a flash, really. I was sitting in the back of a 4th-grade classroom – in an old school building. There were no voices. It was warm outside and the windows were all open to spring’s breeze. A lawn mower growled in the distance – and for a moment it was perfection.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Stefania Rosini (photography), Response Agency (poster design)

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