So back in early 2015, I was hit by some bad news from my doctor (called 3 times in a row on a Sun morning, never a good sign), and after learning “my numbers were literally off the charts”, and that I had almost died from what ended up being untreated late-onset Type 1 diabetes, I took some stock on how I was doing life. I realized I needed to start being more honest and vulnerable about how I was really doing with people, and over quite a few coffee shop conversations I realized that I was not alone in my struggles. In fact, the more people I talked to, the more I realized that everyone was either going through or had gone through something challenging in their lives. So, being a songwriter, I took some of these stories I heard and put them into what is now our new single. On top of that, over the past year I (and at times various other members of the band, who all rock and are awesome) have been playing this song live all across the Denver area. Our “Going Through Something” music video is a collection of these performances (and various beard lengths) that were documented as a reminder that there is no need for us to feel alone here.
I am humbled and excited that you have decided to come with me on this crazy journey of life-through-songwriting, but before we get started I feel I must first introduce myself…
My name is Justin Hooper, and I am a self-taught musician, an award-winning songwriter, a laid back and witty performer, an accomplished educator (having taught grades K-12th all by age 28), a loving husband with a beautiful and talented wife (the harmony to my melody), a compassionate brother and son, a caring friend, and overall just a true delight to be around.
But wait, there’s more…
I am also scatterbrained, stubborn, hypocritical, skeptical, unintentional, insecure, individualistic (a 4 on the enneagram, if that means anything to you…), and a person who thinks too much about everything (which at many points in my life has kept me from truly living). Yes, I have a few strengths, but I also have many weaknesses. I am confident in who I am while at the same time feeling insecure about the reality of what that means. I have unwavering faith in some moments and crippling doubt in others. I could go on and on with this crazy pros-and-cons list, so to save some time I will put it simply: I am human.
Moving right along, here is why I am writing all of this…
As a songwriter, I try to use music and lyrics to make sense of this crazy world we live in. It has also unintentionally become my “jiminy cricket”, my conscience, a reminder from a “still, small voice”. I cannot tell you how many times I have written a song, and years later had certain lyrics come back and slap me in the face with conviction. If I lived up to the songs I wrote, I would be in pretty good shape.
Unfortunately, I don’t. I’m not even close.
One of the biggest things I keep on missing is the idea of enjoying the simple thrills of my parade, a lyric I wrote back when I was 20 years old. So often I get tangled up in stressing about the future, and I find myself viewing life as a check list that I am perpetually behind on. I let people tell me what I should be, what I should worry about, and why it should worry me. I get so caught up in “doing” that I forget about the importance of “being”. I ignore the still, small voice.
So how do I fix this?
How can I get back to finding joy in a world that so often gives me good reason to fear?
Simple: I write it out, I sing it out, and I remember that I am not alone.
My hope and prayer is that you find this “behind the scenes” of a songwriters brain to be a place where you can say “Oh good, I’m glad that I am not the only one who thinks about that”. I will share the stories, thoughts and epiphanies that went into each song, and I would encourage you to share any thoughts you may have on certain topics so that I in turn can breathe a sigh of relief and say, “Oh good, I’m glad that I am not the only one who thinks about that.”
In case you didn’t know, we as humans are designed for community. We are designed to be with each other and for each other. We are designed to march in this parade, and we all have a different instrument to play, each with it’s own unique purpose. At times it does rain on our parade, but we continue to march. At times the high buildings cast shadows, but we continue to march. At times the drums get off beat, but we collect ourselves and we continue to march. At times the trumpets can be a bit too strong, but we dial it down and still we continue to march. And so on and so forth, you get the gist…
All this to say, if you are reading this, then you are a part of all of this, this human race, this simple parade. I am genuinely excited to see what comes of this candid, honest, vulnerable, and authentic music project, and I look forward to hearing what you all have to say as well.
I am not alone, you are not alone. This life is a journey, so may as well make it a parade!
Finally, after a very long blog hiatus, we are going to start this thing up again! There is so much to share (for example, a complete description of our concept album "A Love Story"!), but for now we want to formally invite you to come to our show at Solid Grounds (see "shows" tab for details) to get a sneak peek as to what is coming next for The Simple Parade. See you all there, and I look forward to sharing much more in the months to come! Until next time...
More Details will be coming soon but, until then, here we are almost a year since our last blog post (in Colorado) and we are now posting about how God is moving us out to Colorado...You are just hilarious, God : )
Anywho, Colorado, here we come!
Today was the first day that Justin and I got in the studio to start recording our 4 song EP (coming in the next few months!). Shane, our producer, is awesome and we are stoked to get to work! Life isn't so rough with the incredible view of Downtown Denver, adorable dogs to keep us company and a producer ready to kick some serious folk-pop butt with The Simple Parade. Let the journey begin!
After a beautiful drive to Colorado, we finally made it, thanks to the comedic help of Jim Gaffigan ("Obsession", so hilarious) and John Mullaney ("The Top Part", always so good). Long night of driving, but we made it and are ready for bed! Good night/morning world!
After a delightful and short stay at the beautiful Wynn (so fun!) we took our adventure on the road to Colorado after shooting a little music video ("Telegraph"!)! With a few stops along the way we didn't arrive in Denver until 3:30AM, but oh, the beauty that we discovered was so worth the delay. The Heavens really showed off today. I will say no more and let these pictures say my thousand+ words : )
Zion was breathtaking...then we saw this...
...And then we watched. So much better than a movie! We stayed our here for an hour absolutely mesmerized by the Heavenly show. We would have loved to have stayed longer but the 6 hours left of our drive to Denver was calling. Sometimes life is worth every moment of the detours and delays. Reminding ourselves that we are so small and yet so loved to share in the beauty of moments like these!
Good morning! "To you and you, and you, and you..."! After our first (of 12+) successful (we hope!) acoustic video recordings (spoiler alert, it is Telegraph...you'll just have to wait to see it! Oh, the suspense!), these handsome gentlemen and I took a dip in the pool before departing on our drive on out to Denver.
WARNING: Justin and Trevor are shirtless in the following videos, so PG13 everyone. ; )
Let's start with how we wake-up every morning...
So, we know how to have a good time. Vegas was a quick stop but we made the most of it!
Driving along and enjoying the sights!
Why, hello you beautiful and/or handsome (whatever you are feeling like today) people!
Day 1 of our trip out to Colorado to record 4 of our new songs off our debut album began on Sunday, July 13, 2014 with a game of luggage Jenga that we totally won : ) The picture only allowed our "sexy" luggage to show face...it got real after that. I don't think our CRV could have packed one more thing once we were through loading up, but we got it all in. Small miracle for sure : )
...while Justin was put packing, I found a stack of tip money in a box and Trevor suggested I make it rain (which I totally nailed...you are supposed to do it 5 $1's at a time, right?), so I did then we realized that something magic happened in Slo-Mo.