Enjoy the Simple Thrills of Your Parade!

Dear Reader,

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…

Hello!

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…

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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.

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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!