Eric Himan to headline Pride with Soultré SingersWritten by Matt Liasse | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Eric Himan bought a piano from his friend for $100. That piano helped him write the songs for his most recent release “Gracefully.”
“I just sat at it every day and played and played and played,” Himan said.
The Tulsa, Okla.-based singer-songwriter will headline Toledo Pride, performing at 7:35 p.m. Aug. 24 at Promenade Park.
“I really love what [pride festivals] stand for,” he said.
Himan, who is gay, thinks gay artists should headline pride festivals across the country.
“The organizers forget that it’s gay pride and then there’s no one representative on the stage of the community,” Himan said. “I was getting really sad about it.”
Himan said when he went to pride festivals when he was younger, the performer on stage represented the idea that they can be anything they want to be.
“They can be out; you can be vocal and the community puts you on a stage,” Himan said. “You’re like the voice of the community. It’s really important for me that I have that connection.”
Himan said he looks forward to using his voice at this year’s Toledo Pride.
He started playing guitar at age 8 and writing songs when he was 13. In college, Himan played music to entertain himself because he didn’t know anyone. After he joined a fraternity, he began to play in public. Touring the campus bars led to touring the country.
He released his first album in 2000 and has since released a number of others, including “All For Show,” “Resonate,” “Out With The Old” and “Supposed Unknown.”
“Gracefully” is dedicated to the grandmother who raised him, whose name was Grace. She died last August. In the album’s last track, “Gracefully,” Himan says he will see her in heaven. Some lyrics include “I wish I could just tell you all of the things that you’re not here to hear / These 10 months have been the hardest I’ve known / ’Cause you left this world before I was ready to let you go.”
“She always instilled in me to speak my emotions and speak my mind,” Himan said. “She was always supportive of my music and she always told me not to take the easy route out.”
Himan wrote all the record’s lyrics himself and worked to make this album something he was proud of. He began writing songs last October, but the album wasn’t coming together as he wished.
“I’m a very kind of patch-it-up kind of person; just make do [and] get it out there,” Himan said. “But it just wasn’t the quality of what I wanted to put out so I ended up scrapping it.”
Shortly after, Himan got the chance to work with producers at Henson Recording Studios in Los Angeles, where “We Are the World” was recorded.
“It was a very surreal day,” Himan said.
The single he recorded at the studio, “Running,” is available on iTunes. Unfortunately, it was still not what he was looking for.
“I love it and I love what I was doing with it, but at the time and place it just didn’t feel like I could really finish it in LA and it just be the experience that I wanted out of it. It was a very big production, but it also didn’t feel like me.”
Himan said he felt releasing those earlier demos would have been the easy way out his grandmother warned him about before she died.
Himan returned to Tulsa to record. Months later, “Gracefully” was finished.
Himan’s songwriting on the album touches on current events. The song “Waiting for Thunder” is inspired by Malala Yousafzai, the teenaged Pakistani student who was shot by the Taliban for promoting girls’ education.
“That song is about me being inspired by her without even knowing her, hundreds and thousands of miles away,” Himan said.
At Toledo Pride, Himan is looking forward to having a good time, but with a message. He will be joined by backup singers Soultré Singers Tylisha Oliver and Tina Phillips.
Himan is working on a cover medley of hits from this summer to perform at the festival.
Other performers for Toledo Pride include local bands Nine Lives, Noisy Neighbors, The Rivets, Flabongo Nation, Arctic Clam and more, as well as dozens of drag performers.
The full schedule (subject to change) includes:
- 12:30 p.m.: Calvin Green sings the national anthem
- 12:45-1:25 p.m.: Beach and Ferron
- 1:35-2:25 p.m.: Nine Lives
- 2:30-3 p.m.: Leyomie Lashae Asia, Levi Austin, Chanel Alexander, Brit Jones
- 3:05-3:20 p.m.: Johnniemae
- 3:25-3:40 p.m.: Eve Madison, Blake Shooter
- 3:45-4:10 p.m.: Casey “3pm” Clark
- 4:10-5 p.m.: Noisy Neighbors
- 5-5:45 p.m.: The Rivets
- 5:50-6:05 p.m.: Johnniemae
- 6:10-6:25 p.m.: Hershae Chocolate, King Teddy
- 6:30-7:25 p.m.: Flabongo Nation
- 7:35-8:25 p.m.: Eric Himan
- 8:30-10 p.m.: Deja Dellataro, DeAngela “Show” Shannon, National Holiday, Tequila Mockingbird, Amber Stone, Justyce Sinclaire, Dane Jaboe, Ari Capri, London Asia, MaKayla Sinclair Styles, Bois w/ Outskirts
- 10:10-11 p.m.: Arctic Clam
- 11:05 p.m. to midnight: Glamora, Feleciana Thunderpussy, Brook Lockhart, Rebecca Richards, Spacee Kadett, Farrah CT, Rya Chiffon Sinclaire, Empress Fontaine, DeAngela “Show” Shannon