About Justin Hines
There’s a moment in every artist’s life when he knows that music is not only his path, but also his destiny. Even though Justin Hines grew up singing in church at his grandmother’s behest, his realization came at the most unlikely of places— at a Toronto Raptors’ basketball game in front of thousands, 15 years ago.
A then-14-year old Hines won a vocal competition to sing the Canadian and U.S National Anthems at the game and his world opened up before him. “In that moment, it all seemed possible,” he recalls. “That performance eliminated any stage fright.” Thrown in the deep end, Hines, who has performed professionally ever since, realized he could not only survive, but thrive.
But then again, Hines has thrived all his life against odds that would daunt someone with a less indomitable spirit. Hines has Larsen Syndrome, a joint dislocation condition that has him permanently using a wheelchair. “The reality is I don’t really look at my situation as that big a deal,” he says. “We all have things that challenge us, just some people’s are a little more visible in the forefront. Mine is very apparent, whereas others wear it on the inside.”
Hines has performed across the globe, throughout Europe, China, the Middle East and North America. He performed at the Beijing Olympics supported by Sheila E, the Vancouver Olympics and the Pan Am Games in Mexico. Although he admits his condition has provided challenges, he primarily sees the good it has brought him and the inspiration he can provide others. “There have been so many blessings. It’s afforded me so many other opportunities. It’s a bit of an attention grabber,” he says about his chair, “But my job is to keep people interested and keep their attention with my music.”
That natural optimism permeates much of his American debut, “Days to Recall,” the singer/songwriter’s collection of heartfelt songs about life and love. “I don’t want to pretend that dark times don’t exist, but I have a hard time leaving things negative,” he says. “I think every challenging situation leads to something better. When I’m writing I don’t do it consciously in the songs, it’s just how they evolve.”
The release of “Days To Recall” coincided with a PBS special of Hines in concert taped at Toronto’s Royal Cinema with special guests Ron Sexsmith, Natalie MacMaster, Donnell Leahy, Sierra Noble and the Canadian Tenors. The special has had over 400 airings across North America to date.
Hines also appeared in a CBS Sunday Morning feature, which aired December 2011 and received an abundance of positive responses nationwide.