Eric Himan's latest album’s journey started with a very supportive crowd sourcing PledgeMusic campaign. "It made me want to deliver the best album possible, of course," the out musician explains. He started recording it twice, but he felt neither were quite right. "So I came back to Tulsa and let all the pressure go and start from scratch. When I took the pressure off of myself, things started to fall into place in a better way than I could have imagined." The new techniques and sounds inspired the folk-influenced Himan to make an R&B-inflected album, titled Gracefully, that's available now. We caught up with him to ask him how it turned out.
Out: Where’s the album title from?
Eric Himan: When I started raising funds for the new album, I had just lost my Grandma Grace—on my honeymoon. She was the woman who raised me and was the artist of the family. She taught me so much and I felt the album also had a lot of her in it. I named it Gracefully after Grandma. She is actually the image on the cover of the CD! And the process of making it taught me to be more graceful.
You seem to be happy, you and your husband. When you write a song about a lover proverbially kicked in the guy (“Red Hot Tears”) where do you conjure the song from?
I am very happy with my husband—we’ve been together eight years and will have our one year wedding anniversary in August—but relationships all have their moments and you work through those times together. I just happen to turn them into songs. Ha! It is very therapeutic for me to communicate through song and some songs are very personal about our relationship. Some, however, like “Red Hot Tears” are more about incorporating the stories of those close to me.
I detect a little R&B on “Red Hot Tears.” And a little gospel too on other tracks. What drew you to those sounds to tell these stories?
I am so proud of this album because there is a strong R&B/soul influence. I feel like I always wanted to make a record like this that had this tone, but always surrounded myself with more rock music/musicians. This album features some amazing talent from my backup singers, Tylisha Oliver and Tina Phillips, to my drummer (borrowed from Leon Russell’s band), Brandon Holder, the melodic bass playing of Matt Hayes, B3 Hammond organ by Brian Lee, and the first CD of mine to ever feature a horn section arranged by Tulsa’s own Ryan Tedder. Throw in my love of Etta James, Earth Wind and Fire, and Bill Withers, and you will get the tone of Gracefully.
What did crowd-funding do for your ability to make the album you had in mind? Was there a significant difference?
I am so grateful for crowd funding and those who pledged to my campaign. They gave me the financial freedom and patience to take my time, afford to hire the right people to express these songs of mine, and gave me the support in excitement to make something that not only I was proud of but they were would be proud of too.
Eric Himan’s album, Gracefully, is available now.