Jerry grew up singing and playing piano in churches and choirs in the deep south – particularly Memphis. Often, he was accompanied by his father (an accomplished guitarist) and his four sisters, a melodic quartet. When he reached adulthood, he spent 24 years living and gigging on the road from Memphis’ Beale Street and night clubs and music spots around the area to playing piano in bands at parties and weddings in the Santa Monica, Hollywood, and Ventura areas of Los Angeles, all though the Midwest USA and in Toronto. Jerry settled in East Yorkshire, England UK in 2002. Certainly, life’s experiences mixed with his idyllic English countryside present surroundings continue to serve as strong inspiration. Now having time to reflect life, his fresh newfound creativity seems endless and can certainly be found in his style of writing recently. Jerry has never been more prolific in his entire life as within the last mere 3 years having produced in excess of 300 songs and he says, “They keep coming!” Jerry Hull has been actively involved in music for almost half a century.”
How do you classify your music?
Entirely original, never a cover, unpredictable, intriguing, infectious, humanistic, historical and includes imaginative and factual storytelling containing nostalgia. It is piano driven and accompanied by soaring vocals along with various instrumentation. My music takes the listener on a roller coaster ride of emotions; evoking the saddest, most memorable, wistful, and impressionable moments, to zany and extremely happy fun-filled uplifting moments! It harks back to the popular sound and style from the 60’s ,70’s and dabbles with film noir of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s all with a modern twist of imagination. My music encompasses genres such as: pop, rock, blues, boogie woogie, The Memphis Sound, Americana, gospel, country, medieval, jazz, ragtime, orchestral, and romantic love ballads–but my mainstay tends to be pop/rock/blues and ballads.
“Singer, pianist, songwriter, and arranger” – that’s quite extensive. We’d like to talk about your acquisition of these skills – the development of your gifts. Do you consider them gifts or skills and tell us how and why you got started.”
Most definitely both. Gifts because they were passed down to me from my late father as he was an excellent guitarist, vocalist, and song writer and his parents before him, so it’s obviously in the genes and skills because, I took an interest in what I knew I had at an early age 5 or 6 and of course it was encouraged from my musical family which included a gospel quartet of 4 sisters (2 sets of twins not identical) that my Dad accompanied. So, from there, I honed in on these abilities and found what I was good at and what I wasn’t. For example, I tried the guitar, the snare drum and trumpet and they did not take. But after hearing Elton John at 13 (very impressionable age), my musical idol and mentor, I knew the piano was what I wanted to pursue and luckily, I found I was quite good at it after being enrolled at classes with a local teacher who had a small studio and taught a small class of roughly 8 to 10 students at a time. As I picked up the techniques and music theory rather quickly and efficiently I knew then I was going to be good at the piano. Within the first year I started in a classroom with children very much younger then me around 6 or 7 and then found myself progress to classes with experienced senior adults around 60 or more! At 13, I remember that made me feel funny, but I began to suspect and realize why. I took a keen interest very quickly the formation of notes and chords, their actions, their behaviors and relationship to staff. Around that time, I became fascinated with classical music especially Mozart and have been influenced by classical music since. And with Elton having his classical background and the style you can hear in his music along with so many others, it makes since I would be similar in my musical interests and style today. A lot of the music I create today has some sort or bearing or foundation that’s classical.
“You mention that you’ve made over 300 songs. For someone with your gifts and talents, do you think that’s a lot?”
Yes, I do think that’s a lot! But, compared to the fact that as of this very moment as I am typing this, I am inspired to write 2 or 3 different songs! So, I consider myself very lucky and fortunate that mother nature would so graciously grant me these so abundantly. I never take that for granted and am always thankful because I fear that if I am not, then it will be taken away from me! But, I must say, they keep coming and I am not complaining! So I suppose 300 will become 400 soon. But it’s not so much the number to me as that’s just an accumulation of my goodies or children as I call them. I learned from the beginning that I cannot try and grab and develop all of those that pass through my head because I used to do that and found I could not physically complete all of them and in the end got nowhere except with bits and pieces. So now, I only choose the ones that my heart really desires pursuing and stay focused on capturing its essence. Those are the ones that come the most natural and sound and feel the best emotionally. Then I have these I call “concept songs” where I think of an idea, like maybe a tribute to a childhood hero, or perhaps a place I used to go to when I was a kid and life all started. Or maybe a historical figure I have always love or find very inspiring. They can all be very inspiring and fuel your storytelling and emotion to the max. I love doing those. I love doing all of them. Without music and the ability to do what I do, I would surly perish. Thank God, I have it.
“Do you have a set life goal for the number of songs that you will leave behind for humanity, or do you just deal with what comes through you? “
No, not at all really, just want to leave the earth leaving behind as many songs as I can muster and being the prolific maniac, I am, (so, I’ve been told) I don’t find that’s going to be a problem ever! I deal with what comes through me and am thankful every day for it. However, I am not getting any younger and maybe that’s part of the reason why this has been happening to me the last 3 years—this great creative spurt. That and this release of an accumulation of life’s experiences and the inspiration from new found love and new found peaceful surroundings…maturity. I only know that if I have touched someone’s heart in some way, form or fashion whether happy or sad, I know I have done my job properly. And I want to perform and produce as many great pieces as I can before I am too old to do so. So for me that fear is always there! Maybe, midlife crises, maybe just trying to do what I was never mature enough or cared enough or too busy on the road to do and that’s write music until now.
“Is there an overall central theme that you focus on when you write lyrics?”
Yes. If its inspired from a gift given to me from mother nature at 3 am or sometime late at night or early morning or sometimes in the middle of developing a new song, then usually the words and music comes in one big rush that I have to try and capture all at once. The thought from the inspiration usually becomes the central theme and repeating title in the song otherwise it’s implied. On the other hand, if inspired as a concept, I research information about the subject matter to give me better insight to the topic I have a love and interest for which in turn fuels the inspiration and imagination. Every time, when I take these approaches, the words pour out quickly as if someone turned on a rushing tap!
Do you write and produce for others and who are some of the artists that you’ve written for and how did you come in contact with them?
Very seldom as I have so much of my own work I have no time for it. But if the right artist came along at the right time I would get involved. I also have been asked many times would I be interested in becoming a radio DJ and don’t have time for that as well. I have done the odd one or two and co-hosted and hosted a few:
But, you see, most all my time is focused on my music. I have been approached recently (September 2017) by an author who wrote a 50’s film noir drama novel and she owns an arts and entertainment website blog that features artists like myself and that’s how we met. Her assistant, Dilly Briggs interviewed me last June and its on YouTube here
Its called the Subject Press. This author, my good friend, Ms. Sasha George and co-author Daniel Caine wrote the novel, THE MAN IN THE OTHER ROOM. Through listening to my music, Sasha knew I loved film noir and the fact I have done some film noir 1930’s 40’s 50’s style jazzy blues songs and came to me asking would I be interested in composing the theme song to the book, which I thought was a splendid idea. So, I agreed and produced a song that’s jazz blues rock film noir style complete with sound effects. It’s titled the same as the book. The song is available here for now and will later be on my next album (6th) next year around March.
The song is here: https://www.reverbnation.com/jerryhull/song/28535233-man-in-other-room2017-by-jerry
The book is here https://www.amazon.com/dp/197805436X.
Do you do other work or is music your full-time thing?
Music is my full-time thing, although from time to time, I also provide architectural and structural design drafting services to various clients on a part time basis as well as tend to my garden.
Do you work in the comfort and control of your own studio?
Yes, my home studio in Kingston Upon Hull in Yorkshire in the UK. I call it JERRY HULL PRODUCTIONS, INC.
Who does the drums and other instrumentation? Do other musicians work with you in your studio?
I create all the instrumentation you hear in all my music through my piano.
I create my own original voicing on the piano in MIDI using only the finest, highest quality, and most realistic instrument sampling software along with some very strong PC power which utilizes a variety of professional musician’s instrument’s individual notes engineered and recorded with studio placed mics which I then sample through the playing of my piano. I create all the harmony and melody notes placement, the arrangement of the music piece along with the placement and arrangement of instrument choice. I do this by way of my experience with playing the piano for nearly 42 years now along with my mind and ear drawing from the inspiration that started it in the first place! For example, among various instruments at my disposal, such as brass, guitars, woodwinds, pianos, percussion, I use a bit of equipment which actually have notes sampled from the MGM scoring stage of Los Angeles symphonic orchestra’s instruments! Never ceases to amaze me. So, when I choose to arrange a song with say a violin section to happen at a part of my song, I play the notes I desire and record it in my digital audio workshop using my ear for placement and sound approval. Same goes with drumming, when I have a particular musical phrase that’s in my head I want to voice it, I key in the run using my ear and mind to match it. So, I am all the musicians! Primarily the pianist.
You spent years doing gigs and touring. Though you said it was exhausting, doing that kind of work usually does something for artists – we gain something internally. What did it do for you and do you miss that life style at all – even a tiny bit?
Well, obviously it did play a huge part in me gaining some stage experience and build up my confidence-which every kid needs starting out. The more you do, the more it becomes natural, the better you get, the better you are received and even addictive. And of course, you learn from your mistakes, which is just part of life. But what the touring did for me more than anything was help me to experience life to the fullest! I’d say probably more than most would want at the time! And those experiences along with my relentless creative sprit have brought me to full circle at where I am at now. Content, time to reflect and a great desire to produce from all those times bottled up for so many years! It was all a time and place for those formative years, good and bad, learning times. Yes, of course I miss it and have even thought of possibly doing a surprise show back in Memphis with all my old mates some day! Who knows, it might happen! But, for now, I am quite happy with the way everything is.
You are totally focused on writing, composing and arranging at the present time. What else is there for you to do? Marketing? Performing?
I am always marketing, promoting and that never stops. I have to maintain a presence. I am constantly doing radio broadcast of some form or another whether it be an airing or a live interview or review. I have been thinking about possibly doing a skyped show from an old church at night here. But for now, I want to keep churning out as many songs and albums as I desire to and usually take time out to walk the beautiful English countryside here with my loved one. There is an old abandoned railway nature reserve we frequent quite often and has had such a profound effect on me, I wrote a song about it called “The Train Coach Ghost Of Kiplingcotes” Picnics, playing with my cat, and travelling to York back and forth to visit. I usually love to walk along the beaches here along the River Humber and over at Spurn Point. I ride my bicycle up to old lighthouses from WW2 and explore them. Then, I sometimes like to make homemade Mexican food. My favorite.
In your mind, how does everything come together – your life, your music? What will you be looking back on in say five years?
An additional 10 albums. Some local recognition. More internet recognition and presence. More different approaches and experiments. More musical unpredictability but with expectations fulfilled, as I don’t like doing the same thing all the time. I’ll happily continue creating always as it’s in my heart and soul.