Mike’s found his happy place
Three days after picking up his first ukulele, entertainer Mike Hind declared to his wife: ‘This is what I am doing for the rest of my life’.
Three years on, he is still performing his “funny, irreverent and spontaneous” ukulele routine four nights a week, with Fairmont Southampton.
Mr Hind, who goes by the stage name ‘Uncle Elvis’, has recently taken his music career to the next level by completing a five-song mini album.
The Royal Gazette: “I wanted to start writing some of my own music, and was trying to get the fuzziness in my head out, and to honest I just wanted to have a CD.
“Even if this is the only music I write, which it wont be because it was too much fun, I wanted to get it done.”
Felix Tod, a producer and the husband of local musician Heather Nova, offered to help Mr Hind out by lending him equipment, and generously letting him use his studio.
With additional help from drummer Spencer Wood, banjo player Justin Faria and singer/songwriter Joy T. Barnum, Mr Hind was able to release his album called ‘This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things!’.
Musicians don’t traditionally make a living with music, but do it for the love of their craft, he said. The title relates to that.
The project was funded solely through donations by friends and fans through crowdfunding website IndieGoGo.
He said the album came out better than he dreamed it could, thanks to the expertise of Mr Tod. The pop/folk songs, feature some original tunes, including one he wrote for his wife, Christine, called ‘Instant Coffee’.
A fun and catchy love song, one refrain says: ‘You’re the sugar in my coffee, I’m the bitter to your sweet’.
Another song, co-written by Ms Barnum, is called ‘Comic Boy Hero’. It tells of a lesson many men learn the hard way, when they try and be their lover’s hero.
“Your instant reaction is to give advice and help and say ‘I’m going to save you’ and that reaction has been correct exactly zero times in the history of human kind,” he said.
“It’s about a girl telling a guy her problem and he wants to save her, but she doesn’t need a superman. She just needs him to be Clarke Kent and just love her.”
Mr Hind has experienced other career milestones this year. He had the chance to visit the Ukulele World Congress; and also take part in a three-week US tour, with a band he met online called the Flea Bitten Dawgs.
The musician was first inspired to pick up the ukulele after seeing family friend, Barbara Cooper, playing when he was still a youngster. “I have been in love with it ever since,” he said, “but it wasn’t until three and a half years ago that I decided to buy one.”
He immediately became hooked on the “happy and wonderful little instrument” and said it has brought a lot of smiles into his life.
“Being able to make music is my joy and really does make everything better,” he said, “and the fact that I get to do it for a living, is just ‘Oh my goodness, how lucky am I?’
“The ukulele allows me to be happier more often and I try to work that into my shows when I am playing, being joyful and trying to share that with everyone.
“I want the audience to just be happy by the end of it,” he said.
Mr Hind started off singing with bands when he was in his 20s, including the Kennel Boys, when needed. He took a hiatus from performing in 2004, but was inspired to get back into it three years later when he was cast in a Gilbert & Sullivan Society production of ‘The Full Monty’.
“Then when I started playing the ukulele, I thought I could go back to doing what I love, which is performing,” he explained.
“It’s so much fun to get up in front of people and talk and make them smile, have fun and laugh. I had forgotten how much fun it was.”
When the local economy took a turn for the worse, Mr Hind realised he needed another source of income outside of his regular day job.
“Instead of finding the elusive ‘real job’, I spent four months and about six or seven hours a day, trying to become a professional musician, or at least an unprofessional one,” he said.
He taught himself to play the ukulele after researching on the internet, and with the support of an online community of musicians, called Ukuleleunderground.com.
The friendships he has built through the website led to the opportunity to tour with the ‘Flea Bitten Dawgs’. The groups are planning to launch another tour next winter, Mr Hind said.
People can catch his live performance at Cabana’s Sunset Barbecue on Tuesdays from 6.30pm; at the Ocean Club Terrace Bar’s Happy Hour on Wednesdays from 3pm until 6pm; or ‘The Dock’ at The Waterlot on Friday and Sunday evenings from 5pm until 10pm.
His mini-album, This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things!, is available on iTunes for $5; and through uncleelvis.bandcamp.com for $7.