Harold Hill

April/May 1998

Harold HillBecoming a notable personality these days requires more than talent regardless of the chosen field. When that that field is country music, the requirements seem to be even more elaborate, sometimes leaving talent as the final deciding factor, not the main. Country music is ever rising in popularity worldwide. ; The number of fans, radio stations, television, magazines, every form of the media growing higher in numbers on a daily basis. Add to this list the countless number of artists struggling to be heard, to "make it" in what is quickly becoming a "cookie-cutter" business and the results are staggering.

I think by now we've all heard and seen "stars" that, while having notably "made it", leave us wondering "why?" Not for their lack of talent but because we've all heard others who have more innate talent, richness of voice and individuality. Why has so-and-so been able to rise to the top when who's-it is obviously more talented? I won't even pretend to have the answers even though I do have my own opinions. There are too many variables to go into and I'm not here to raise controversy.

Now you're wondering, "Why are you here?" right? My goal in this column is to inform country music fans as well as the industry of those who are struggling to be heard, to "make it". Artists who don't fit the mold of what backers, promoters and recording companies consider a "marketable package" or don't have the capital required to get the proverbial foot in the door. Artists who are real, everyday folks who just also happen to have a dream, and the intestinal fortitude to make that dream a reality. Yes, they also have talent, but as we've already noted, it takes more than talent to get there. I've got countless albums of extremely talented artists. Artists who by all rights, should be sharing that limelight at the top but instead have given up the fight or were lost in the cracks of the Nashville sidewalks.

Harold Hill is one of those rare talents who hasn't made it, yet, but has the stability and belief in himself and his fans to never give up. Born and raised in the Appalachian region of Virginia, his father a dairyman, his mother a housewife, Harold's talents were recognized at an early age.

Since the age of 9, when the church choir director, who took a special interest in Harold's talent, invited him to perform with the adult choir, he has never stopped performing. Having gained recognition in the community through his church, Harold was soon performing 3 nights a week in a local musical production, which drew many tourists to the tiny province of Stone Gap, VA. By age 17, Harold was the star performer, 7 nights a week in the major drawing production on the life of "Red Fox" Taylor, an actual late 1800's resident of the area. Sporting heavy makeup, a red beard and spray painted red hair, he played the part of the legendary preacher, moonshiner, and bootlegger who was purported to be half angel, half devil, thus demonstrating the many facets of Harold's talent.

Harold's determination to learn the trumpet earned him a "working scholarship" to Western Carolina University, in Cullowhee, NC University where he became a DJ for the college radio station. During that time, a new country radio station was emerging in Roanoke, Va. and Harold mailed in his resume, where to his surprise, he landed the job as a leading disk jockey. His hard work and integrity soon led him to the position of station manager/program director. Though Harold loved his job, he needed more in his life. His first love was writing and singing, being the music, not just playing it, so he formed the "Frontier Band".

Over the years, Harold has been on the doorstep of success more than once only to get his foot slammed in that door. He was signed to a recording company, made an album and lost it all when they sold out to another corporation due to financial trouble. The album is out of print, out of circulation and he has no rights whatsoever to his own music from that album. This was not the first of Harold's stumbling blocks, but he was determined to make it the last.

Harold has worked harder than ever to let the world know he exists, his music is better than ever, and he will not be daunted. Aside from his many appearances at Fan Fair, he has been showcased at the ever popular Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, appeared on country TV broadcasts, and has toured the US sharing his music and gaining fans everywhere he goes. Another unique trait in Harold, the man and the artist, is that rather than tout his wares to the industry or seeking right backer to promote him, he has taken his case to the ones who matter most to him, country music fans.

His most unusual success has been in the past year on the internet, where his HH3000 campaign has found him a whole new audience and growing list of supporters. As is the case with most recording companies today, an artist must be able to pay for his recording up front, have heavy financial backing, or go into debt for life in the event that the release doesn't make the top 10 on the first cut. The purpose behind the HH3000 is to gain 3000 members to his fan club, solely on line, to assure his recording label of 3000 sales the moment his CD is cut. "Necessity is the mother of invention" and Harold is as innovative as he is talented. The HH3000 is close to attaining its goal and the CD is in the making.

How does one gain so many believers on the internet? It's not as easy as it sounds. When I first "met" Harold on the net, he had sent me an e-mail inviting me to visit his site and learn more about him. At this point in time he didn't even have a sound file for folks to hear, yet I was so enchanted by his story, his aspirations, and his homespun, down to earth humanistic approach, I believed in him. No, there was no "Svengali" effect, moreover, a sense of purpose presented in the simplest form of pure honesty, that one can't help but believe and trust in this man.

Of course my first reaction was, "Harold, if ya wanna be heard, ya gotta make some noise!" Considering his CD wasn't even in the making yet, he took me to heart and created 2 song clips, which were posted on his site. "She Just Started Likin' Cheatin' Songs", a sample of his honky tonkin' style, and "Perfume", a beautiful country ballad, each give a mere glimpse into the unique sound of Harold Hill. These clips are in Real Audio format and are actually quite rough, considering how the technology has changed in the past year, but nonetheless, demonstrate his true country as well as unique sound. This is not a voice you'll hear on the radio and try to decipher which singer it is. There's no other voice to confuse him with, no others who sound like the distinct chords of Harold Hill. He stands out in his originality and his quality is heard beyond the short, rough cuts of his 2 song clips. This and Harold's rich, honest and fun loving personality have gained him enough ground to attain his goal.

Harold is also deeply involved with the upcoming "Music World" in Louisville, KY; 40,000 square feet of Music and fun indoors, plus an outdoor Superstar Concert Amphitheater. It is still in it's beginning stages and hopes are to have construction completed by the summer of 1999. Harold is not only the Vice-President of Entertainment, he is scheduled to appear on a regular basis for one year from the date of the opening.

Having covered the business/bio side of Harold Hill, I'd like to share with you a more personal insight that I wrote in dedication to the first struggling artist that I ever sought to help on my site.

I'm sure it must sound a bit silly to some folks, but writing about Harold has been the most difficult task I've yet to perform in the creation of this site. I've known Harold almost from the time he first put his site on line and he's become a true and dear friend. You'd think that would make this easier, but somehow it doesn't. My admiration for Harold goes beyond his music. It delves into the part of him that makes his music....his heart and soul. How can I possibly put into words how he has touched my life as well as my heart. Harold is simply Harold. He is so down to earth it amazes me how clearly he sees the stars, knowing they're within the realm of his grasp, without ever losing sight of what's right at hand, what came before and what will be. Harold is a dreamer, but one who knows that dreams become reality through hard work, perseverance and most of all love. His love of life, family and friends is as natural to him as the air he breathes. At the same time, his innate sense of humor brings him to the forefront demonstrating a sharp wit and unshakable zest for happiness, to him and all that come to know him.

Harold is simply Harold. I doubt he'd know how to be anything other than true to himself or those around him. He has a strong sense of purpose, integrity, and faithfulness that makes him a man who will never forget where he came from, who he is, and least of all those who stood beside him on his journey through life.

This is the making of a man such as Harold and the essence of his music reflects all that he is.

To all the new artists that I've hosted and those to come: You should know that you have Harold Hill to thank for the direction that MKOC has taken. It was quite small when he first contacted me promoting his site and it was knowing and believing in Harold that started the cycle of my promotion of new talent here. So when ya'll are thankin' me, which you very generously have, take some time out to thank Harold as well. He's the reason we're all here.

By:Marlene Slater
"My Kind Of Country"

Harold Hill – A Country Music Portrait
HH Online 3000
4815 Trousdale Drive, Suite 349
Nashville, TN 37220

Music World Corporation http://members.aol.com/MusWorld/mw.html
P.O. Box 16010
Louisville, KY 40256
Phone: (502) 569-1965 FAX: (502) 897-5754
Toll Free: 1-800-880-1310
(Harold Hill, Vice-President, Entertainment Division)

The Country Music Gazette
Tel: 01144 (0)1977 556568
Fax: 01144 (0)1977 558137
e-mail: jdenterprises@breathe.co.uk

Visit Harold Hill – HHDigital For More Details

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