Tell us about yourself and your music
Well – I was your above average Architect minding his own business and designing hospitals, office buildings, and residential schemes- and enjoying it. Until 4 or so years ago I had a lifechanging bolt that started with an ordinary investment in a music school just adjacent to my office. So now and again I’d pop to check on how the teachers were doing and find myself on the piano at lunchtime and then all the free time I could. At this point, I was challenged to take my next grade of classical piano exams that I had last done over two and a half decades before. And as the mastery came back so did new tunes and songs and the rest is history as they say.
I have sometimes struggled to box my music to a specific genre beyond stating its always contemporary praise and worship with direct biblical lyrics. For instance, ‘Sing to the Lord’ is somewhat soft-rock with a touch of RNB, and a little gospel is woven in. The music will lean towards one or the other of these sub-genres in different songs. I try to keep the harmonies simple, with a memorable hook that hopefully catches and teaches you something every time you sing it.
Talk to us more about your latest release
I was seated in the living room with my elder son looking on noisily strumming my black guitar. And there dropped the melody of what I thought was a beautiful song. And you never want to forget a tune so I hit the record button on my phone
And that’s when my frustrations began.
I was quickly ably to write the lyrics of the song taken from Psalms 96:1-4. But my producer was off the tracks and out with the declare his glory song leaving out what I thought was half the song.
“It’s too long! The rest must become another song.”
And so ‘Declare His Glory’ divorced its twin ‘Sing to the Lord’ and had to wait another year to be born!
But the wait has been worthwhile as only the key remains the same and ‘Sing to the Lord’ evolved into a much more lively upbeat song.
What inspired you to write this release?
Allow me to repeat a story I’ve told again and again. Back in college as I was learning Architecture I was a member of our Christian fellowship we called MCCU. And as once in a while, I’d get a chance to lead worship I had the habit of saying Hallelujah a lot. And that’s how I got my nickname ‘Brother Hallelujah’.
When I started my singing career I thought that Brother H might be a cool name but upon my first release, I realized that there is at least one other Brother H and our discography kept on being mixed up.
To solve this I fell back to my social media tag/handle I’d been using @brotherh963. The numbers were initially chosen, by what I’d imagine was my bored assistant – ‘just-pick-the-numbers-on-the-right-of-your-keyboard-thing’ -when Facebook is looking for a unique name.
Brother H-963 as I suddenly became started wondering how to answer that question. Why 963? So in addition to this long rumble –I thought to check all the bible verses that were ‘963’ As it turned out- there is only one.
Psalms 96:3 says to ‘Declare His glory among the Nations.’
And so when the twin tunes for ‘Sing to the Lord’ in Psalms 96:1-2 and ‘Declare His Glory’ dropped that afternoon in the living room I found the two songs that encapsulate my life mission.
And that is the longhand story that inspired my ‘Sing to the Lord’ song.
Any plans to release a video?
Any plans to hit the road?
The current pandemic has put a dent on all 2020 travel plans. Brother H-963 promises a virtual event. Keep up to date on www.brotherh963.com
As an indie artist, how do you brand yourself and your music to stand out from the rest of the artists out there?
I’d like to be known as an authentic Christian, transparent through my funny name and reeking-sweet fragrance that speaks of Jesus. There is a tonne of Indie Music out there, but song after song, I’d like to make a sound that expresses the song, not so much bound by the limits of genre, but by the feeling and message I’d like the music to convey.
I would also like my wholeness to come through whether as an author, music teacher, Architect family-man, and Mentor. All these things I hope would make you see me simply as your brother.
Who have you been listening to lately?
‘This is my Worship‘ by Phil Thompson is a song that is ringing within me in this season. It’s amazing in the face of so much pain, death, and grief that we can still find the faith to sing “I will not be silent! No. I will always worship you.”
Two other wonderful pieces though very different come to mind.
The first is Elevation worship’s ‘Do it Again‘ that speaks about walking drudgingly around the daunting and tauntingly-thick Jericho walls that I expected to have fallen by now. This song reminds me that God will yet honor our confidence in Him – as he has not failed us yet. And He will yet do it again.
The third piece is ‘Take 5‘ a 1959 Jazz Classic by Paul Desmond that appeared in Dave Brubecks Quartet’s LP ‘Time out’. It’s amazing polishing my acoustic guitar skills on this piece – Work in progress especially on the semi-quavers. Very enjoyable work indeed.
Who are your biggest influences?
Brother H-963 takes time to teach guitar and Piano. Many of these students are elementary students working to do different classical pieces for graded ABRSM exams. The syllabus of these pieces draws from popular classical pieces as well as Jazz favorites. Much of ‘Brother H-963’ tunes are in some way or other influenced by this music blended with contemporary praise and worship music.
Tell us about your passions
I love my Savior, Jesus.
I love My sweetheart and Life partner Rachel
Nothing would be more meaningful than being the ‘model Dad’ I hope I am, to my basket of three chaps.
On a great day, I seat at a table, work out building details, and eventually execute them and watch the wonder of what each line means especially when what I meant it to be becomes realized in built-form.
Sometimes I write. I am a published author – and will be writing more. The last book is a sight-reading book’ Andrews’ sight-reading method’
I do enjoy tinkering with the guitar and piano
And singing bowed in worship- lost in adoring surrender to a LORD who would die for me.
And I speak of him- passionately.
Yes, I love my Savior, Jesus.
What else is happening next in your world?
Its been a year since my last ‘Christian’ release. I see this frequency changing. More covers and collaborations are coming up. If I get a moment I will expand my music teaching book series. And A=a few exciting buildings are being designed awaiting mortar and money to reveal their art. Watch this space. It’s going to get noisy.
Thanks for an awesome interview, Brother H-963
Connect with Brother H-963
Website: http://www.brotherh963.com/Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brotherh963/?modal=admin_todo_tourInstagram: https://www.instagram.com/brotherh963/Twitter: https://twitter.com/brotherh963LastFM: https://last.fm/user/brotherh963Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whLDEhxzlpUSoundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/brotherh963