Even rock stars have to re-invent themselves. For most of us, it happens in mid-life, and the catalyst is usually a crisis: job loss, divorce, illness. For legendary singer-songwriter Dan Hill, it was the death of his father in 2003.
He stopped performing. He wrote a book. I Am My Father’s Son: A Memoir of Love and Forgiveness chronicles his turbulent relationship with his dad, Daniel Grafton Hill III. The senior Hill moved to Canada with his white wife in the ’50s to escape racism in the United States and went on to become Ontario’s first human rights commissioner. He believed the way to a better life for blacks in North America was education and hard work — not instant stardom. Dan pulls no punches in his searing account of growing up with his demanding, combative father. But, ironically, his dad would have approved of the book more than the musical career that brought his son fame and fortune.
Dan worked on the book for three and a half years. His main job is writing songs for stars such as Céline Dion. Now, he wants to get back to the stage. I chatted with him recently when he was in the AM740 radio station’s Concert Lobby for a performance interview. There he was in his stocking feet, singing the never-heard-before original version of his blockbuster hit “Sometimes When We Touch.” There I was, one of only a handful of people in the room. Dan was friendly, self-deprecating and very intense.
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