Warren Hill June 11
He started to attract attention when, at the age of eight, he arranged an original version of the song “Born Free,” which he played on piano and sang with his younger brother. Their performances were frequently requested at local church services, but it was his big sister who first discovered their talent. Slipping into the house past curfew, she stumbled upon Hill and his little brother singing pitch-perfect harmonies to hits of The Temptations, The Jackson Five, Stevie Wonder and other Motown favorites. Big sis told mom and before long the brothers started performing professionally. They formed a boy band, The Apollo Five, that became popular in the Miami area. Since it was managed by their sister, the band became a family enterprise. To this day, Hill still performs with his singer/saxophonist brother, AJ, in the Latin Grammy-nominated group, The Spam All Stars.“My family had strong values and taught me early to, ‘keep your feet on the ground, even if there is discord around you,’” said Hill.The values passed on by his parents were also motivational to his evolving career. Hill states, “I think that during the post-Civil Rights era there was an increased sense of self-direction and pride among the African American community through music. In many ways, the community functioned as an extended family, helping me develop self-esteem and inner peace.” Flash forward to today and Hill utilizes the power of music to help people reconnect with themselves and their inner child. “Live music allows people to safely experience a full range of emotions, which allows them to find not only inner peace, but a connection to others. It’s impossible to simultaneously feel hostility and turmoil while appreciating a live performance,” said Hill. “Performers who do their jobs right are experts at creating what I call the three Cs: compassion and community through connection.” Using these three principles, Hill has developed dynamic lectures on the topic of “self connection” for Florida International University’s [FIU] sociology department. “Using music as a cathartic backdrop, I believe that what I do can be applied to any dynamic that may foster hostility.”Hill’s other professional achievements include graduate studies at Florida Atlantic University, the University of Miami and FIU. He is also a CPA. After a COVID-19 induced break, The Warren Hill Band will give a live performance outdoors at Blue Jean Blues, 3320 NE 33 St., Fort Lauderdale, on Sunday, Sept. 6 from 6 to 9 pm. Warning: Wear your dancing shoes.