We had the good fortune of connecting with Julio Hanson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Julio, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
The easy answer is that my father was a classical pianist, and my mother was a classical singer. I have always been around the arts. Much of my childhood is a blur, but what is clear is the first time that I sang in my father’s church next to my mother. The song was, There’s Something About That Name. I still sing it today, and occasionally, when I perform, I will ask my mother to join me on stage. But that early memory of singing in front of people has always stuck with me. I have four other brothers, but my parents saw that I had a little something extra special in the talent category (wink wink). In all seriousness, Now, for the harder answer…I have grown through the struggles of being open to my artistry so that I can be a better artist, I have cried because I felt I wasn’t good enough (in my head) as someone else, and I have hated (strong word, yes), as well as, loved this gift that I was given. But in the end, I believe that I have found purpose in being an artist. It has taken me a few decades to figure that out, but I can firmly and finally scream, I Am Creative. I worked a 9 to 5 and did many odd things to survive and make money to provide for myself and my family. And I don’t regret doing what I did with the information I had at the time. However, I will always return back to music, acting, and dance to fulfill me and complete me.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I have been a singer, actor, and dancer from the time that I can remember singing in church next to my mom, to the days I sang background for Toni Braxton, Keith Washington, and others. When I first started, I toggled back and forth regarding my style of singing and my audience. I didn’t focus on making good music. I tried to make music that I thought people would like. But I realized, after many studio sessions, and wardrobe changes, that I put myself through a lot of stress. I’m so happy that today, I can enjoy giving my talent to others. I appreciate where I am in my artistry and give myself a break when I fall short. The only thing I wish I had held onto was my father’s gift as a pianist. I almost wish that when he passed, that it would just transfer into me. But I realized that I actually had to practice. So I practiced just enough to start playing for the choir I directed. Playing for the choir and directing was a little sad-masochistic on my part because I knew I wasn’t as good as I should have been, but I kept at it. All in all, I learned that when people say you should enjoy the journey, that’s for real. Many of my greatest experiences from dancing in a Prince video to traveling as a background singer for Toni Braxton, performing on stage in the Philippines, acting in a television series in Miami, and dancing traditional Panamanian Congo tend to feel a bit distant. Today I want to put my hands down in the earth of everything that I do so that I never forget the feeling.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
First, I would say that Los Angeles is a crazy place, but once you experience it, you will never want to leave. We have the best weather, and you can go to the beach, the snow, and even cross the border in one day. I think, culturally, things are continually and rapidly changing, especially in my hometown Inglewood. However, I guess Inglewood will regain its true glory with the new SoFi stadium and surroundings in a couple of years. For now, the first destination is Venice Beach. If you want character and “different,” you will find it there. From the drum circles to the street vendors, to the Skater park, you could spend hours there or start walking in either direction to Santa Monica Pier or the Marina. I love being this close to the coast. Food is always plentiful. There are some Mexican hidden gems and restaurants in Little Ethiopia that I might introduce to someone. For a little higher-end, of course, there is always Beverly Hills, Century City, or The Grove for a different experience.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I dedicate my shoutout to my family. For some people, family equates to pain, mistrust, confusion, hurt, or stress. And I won’t say that we have not experienced a little bit of that. My family isn’t perfect. Everyone wasn’t at every event nor every performance. However, I feel blessed to say that my father, who passed away from complications with MS, and my mother, who cared for him for over 20 years, kept me balanced and grounded. I was a pistol when I was younger; A temperamental hot-head, insecure sore-loser. But, my parents kept all of us centered through all of the emotional, financial, and medical warfare we went through. Through it all, I developed a pretty high tolerance for pressure. I have also been graced with select friends that we have mutual respect and admiration. I have learned to be a more compassionate, open-minded, and giving person from them.
Facebook: Julio Hanson
Youtube: Julio Hanson aka Jahchild
Tristan Sizik (Urban Network Photographer) I have credit on the other pictures