Color & Control:

Striking the Right Chord


Canadian Singer/Songwriter Justin Hines is Making His Mark in Music

Ask Justin Hines how he got into the music business and he won’t miss a

beat before giving an answer. “I don’t remember wanting to do anything else,”

he says. “I’m a very lucky guy. I never had to figure out what I wanted to do.

As a child, I knew I wanted to sing, so I never had to think ‘maybe I’ll try

this.’ It was always music.”


Born in Newmarket, Ontario, Hines grew up loving the music of the

singer/ songwriters from the ’60s and ’70s—artists like Cat Stevens, James

Taylor and Carole King. But his musical influences are varied. “A lot of people

have inspired me and served a purpose at different times,” he explains.


Hines credits his parents for a lot of his early inspiration: his dad

plays guitar and his mom sings. When he was a child, Hines used to spend hours

sitting by his father’s jukebox in the basement, listening to and memorizing



Hines’ parents were extremely supportive of his musical aspirations and encouraged

him in the face of obstacles. Because of a rare genetic joint condition called

Larsen syndrome, which is characterized by congenital dislocation of multiple

joints, Hines uses a motorized wheelchair and his joints can easily dislocate. He’s

the first to tell you that any difficulties have had more to do with things like

accessibility at venues or on airplanes than feeling different or overwhelmed

by his situation.

“As a child, my experiences were a little less traumatic than other

people’s may have been,” he says. “I credit that to having my own personality,

carving my own path and getting to where I wanted to be in life. I was just

Justin. It was just what it was. I saw myself not as different or special. And

I think other people saw that and thought, ‘He’s not making a big deal of it,

why should I?’”

It’s apparent that Hines still doesn’t make a big deal of it. “He has a

way of moving on stage, people don’t even notice he’s in a wheelchair,” says

Justin Abedin, a renowned Canadian producer and musician who has worked with

Hines for seven years. “Even in the studio, he paces!”

Abedin, who produces and plays guitar on Hines’ albums, calls the

singer/songwriter one of his favourite people to work with because he is always

positive and brings his best to every performance. “He lets things roll off

him,” explains Abedin. “He never gets stressed…it just doesn’t faze him.

Justin just wants to capture what happens when we get together in a room and

just start playing.”

Although his love of music was apparent almost from birth, Hines’

musical career really took off at the age of 14 when he beat out thousands of

entrants to win a radio contest to sing the Canadian national anthem at a

Toronto Raptors game. “It was my first exposure to a big audience,” he recalls.

“Before that, it was churches and old folks’ homes. [Singing the anthem] was

good, because I got rid of any stage fright, and everything seemed a bit easier

after that by comparison.”

Hines has gone on to tour all over the world and has released three

well-received albums: Sides, Chasing Silver and the Christmas album Season’s

Greetings. In 2009, within 48 hours of its online release, “Say What You Will,”

his haunting single from Chasing Silver, became the number one downloaded singer/songwriter track

on iTunes. Walmart used his song “Wish You Well” to advertise its Walk for Miracles

on television, and he also sings on the “There’s No Place Like Ontario advertisement

for Tourism Ontario.

“I feel like this is what I’m supposed to be doing in life,” Hines says.

“It’s not always an easy journey, but I’m passionate about it and it’s what I

wake up thinking about. It makes it easier to tackle challenges.”

Touring while making an album at the same time is one of those

challenges, but Hines is taking it on and plans on having his record finished

by the end of the year.

He’s also busy working on an initiative in South Africa with his

charity, the Justin Hines Foundation (, which supports various

organizations and environmental associations around the globe. He has remixed

“Say What You Will” with a South African choir comprised of people with

disabilities. Proceeds from the song and music video will go to various schools

across South Africa.

“I think the whole world needs a hand; we’re all in need of something,

somehow,” says Hines. “I want to spread it out as much as possible, rather than

focus on one specific cause.” Besides his own charity, Hines is involved in

several others and is an active performer at benefit concerts, in order to

raise money and awareness. “Ultimately, I just want to keep going,” he says. “I

hope that 40 years from now, I can still find a way.”

Despite his amazing journey and all of his accomplishments, Hines says

he didn’t get into music expecting to become famous…or even successful. “It has

made me feel incredibly grateful, the way my life has evolved,” he says. “I

always knew it could happen, but I never expected it to or believed it would.

Still, if it all ended tomorrow, that would be okay. It’s been a great ride.”

To learn more, visit

Erin Stringer is a writer/editor based in Vancouver. Her work has

appeared in a number of Canadian and U.S. publications.

Hines was drawn to music at an early age and has already released three albums

Hines was drawn to music at an early age and has already released three albums


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