He started to play guitar, urged by his father, at age 7. "I hated it" Shad says, until he could finally play 'Smoke on the water' by Deep Purple, about a year later. "Then I was hooked". "I could never play anyone else's song". "I wasn't good enough, so I just started to write my own". "That's pretty much how I got started".
Moving from Canada to Los Angeles California, in the summer of 92', at age twenty, took some adjustment, but Shad began plugging away like everyone else, and would soon attract attention to himself as a songwriter, but not yet a singer.
We move ahead to 1995, where as a songwriter/guitarist, Shad found himself signed to Warner Brothers records. It was a short lived opportunity. The band and himself parted company. Thank goodness for the rest of us.
Shad decided at that time to not only write his songs, but to perform and sing them as well. "I was surprised at the positive reaction I was getting from people, I didn't know what to expect - I just ran with it".
I guess you could say Shad had all but disappeared from public life for the next 2 and a half years, that is, until Joey Minkes, a music business veteran, and friend of Shad's, encouraged him, over dinner at the famous Palm restaurant in West Hollywood, to jump back into the music game. "I will forever be grateful to Joey for that" Shad says. "It's hard to find people like that these days, especially in this business".
Hills' non-stop work ethic and all consuming need to create music has resulted in a partnership with Los Angeles based Producers Kevin Anderson and Brian Reeves who, after hearing Shad perform his songs acoustically, signed him immediately to their brand new indie label A&R Records.
"In walks this kid" Brian recalls the first time meeting Shad, "he grabs his acoustic, straps a harmonica around his neck and just starts playing", "it was captivating"
"Being signed to Kevin and Brian's label could not have happened to me at a better time in my life" Shad says, "I have been signed to a major label before, and the care and attention that Kevin and Brian give me at A&R is unbelievable". "It's something I'm not used to. I feel very lucky. I know I am in goods hands there. They make the process of making a record seem almost effortless, because we are having so much fun".
"One thing I have to say about Shad, regarding his upcoming record is, that he is a very prolific songwriter", Kevin says. "Lack of material is definitely NOT a problem" "Brian & I know how important this record is to Shad, as it is to us, and we are certain that, when completed, it will be a body of work that people will find themselves gravitating towards".
The record is currently in the works and has had an array of top performers contribute to the record, such as Kenny Meriedeth, Chris Ralles, and Shad's brother Shane Hills. Shad is currently putting together a band to support the record. The band will undoubtedly include Shane.
"I feel lucky to have a top performer like Shane join me on the road, and be a permanent member of the band". "Shane could be a show of his own" Shad says. "With Shane on the bill, I could leave the room,and people would get their moneys worth", "people who have been lucky enough to catch him live can relate".
As to what Shad listens to, "My influences cover a wide array of artists, my musical tastes have always been eclectic". " I enjoy many, many things about music, but nothing gets to me more than a great song". " That is what I strive to accomplish as a songwriter - A great song!".
All the songs on his highly anticipated debut effort were written in his one bedroom apartment in Burbank, California. "It's got a vibe, what can I say. I wish I could say I write while I watch the sunset, but I live in the real world". A topic on which Shad references to quite often in his songs.
As to what he sounds like, "I'll leave it to the listener" he says. "A little of this, a little of that". "Nothing can replace or compare to the experience of discovering new music on your own". " I believe great music will somehow find it's way to the people - call me crazy - most people do!".
Bucking trends and fervently exploring his own musical territory is, as you can see, paying off handsomely for this young singer/songwriter. " I have never been more happy in my life", Shad tells us.
And as to how the record is coming along so far?, he says, well, my four cats, Knuckles, Versailles, Tint and Cleo all give it five whiskers up. So that can't be bad.
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