Tim Hulsman learnt from an early age how to perform for an audience. He had 18 years personal experience with which to observe how to both captivate and hold people. But he’s spent the last 26 years estranged from the man who taught him… his father.
One of six children raised in a rigidly devout Jehovah’s Witness family, Tim’s father was a respected elder in the JW community, responsible for counselling and advising ‘the flock’ and for ex-communicating members who were deemed to be straying, or worse – to be ‘unrepentant sinners’. Any music other than hymns and religious music was heavily regulated in the Hulsman home. Tim’s paternal uncle was a well-regarded Jazz musician, but with him ‘outside the flock’ it just confirmed Tim’s parents’ belief that music would lead you astray.
At the age of 18, after years of argument and with compromise out of reach, Tim was ex-communicated from his family and JW community over his desire to no longer follow religion, and instead seek a career in music.
“Leaving the J.W’s is still the best decision I’ve ever made in my life.” says Hulsman “Even though there is sadness and loss associated with it, I never look back and regret it for a second. Music is my soul’s purpose on this Earth and I would never have had the freedom to explore it fully if I’d stayed in that cult.”
Fast forward over 2 decades and Tim Hulsman is still whole-heartedly embracing his relationship with music, living his passion for singing and storytelling, his songs exude a defiant passion for self-belief, a disdain for social injustice and a keen sense of survival that has seen him survive the Boxing Day Tsunami 2004, a bushfire, several floods, drug addiction, severe depression…and three months riding a motorbike around India. Plenty of songwriting fodder there.
Tim regularly tours nationally in Australia and appears at music festivals to promote his albums. In July 2014 “Dead Man’s Garden” debuted at 18 on the Australian Blues and Roots Airplay Charts on the back of a full tour schedule, playing 22 live shows and 36 radio interviews and live-to-air performances.
Tim is considered a world-class performer and it was because of all-round skills as a performers and entertainer that he was awarded the Alex Legg Memorial Foundation Scholarship 2015, “for excellence in songwriting, stagecraft and artistic vision.”
In his latest album “GET LOVED!” (2017) Tim explores his roots and reveals more about himself than ever before, somehow bringing together all of his favourite music styles and influences into a fresh, bold new style of his own.
Music industry writer and promoter Stuart Coupe wrote, “Tim Hulsman’s new album GET LOVED! is a superb combination of intense, heartfelt songs and passionate playing with an immediate and captivating delivery. This is an album that will find a welcome home amidst any music collection that includes the likes of Tom Waits, Ry Cooder, Jeff Buckley, Bill Withers, Jeff Lang, The Dirty Three and Paul Kelly. Hulsman is a major emerging talent on the Australian roots/blues/folk/country soul music landscape. Now is the time to grab a seat on the Hulsman train.”
When asked what he album was about Hulsman explained, “I noticed after I had started recording the album that there was a theme running through it, I realised I was trying to discuss the subject of love from a whole bunch of different angles… not just romantic love, but the subject of family, lost love, self love, love of the planet and of material things, home, feelings of being unlovable, the resilience of love…and many other facets. I wanted the title to be a strong positive message about love, and I think that GET LOVED! is a succinct way of saying “you need to love yourself before anyone else can love you.” It feels empowering to me.”
His band the “Tim Hulsman Trio” has been touring the Eastern side of Australia during 2017 with steadily increasing crowds and critical acclaim for their live show. He is very fortunate to have the onstage companionship of veteran drummer Winston Galea and sought-after bassist Craig Kelly. Tim’s soul-drenched vocals, memorable melodies and lively stagecraft make every show a thrill, but it’s through his story-telling & stage banter that he stands out as a true entertainer.
“I just really love telling the stories behind the songs…It’s like the songs are friends of mine and it would be kinda rude not to introduce them to people before playing… for first time listeners at least. When I let people in on the reasons why I wrote the song they feel like they’re on the journey with me. By the time I start singing we all feel connected. The lyrics make sense, the emotional landscape has been set, we’re all in it together.”
When asked “What’s in store next for Tim Hulsman” he glances off into the distance for a moment or two. “I’m never finished with my art… I’ve got a new album on the way, new music videos to finish, a book to write, an exciting collaboration with a visual artist… and I’m always planning new ways reach more people. I think as an Australian artist my big plan is to eventually make it to America, Canada and Europe for touring… in the not-too-distant future.”
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