Hiram will admit to you that he doesn't understand American culture most of the time. “I was born and raised in Ghana, and they just do things different there. Not better or anything, just different.” Ghana is a country in West Africa near the equator – the home of rhythm and syncopation that attracts musicians from all over the world to study the drumming styles of its many people groups.
“In Ghana, people and relationships are the focus. And this comes out in their music.” His experiences of living in other cultures gives him a rounded outlook on life. “There are positives and negatives of each place I've been to. But it means I can see things from outside the box and appreciate the good with the bad.”
As for his music? Like himself, it's a mixture. “I really love rhythms and beats – I get into arguments with my friend Matt all the time, he's a classical composer and says things have certain time signatures, but I think more in terms of beat patterns, probably due to my drum lessons in Ghana. But I also grew up learning Simon and Garfunkel songs by ear, figuring out picking styles, and highly influenced by classical melodies. So I guess it's kind of a folky/rhythmic sound.”
Played on WJTL/Lancaster, WXPN/Philadelphia, and impressing crowds from Norway and Spain to Richmond and Philadelphia, Hiram's music elicits comparisons to Jack Johnson, Ray LaMontagne, and other singer-songwriters in that vein. Hiram's unique guitar-accompanied singing strikes a chord with listeners who want more. “It's a learning process, really. It took me six years of writing before I played at open mics. Hopefully as I continue to write music, I'm getting better.”
Listen for yourself.
Hiram is now pursuing a PhD in Linguistics, and is currently on fieldwork in northeast India, where he continues to write and record music.