I am overjoyed to announce the recent signing of a full publishing deal with London based Faber Alt publishing- a division of Faber Music. Check out the full story here
“Wren Hinds is an incredibly talented songwriter who has the rare ability to write excellently crafted songs that already feel like established classics. As soon as we heard his music, we knew he was a perfect fit for Faber Alt. and it’s an absolute pleasure to welcome him to our roster.” - Lucy Holliday (Head of A&R, Faber Alt)
Hailing from the small town of Ramsgate along the tropical east coast of South Africa, singer songwriter and producer, Wren Hinds delivers a lush, textured and honest approach to crafting songs with a reflective lyrical sensibility that communicates deep profundity.
Set between the Indian ocean and the rolling hills of KwaZulu-Natal, Hinds was raised in an artistic household and was greatly influenced by the works of his artist mother, his father and elder brothers who all happen to be musicians, as well as his uncle, a prolific poet and lyricist. It was in this environment that his inclination to music was enhanced and encouraged by his fathers song writing and recording in the ‘family studio’. The beauty and tranquillity of these surrounds combined with a familial synergy were to become an emblematic factor in the creative evolution of Wren Hinds.
The story begins in 1850 where two brothers from London found themselves shipwrecked off the coast of South Africa en route to Australia, instead of pursuing their journey toward the south pacific, the brothers settled and married in South Africa and made the remarkable African landscape their home.
A few generations down the line, Wren’s father, Kevin Hinds begins his music career in Johannesburg in the 1960’s, first as a harmony duo with his brother, under the name The Hinds Brothers. Although this unity lasted only a few years there were remnants of their brief collaboration in the form of live recordings made and archived by David Marks, both in his lounge and at the South Africa Folk Festival. On an LP entitled ‘Cross Section’ the brothers were featured alongside South African greats such as Johnny Clegg, Mike Dickman and the Kitchen Bros.
In the 1970's, during some of South Africa’s most violent and tumultuous years, Kevin Hinds went on to record 5 seven singles for CBS and EMI Records and continued performing as a solo artist, back then, sadly, due to political upheaval, civil unrest and international sanctions, the South African music industry was very closed off from the rest of the world, and it wasn’t easy for a South African artist to get exposure internationally.
A generation later, from 2009, The Hinds Brothers ‘return’ in the form of Wren Hinds and his elder brother Aden Hinds- delivering close, haunting, brotherly harmonies in the tradition of the family bands of old, such as The Carter Family, The Stanley Brothers, The Everly Brothers and the Louvin Brothers (among some of their favourite records they’d listen to as children), and true to this tradition, this new incarnation of The Hinds Brothers continued to make a vibrant contribution to this genre. In 2012, The brothers went on to record and release their very first album, ‘Ocean of Milk’, which, after two years in the making, received a South African Music Award nomination for best adult contemporary album of 2014.
At around the same time, Wren formed a duo with ambient songstress and long time friend, Faye Oakes, and subsequently released two albums, ‘Volume One’ in 2013 and the self-titled ‘Faye and Wren’ in 2018.
From 2012 onwards, Wren Hinds had been building up a steady backlog of solo recordings which never saw the light of day until the first Bandcamp release in the summer of 2018 of ‘Tragedy Hill’, his debut full length solo album- a raw and intricate web of warm vocals, thoughtful lyrics and a simplistic layering of textures made up of the old family piano, an array of his favourite guitars and bowed strings, all recorded at his Durban studio. “Creating a song or a piece of music feels, to me, like the act of surrendering to the unravelling of the unknown, somewhat like painting with sound, it’s an honest and natural process, just witnessing how this creation evolves into the most unexpected beauty and sometimes, chaos.”
In March 2020, while the world slipped into turmoil and uncertainty, Hinds self released his second solo album, ‘A Thousand Hearts’, this time working closely with his uncle and lyricist, Keith Erasmus on two stand out tracks, ‘Sadness in the Wind’, and ‘A Thousand Hearts’. Hinds and Erasmus have developed a writing relationship in similar vein to the ‘Elton John, Bernie Taupin’ approach. ‘A Thousand Hearts’ is a journey of it’s own, with ten gorgeous compositions, again with the simple yet tastefully layered textures all backed by the strength of song writing which was ever so present in his debut solo album.
In September of 2020, Wren Hinds goes on to release his third solo album in the form of a seven track EP, ‘A Child’s Chant for the New Millennium’, a handful of songs recorded in his childhood home, highlighted by yet another noteworthy writing union with Keith Erasmus on the opening three tracks. ‘A Child’s Chant for the New Millennium’ is a title that speaks for itself, the haunting lyrical content tackles everything society is facing in a seemingly upside-down era.
In 2021, Wren Hinds’ solo work caught the attention of record producer and musician Simon Raymonde of Bella Union, and subsequently, the British label has signed a recording deal with the South African songwriter which will encompass the release of all three backlog albums in vinyl format as well as future works by Hinds to be released on the Bella Union label.
In a relatively short career, all the while flying under the radar with a rather low profile, Wren Hinds has proven to be a prolific songwriter, producer and composer, and an artist that is definitely worth keeping an eye on.