Claude Hinds and his “WONDER”-ful experience

SCOOP recently spoke with Southwest student and professional musician Claude Hinds about his career success and recent experience with the legendary Stevie Wonder.  

How did you meet or begin working with Wonder?
I met Stevie Wonder here in Memphis, TN while I was working with the Garry Goin band.  Stax legend David Porter was honoring his label mate, William Bell, and Stevie was the guest performer for the evening.

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Stevie Wonder and Claude Hinds.

How did it feel to work with Wonder?
Working with Stevie was first and foremost a dream come true for me because he is one of my all time favorite musicians. We played through some of his hit songs, such as Superstitious, Sign Sealed Delivered and others. To hear him sing those signature notes and play the signature clave sound was heaven on earth for me. His musicality and appreciation for music are on another level; which is to be expected. But, more importantly, for me, it was to see his interaction with people. He’s funny, respectful and has a heart for making the world a better place. A couple of bandmates and I were fortunate enough to spend time with him after the performance. In the midst of all of the laughs and priceless stories, there was some seriousness during our time. Stevie asked us to reflect on a question that I’ll never forget: “As musicians, what can you do with your music today to change the current situation of the world in the future?”     

How did your time at Southwest contribute to your current success?
My time at Southwest was a huge foundation in me becoming the musician that I am today. I was in the Jazz Ensemble with Errol Thomas where I gained valuable information and hands-on experience playing within a band. It was my time spent with Errol that I was able to quickly begin working locally with different musicians and bands. Also while at Southwest, I studied with Dr. Charles Pender as a private piano student. It was because of the great foundation that he instilled in me early on that I am where I am as a pianist and overall as a musician. Dr. Pender taught me how to read music, how to play classical, jazz, and Gospel piano styles and, more importantly, how to be professional. So, yes, time at Southwest was very vital to my current success.

What are you doing now and what’s next?
Currently, I’m a full-time musician, which means wearing multiple hats, and for me that looks like music teacher with Shelby County Schools, church musician, singer/songwriter and producer.  And, I run my own piano studio. I plan to follow in the footsteps of Dr. Pender and continue my education by earning my master’s and doctoral degrees. I also plan on growing my piano studio business, continuing to perform with artists, releasing more of my own music and, most importantly, raising my two wonderful children. And, thanks to (Southwest Associate Director of Student Development) Ronald Claxton, I’m set to graduate from Southwest this May with my associate’s degree in general education through the reverse transfer program.  I transferred from Southwest to The University of Memphis where I graduated with my degree in Jazz and Studio performance.

Hinds latest single “You Are” featuring Brennan Villines and other albums are available on iTunes and other music media outlets.  Search keyword:  “Tres Hinds”