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Meet Hale Baskin of Hale Baskin Entertainment in Denton

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hale Baskin.

Hale, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My dad was a musician and music was a big part of my upbringing. I was fortunate to have mind-blowingly supportive parents who helped to cultivate my love of music and wouldn’t let me quit. I would get in my own way often and to some degree I still struggle with that.

I have always performed and sang, as long as I can remember. I was kinda pushed into music competitions growing up and I won a few pretty big awards, but realized I’m not really into competitive art-making.

At 18, I bailed on the pre-veterinary science track at UC Davis to move in with my band leader/boyfriend at the time (rookie move). But ultimately he’s the reason I ended up here in Texas. In 2010, I moved to Denton from San Francisco to study Jazz at UNT and haven’t really looked back since. I’m in love with Denton and have grown so much in the years I’ve spent here — both personally and as an artist.

Has it been a smooth road?
My folks were quintessential stage parents and I fought with them a LOT. At a certain point, I really had to do some soul-searching to decide if I was playing music for myself or for them. Like any teenager, I felt a lot of resentment toward feeling forced to do *anything*, so it was hard to tell where that ended and an actual love of music began. That rebellious streak is still alive and well. It gives me a little trouble sometimes.

Of course, I struggle with normal artist stuff. Am I good enough, why am I not better, do I even deserve to do this, why am I broke, etc. That’s not ready even the hardest part.

The biggest thing lately is having to decide when and how to speak up about the social ills in our music scene. Shedding light on predatory men, bigots or even just shady booking agents comes at a price to the speaker… and it can get heavy.

Luckily, I have an incredibly strong support system of friends and family who are always there to have my back or to keep me in check when I get a little… uh, extra.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I have been leading and booking my own bands for about 10 years now and just incorporated into Hale Baskin Entertainment this year. I figured it was time to be growed up.

The two projects I run now are called Jazz Addiction (jazz, clearly) and The Southpaw Preachers (blues, funk, soul, contemporary Motown). We basically play anywhere that pays bands, which includes lots of public venues in Deep Ellum and around the Metroplex but also private parties. Between that, we stay pretty busy.

As far as the things that sets my company apart, I have this “crazy” policy where I make sure the band is treated as well as the guests at any given performance. Partly because of this, band morale is always high and the audience feeds off that! There’s also the added benefit of being able to choose really, really, REALLY good musicians for the group. The folks I play with now are incredibly talented, hard working and also top-notch humans. We have a policy of flexibility which ensures we never have drama with venues or really anyone else. I think being exceptionally easy to work with is unusual in this industry. 😂😂

The Southpaw Preachers is a little unusual because yeah, we play some really unique original music but our favorite “thing” is taking a song we already all know and love and re-orchestrating our cover version in an unexpected and updated way. Add slightly fancier chord changes, horn parts, some rhythmic hits and a different intro/outdo and it’s almost a completely different song. The fun trick of it is that you have to deliver a kickass enough arrangement that the listener doesn’t hate you for completely fucking with their expectations of a song they probably grew up with. Colin Campbell, our keys player/music director, does the majority of the arranging and he’s a funky motherfucker. Ask anybody.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I love the Dallas for being a working musician! There is enough work to sustain yourself, which can’t be said in every city. Oddly, I also feel people here are actually more supportive of the local music scene than back in San Francisco. I would definitely recommend that musicians move here but I saw pretty quickly that you have to pay respect the local traditions and institutions. Do your homework. Don’t come here with an ego. Learn what Dallas sounds like.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

First and third photo: Parker Moore
Chris Brennan

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