Billie Jean – Ukulele cover by James Hill

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English: Michael Jackson, "Billie Jean".

Michael Jackson, “Billie Jean”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ukulele virtuoso James Hill performs a very impressive cover of the big Michael Jackson hit, “Billie Jean.”

James Hill's Beltona lap steel ukulele Instruments

James Hill’s Beltona lap steel ukulele (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A native of Canada, James Hill has wowed the ukulele community with his mastery of the instrument, making it do things that few other uke players can.  The Honolulu Star-Bulletin paid him the huge compliment of calling Hill a “rare peer” of Hawaii’s premier ukulele players.

One writer enthused about Hill’s “entertaining and unpredictable solo concerts” and his world-wide audience “that would be envied by many wannabe rock stars.” That same writer also paid tribute to Hill’s inspirational music seminars that have made him “something of a ukulele-based motivational speaker.”

Hill’s star turn on the ukulele was undoubtedly given a huge push by the lucky circumstance of his growing up in Langley, British Columbia, where many of the schools make instruction on the uke mandatory, starting in the fourth grade. His early exposure to the ukulele and its possibilities set a hook in him that he would never shake.

As a teenager, he played with the famous Langley Ukulele Ensemble. He went on to the University of British Columbia, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in music. Soon after, he co-authored the “Ukulele in the Classroom” method book series with J. Chalmers Doane, the innovative music teacher who pioneered ukulele instruction in Canadian schools.

Besides playing amazing covers of popular songs (as in this video), Hill has branched out into songwriting, as witness his original compositions on his “Man With A Love Song” CD.

You can learn more about James Hill on his website, jameshillmusic.com.

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