Red Hot Tears

Eric Himan sings sweetly, tearfully about his late grandmother

Eric Himan broke down in the studio while recording ”Gracefully,” a song he wrote about his grandmother, who died last year. ”I’m never very emotional in the studio,” Himan says, ”but that song, because it was so fresh, I just cried my way through the song.”

Eric Himan and the Soultre Singers: Tylisha Oliver, Eric Himan and Tina Phillips

Eric Himan and the Soultre Singers: Tylisha Oliver, Eric Himan and Tina Phillips

(Photo by Jeremy Charles)

The moment even brought tears to Himan’s producer, who insisted — over Himan’s initial objections — on that being the version to make the cut of Himan’s new album, also titled Gracefully. It lends a raw and sweet note to the pop-tipped set, which finds Himan, a folk-oriented guitarist since the age of 8, switching lead instruments by sitting down at the piano, which he only started playing three years ago. ”This is the first time I actually felt comfortable enough not only to write on the piano — and I wrote all the songs on piano — but also to be able to be the one to record it on piano.” As a result, Himan thinks Gracefully sounds different than his previous guitar-driven sets. That’s especially true, given that the tenor, whose voice has a tone similar to Adam Levine, also features two backup female vocalists throughout. ”When you have three voices singing at the same time, three different parts of the song, I just feel like it has so much energy to it,” he says.

Eric Himan

Eric Himan

These fellow Tulsa, Okla.-based vocalists, who call themselves the Soultre Singers, are now touring with Himan, who returns to D.C. post-Capital Pride to hit Town during the tail end of Bear Happy Hour next Friday, Aug. 23.

Naturally, Himan will perform many songs from Gracefully, including current single ”Red Hot Tears” as well as ”Everything To You,” now in rotation on Sirius/XM Radio’s The Coffee House and soon at Hollister stores. ”So it’s in every mall starting in September,” he jokes. Of course, he’ll also perform the title track, the ode to his grandma. Says Himan: ”If I start crying, at least people will know it’s real.”

Eric Himan performs Friday, Aug. 23, at 9 p.m., at Town Danceboutique, 2009 8th NW. Call 202-234-TOWN or visit towndc.com.

Doug Rule is a theater critic and contributing editor for Metro Weekly.

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