Jaime Hinckson To Perform at GFW 2014 Art Show

The UF Alumnus and Internationally Recognized Jazz Pianist Talks with the Team


By Michaela Bisienere

One of the many incredible local talents that will be a part of Gainesville Fashion Week 2014 is jazz and reggae pianist Jaime Hinckson. This is the second season in a row that Hinckson has been a part of GFW.

Born in Miami, Hinckson’s passion for music began at the age of 7 out of a Jamaican tradition.

“Because of my Caribbean culture, my parents had all of my siblings take piano lessons. It’s just something you do,” Hinckson said. “Every once in a while, you found someone that actually has an itch for it.”

In spite of his natural ability at the keys of a piano, he was on the verge of quitting around the age of 12, when he was introduced to jazz music and fell in love.

Hinckson continued to dedicate himself to his music throughout high school, competing in statewide and national piano competitions. His talent soon earned him an invitation to play in the 2006 Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival in Montego Bay, Jamaica. There, Hinckson played alongside the likes of John Legend, Patti LeBelle and Al Green all before graduating high school.

Hinckson received a full academic scholarship to attend the University of Florida and soon began to focus more on pursuing an engineering degree than making new music.

“My piano teachers actually told me ‘Oh, be a doctor, be a lawyer, be something else, you don’t want to go to school for music, there’s nothing they can really teach you,’” Hinckson said. “And I took their advice because they were my teachers, and decided I’d put something else in my back pocket.”

But Hinckson was never away from the piano for long, playing in a few different local bands and spending his Thursday nights performing at the Reggae Shack Café. Eventually, he realized that he was meant to be making music.

“I was always just going to graduate and give my parents my degree and be like, ‘You can make a wallpaper out of this,’ and then start my music stuff,” Hinckson said.

Last fall, Hinckson recorded his first instrumental jazz album, Take Flight, at Medusa Productions, a small recording studio in Gainesville.

“My entire album was done off of a vision that I had with Gainesville musicians, nobody else, so I’ll always have an appreciation for Gainesville and what it has to offer,” Hinckson said. “Gainesville’s a small place, but it allowed me to build a product that is distributed worldwide and appreciated worldwide.”

And worldwide is exactly the direction that Hinckson’s fan base has gone in, particularly after Major Lazer shared Hinckson’s cover of their songs “Jessica” and “Get Free” on their Facebook page and Instagram account.

Hinckson said the video was thrown together at the last minute after he forgot to record a cover of a Major Lazer song that he had meant to do while making his album.

“I propped up a laptop at my friend’s house in Miami and did a quick recording,” Hinckson said. “I just put something together in five minutes.”

Hinckson said he sent the video to one of the DJs from Major Lazer who showed it to the rest of the crew.

“They loved it,” Hinckson said.

The video has hit more than 11,000 views and Hinckson has gathered an international fan base through his YouTube account and has been featured on blogs in the United States, Germany and Sweden.

“I’m getting a lot of love in different languages I don’t know,” Hinckson said. “I’m using Google Translate a lot.”

Hinckson continues to look forward, and said there are national and international performances on the horizon.

“I love waking up every day,” Hinckson said. “My advice for anybody else who wants to follow their dreams is to do it. If there’s something that you truly want, you have to go for it. Every day should feel like an excitement.”