May 21, 2015
Musician and current backup singer and guitarist for country singer Corey Smith Mike Hines showed a strong interest in music starting at a young age and now succeeds in putting passion into his musical career.
Hines’ family possesses a rich music history, motivating him to follow his family legacy and continue to pursue music.
“My father played guitar and piano, and my mother had played organ in church. My family would often sit around the house and sing while my father accompanied us on the piano,” said Hines.
Once old enough, Hines’ parents got him involved in his local church’s choir. He loved the experience and continued to sing in elementary school and high school chorus. This provided him opportunities to perform in front of audiences in events such as musicals or choral concerts. However, moving on in his musical career required a band or the accompaniment of an instrument.
“My father taught me a few chords on the guitar and eventually sent me to get private lessons. Once I was able to sing and play, I was ready to start showcasing my abilities,” said Hines.
Later in high school, a couple of football players approached him in the weight room and asked if he wanted to start a country band. He immediately agreed. Hines played with this band for about 13 years. They would attend local bars in their neighborhood and convince the owners to hire them to play.
As their musical ability improved, the band put together promotional material that they would later submit to booking agencies. This led to traveling around the South and playing at clubs, music venues, beaches and vacation spots.
“We had a great time doing that, but as I got older I became more serious about the music and started focusing on becoming a better guitar player. I wanted to be the type of player that people would hire for recording sessions and to play on the road in more high profile and professional situations,” explained Hines.
After playing with the band, he spent a couple of years intensely practicing to better his skills. His practice eventually began paying off and over the years he was asked to join the house bands at multiple large country bars in Atlanta, such as Cowboys and Wild Bills. These venues brought the largest audiences he had seen yet: 4000 plus people. As his musical career continued, he was asked many times to complete session work in studios, leading him to form valuable relationships with people in the music business.
“Throughout my 20’s most of the music I played was cover music. There is a limit to how far you can go playing in cover bands. When I reached this limit I started writing,” said Hines.
For years Hines spent his life writing his own music and starting original bands. Eventually this lead him to where he is now. His abilities to sing, play guitar and manage band operations made him a perfect candidate for Band Leader for Corey Smith.
“Playing with Corey was my first job with a full touring band that traveled on a tour bus. We perform approximately 120 to 140 shows per year and have a great time in the process,” explained Hines.
Hines always looked for work to keep his calendar full and to make money. There was never a constant flow of money, but he now has a steady career in the music business.
Even though all of the traveling and having fun sounds nice, it takes time away from his family at home. Having 120 to 140 shows per year also means that 120 to 140 days are spent away from home, not counting the days of travel. That is over one third of every year spent away from his family.
“Alot of dads travel, even with regular jobs, I don’t mind him being gone because he is doing what he loves,” said wife Sheila Hines.
Also, all of that traveling and performing takes its toll on someone. When asked what he feels like when he gets home from a long run, Hines replied, “Sleepy. Sometimes I feel like I could sleep all day, and sometimes I do.”
However, in the end, all of the time away and tiredness is completely worth it. Hines makes money doing what he loves and has no regrets, besides not studying music in college.
“I’m lucky that I knew what I wanted to do with my future, and I’m lucky that I can do what I love for a living. I feel very fortunate to be living the life I am living now and hope that it only gets better from here. I still aspire to be better and can’t wait to see the life that’s ahead of me,” said Mike Hines.
Visit the photo gallery of Hines’s equipment and instruments below: