Typically it’s a chaotic cycle for any author or musician around release time. Between interviews, media appearances and other measures to promote your material from city to city, it becomes quite the grind. The travel and constant spotlight takes its toll on the best of artists, so imagine doing both at the same time. That’s the challenge facing Regie Hamm. The Grammy- and Dove-nominated songwriter flirted with solid success writing for artists as diverse as Clay Aiken and Avalon, but it was his mega-hit “Time of My Life” that became a sensation with American Idol winner David Cook taking it straight to the top of the Billboard charts. Before the hit, however, everything came crashing down, with a mysterious illness plaguing his newly adopted daughter, Isabelle, and his career taking a nosedive. It’s a roller coaster described in Hamm’s new book release, Angels & Idols, a release hitting shelves in tandem with his new CD, Full Circle. Hamm says he’s always wanted to write books despite his songwriting prowess and hopes that since “aging in the music business isn’t always fun,” that it might open a new career door. More importantly, it’s the story of redemption and lessons learned that’s most important for the father of two. “The entire book was painful to write, but I knew for it to ring true that I had to be really honest,” says Hamm. “I knew it had to be unflinchingly honest, because that’s the nature of the story. There was a period of about two weeks that my wife was worried about me because I got really depressed during some of the reliving of it. Sometimes in your life you don’t realize how difficult a situation is until you’re on the other side reliving it and recounting it. Then you realize you don’t like going back.” Dwelling in those valleys, however, gave Hamm the substance to truly share what matters most with others. As he describes, it’s those sections that are the most painful that become the most connective with his readers. “The truth of the matter is that everyone has a story,” explains Hamm. “Everyone has pain and things that they’ve been through and you can’t put it on a scale. When my three-year-old son skins his knee, that’s the same to him as someone going into surgery. You can’t quantify how people feel about it, but they all have pain. That’s the part people are relating to the most...the common humanity in it. The redemption at the end is hopeful to people.” With a riveting read that should take off and some new music to match, the hectic schedule might kick into a whole other gear. Good thing for the Hamm family that their priorities are still in the right order. “We protect our family time pretty well,” explains Hamm. “We have a real stringent schedule for our daughter, so we protect that. I have a management team that really understands that. They’re intimately involved in my life and how it works, so they do a lot on my behalf for my family to be able to function as normally as possible. Sometimes that’s not going to happen, but we try to keep it as normal as we can for the kids and keep that family time.” — Matt Conner For more information, check out www.regiehamm.com Matt Conner is a music writer for the Indianapolis Star, HM, Relevant and Metromix and the founding editor of StereoSubversion.com. 52 CCM