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Five Things I Learnt From Rupert Hine

Rupert Hine passed away in the early hours of this morning. In a career that spanned more than 50 years he was a songwriter, having written million selling songs for the likes of Dusty Springfield and Wilson Phillips. He was a composer and musician who worked on such films as “Better Of Dead” and the James Bond film “Goldeneye”. He directed many videos for music artists. He was a hugely respected, critically acclaimed, and award winning producer, with names like Howard Jones, Chris De Burgh, Rush, Bob Geldof, Stevie Nicks, The Waterboys, and Tina Turner to his name. He was also a friend of mine.

Don’t Take Yourself To Seriously

Rupert had a great sense of humour which meant he had a knack of making you feel at ease. On the walls of his beautiful home which he shared with his lovely wife Fay (also a friend) were platinum discs and record covers and reviews. One review in particular caught my eye. It was a less than flattering account of an album of his and here it was on display for all to see. It was very obvious that Rupert had a great talent and equally obvious he was proud of his achievements. But I found a new level of respect for the man when I saw this framed article. I asked him about it and his response was along the lines of “Someone found this article in an old magazine and sent it to me. I thought it was brilliant.” So even with world acclaim he was able to keep grounded and not take himself too seriously. He took his craft seriously - but not himself. This is a valuable lesson we can all do learning because how many of us get affronted when someone gives a negative opinion about ourselves? The ability to laugh at your mistakes and own your mistakes is very necessary.

Take A Genuine Interest In People

I met Rupert through his wife who was starting piano lessons with me. At the time I was Musical Director for an amateur musical theatre company as well being a music teacher. He was genuinely interested in the things I was doing. He asked me questions and actually listened to the answer without interrupting with “Oh I’ve done this…that…the other”. To him he wasn’t the most important person in the room and yet I was a little awe struck at first. Of course, his sense of humour put me at ease and I was able to engage in a proper conversation with him. But it struck me that at the time he didn’t know me from Adam but was still interested in me as a person. It didn’t feel like the kind of superficial interest you sometimes get when you can just tell they’re just being polite but actually just want to be somewhere else. It’s not just good manners because some people think that even half-engaging in a conversation with someone is being polite. It’s taking yourself out of the equation and focussing on the other person is a valuable lesson to learn.

Share Your Knowledge Freely

Rupert was a leader rather than a follower when it came to technology. So much so that he pioneered electronic musical interfaces with MIDI. In the 90s he was invited by Apple to help demonstrate the powers of their groundbreaking software to musical creative thinkers. He was a public speaker who was so inspirational that he could have made a full time career out of it. After all what is the point of having knowledge if you’re going to keep it to yourself? What’s the point in keeping the stories of a 50 year career when you could help inspire (or warn) someone entering the industry? My favourite quote of his is so inspirational and it couldn’t come from a person who didn’t share his knowledge freely. A very important lesson learnt there.

I’ve always felt that if you learn by what you hear, rather than by what you’re told or what you read, it’s the best way of finding out what you really want to say. Rupert Hine

Be Supportive

Rupert and Fay came to see a show I Musical Director for, not just because I was the MD but because another friend of ours was in the show too. When I next saw Rupert he was so complimentary about the music and asked how it had been working on the show. I was honest and told him it was a nightmare because there were too many people interfering with my work, or just not listening and taking direction. His response was to say that it clearly showed how hard I’d worked and that it had all paid off despite the unpleasant working atmosphere. A few months later he introduced me to his sound engineer and telling him that earlier in the year I’d Musically Directed and arranged the music for this show. “It sounded fantastic” he enthused, “they had a full orchestra and Chris conducted them as well.” I then pointed out that there were actually only nine musicians. It completely floored him and he was even more praising. I’m sure we’ve been in situations where you’ve done something and you’re proud of it only to have someone counteract it with “Oh I did it better” - perhaps not quite so directly as that but the implication is there. Roop did nothing of the sort. He was genuinely supportive and praiseworthy of my work.

Acceptance Is The Best Way Forward

When I first met Rupert he’d been diagnosed with a form of cancer. But rather than worrying about it and cussing the gods for letting it happen he developed an attitude of acceptance. Knowing that there is likely to be physical pain because of it why add to it with stress? This is perhaps the biggest lesson I learnt from Rupert Hine because we all have bad news, bad days, pain, illness and any number of other issues. His calm acceptance of what he was going through meant that he was able to keep going. He could stay afloat. He wasn’t going to drown. This was his attitude right to the end when (to use Fay’s words) he “…said goodbye last night... waving, definitely not drowning”.

Rest In Peace dear Rupert. Your legacy will live in through your music, your creativity and through all the people whose lives you touched and made better for knowing you.

Rupert Hine: 21 September 1947 - 5 June 2020

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