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IMAGES of INSPIRATION The 'Our Priests' Campaign

Joseph Lee Hooker

"In my capacity as a producer for major record labels and as an executive producer and programmer of music for our national television show, I have professionally evaluated thousands of people who consider themselves artists. I have always felt that the quality, believability and strength of Joe Hooker's voice is in the top 10 of anyone I've ever heard.

"I also believe after evaluating thousands of songs in the last 30 years, that his writing ability is in the top 10."

-Michael Nise
President, OMNI 2000
Executive Producer, "Dancin' On Air" and "Dance Party USA"
(unsolicited opinion)

Joseph Lee Hooker is a prolific songwriter whose music has attained national and international acclaim. His most recent award came via the John Lennon Songwriter's Contest -- apropos, as Hooker remains adamant that Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison will always be his main musical influences. “Simplicity like that is perfection that really inspires me,” he states.

Hooker is a dedicated family man and Certified Karate Instructor with blackbelts in Tang Soo Do (3rd degree) and Hapkido. Hooker and his wife Bridget live on a small Pennsylvania ranch, and are daily inspired by their six children, two of whom Bridget calls her "bonus daughters" from Hooker's marriage to his first wife, Linda (may she rest in peace).

A singer/songwriter since 1963, Joseph, or "The Hook”, first performed live on the big stage on New Jersey's famous Steel Pier as part of Tony Grant's "Stars of Tomorrow". There he met the Supremes, Gene Krupa, and was taught how to move on stage by Rudy Pompelli (Bill Haley's Comets). In fact, it was Haley's Comets who first approached Joseph when he was a mere 13 years old and offered to buy the first song he ever wrote, "A Girl Like You." Lacking proper guidance, the young songwriter declined ("I had no idea they were famous!"). After a bit of a delay, he plans to release the tune as part of a new project in the future focusing on several of his popular, "Beatle-esque" originals.

As a young boy, "little" Joey devoted his free time to recording and performing dozens of his own original songs, and writing hundreds more. "In school, I would watch the old Simplex clock on the wall during class, and write songs... I would aim for three minutes a song, as I'd heard once on the radio that that was the perfect song length..."

He was the only solo artist to perform at the 1st International Pop Festival in Puerto Rico in 1972, following John McLaughlin and the Mahu Vishnu Orchestra. McLaughlin was very complimentary about Joseph's spectacular performance, and afterward, the press labeled Joseph as an "up and coming" artist. Unfortunately, just weeks after returning from Puerto Rico, Joseph was almost killed in a motorcycle accident which landed him in the hospital for months and took years of recovery. He continued to sing and write as a way to heal from his wounds, something which has become a personal theme on his journey through life.

"Music has been there for me when no one else was... God spoke to me, and still teaches me, through my own songs. I've learned to pay attention, because often, I don't even know where the words come from, and it takes me a while to understand the meaning."

Joseph later performed at the Monterrey Pop Festival in 1990, and sang harmony to "You Are So Beautiful" with Billy Preston. He performed at Vet Stadium in the early 1980's ("in Rocky Balboa's boxing ring!"), and live on the nationally-televised Dance Party USA. He performed at World Youth Day 1994 in Denver, and traveled around the country for years singing at youth conferences and churches. His winning song "Photo of the Century," awarded by Kodak, was performed for former Governor of Pennsylvania, Ed Rendell. Music videos to several of his songs, including "Don't Cry, Mary," "Totally Yours," and "The Miracle Song," air on cable TV and EWTN, while others have been licensed to film and video projects around the globe through his publisher, Come Alive Communications, Inc. (ASCAP).

Hooker has been an avid environmental activist on and off for decades, but most notably as Founder and President of We Are the People, Inc. (Marcus Hook, PA). In the late 1980's, Hooker became the first civilian to be a Certified Smoke Reader, and exposed serious environmental health violations against his town and its residents. A maverick and a pioneer, Hooker was instrumental in exposing health risks, levying fines, mobilizing legislation and his community, and raising awareness on the dangers of large manufacturing plants in his small but industrially-booming community. He received several awards for his environmental activism, and was the sole member of a Pollution Control Board at a time when "pollution control" was anything but popular.

The death of his firstborn son, Luke John, to liver cancer in 1997 was a huge blow, he said, which "kind of knocked the song out of me". When he picked up his guitar years later, his songs had become even richer, deeper, more soulful -- to the point that he realized that he had more to say -- and more to learn -- through his lyrics than ever. He chose to focus on songwriting with either a spiritual or patriotic bent, and recently won recognition for “The Miracle Song”, written in honor of his departed son, in the annual and wildly-popular John Lennon Songwriting contest.

Most recently, Hooker toured Latin America performing several of his originals -- in English, Spanish or both -- at youth conferences and cultural empowerment events, including "VidaFest 2013" (Querétaro, QTO) before an audience of an estimated 23,000 people.

Hooker has over 500 songs registered or pending registration with the US Copyright office, as well as two inspirational photographs that many have referred to as “miraculous”. He continues to write, record and sing on his Pennsylvania ranch as a way to heal, meditate and move forward. Indeed, his music as his own mentor and friend – and the powerful inspiration it provides to so many – may be the title to his own life’s story.

Hooker's recent works contain many more layers than his early music and demonstrate the powerful, captivating essence of a seasoned professional; in fact, there may be a whole different genre he is defining: NEW ADULT music, inspired by the best of rock's hayday, and sprinkled with the sentiment we all seek as time goes on. His songs are not “oldies”, nor strictly folk or pop -- and they are something far beyond hip-hop or unintelligible, angry rap. Music COMES ALIVE again through this artist, and takes each listener along for the incredible, soul-stirring ride. Isn't that always how it was meant to be?