Hank Humphreys, professionally known as “H.A.N.K.”, which stands for “Here Always, Never Known” is a musician and rapper from Roanoke, Virginia.
Musically inclined from a young age, Hank began playing music when he was four years old, starting with the piano. Expressing his talents early on, Hank quickly developed his skills; his piano teacher quit working with him because he could play most of what he was taught by ear with little to no practice. Undeterred by his piano teacher, Hank continued playing piano at his father’s house, spending hours a day teaching himself more about the instrument as well as using music as a way to cope with a difficult life at home. In his words,
“That piano was like my angel. Whenever I felt unwanted or unloved or hurt or happy or sad or whatever, I always could just let it out through those keys.”
Learning the violin to add to his repertoire of instruments, Hank quickly picked it up without much trouble. Although he achieved a high level of skill, Hank realized he did not like it as much the piano.
While music remained an outlet for Hank to express himself and deal with the ever-present struggles of his life, he began experimenting with substances at the age of fourteen as a way to escape from his family problems. Hank recounts the negative experiences he had in his youth:
“I was stuck between divorced parents, bouncing back between separate and polar opposite households and rules, I was picked on in school… I was just overall confused and didn’t know where to turn.”
Enduring more than just the normal rigors of a teenage boy, Hank’s curiosity led him to try harder and harder substances as time went on. The musician had this to say about his progression with alcohol and drugs:
“I started with vodka, had fun with that. Eventually went to smoking weed and weed really opened up the door to so many things. I was so amazed at how a plant could make me feel like that. I wanted to feel everything I could. There is a fine line between experimenting and escaping and that line was extremely blurred for me.”
In the midst of his substance abuse issues, Hank never stopped playing music. Learning to write music and songs during high school, Hank began to explore his musical inclinations at a deeper level, writing a whole mixtape with some of his friends before the first day of his sophomore year. Hank talks about one of his first early successes:
“We burned off 100 CDs and brought them with us on the first day of school… we sold out of them in the first hour. Came home with $500 in my pocket and came the next day and sold out the last 40–50 we had left at home… It was mediocre work looking back on it… It was the first time I felt like I had power.”
While Hank continued to grow within his career in music, substance abuse remained a difficult problem in his life. Four days after his birthday in 2017, Hank checked himself into rehabilitation in an attempt to conquer his drug use. Successfully leaving rehab and his drug abuse behind him, it was in that moment Hank knew a career in music would become his future. He had this to stay about this turbulent part of his life:
“I just had a lot of things going on… I just went after the most toxic people because I craved the chaos… I made the transition from making hype rap songs glorifying my drug use to making depraved, self-loathing, painful music from the darkest parts of my heart and soul, to finally making music showing that I had been through these painful states and that I had made it out and am chasing my dreams now.”
Conquering his inner demons, Hank now looked towards a better future for himself and larger projects on the horizon. Building upon his lifetime of musical experience and passion for music, Hank created the Off/On Music music label in 2018. In his words,
“For me, coming off drugs was a huge step in progression in my life to the point where I made a music label around it. I just wanted to make Off/On to reach out to people in any range and touch them in some way with my music… It is about two sides and being real about both of them… Off/On Music is really just about balance. Yin and Ying. Light and dark. North and South.”
Always looking for greater and greater opportunities, Hank’s future aspirations are to start touring and getting his music out to as many people as possible on various platforms. Reflecting on his life up to this point, Hank said:
“I’m glad it happened at a young age honestly, I came out super grounded and mature. Once you endure stuff like that it never leaves you.”
In closing, Hank had this to say about his journey in retrospect and overcoming his substance abuse problems through making music:
“The biggest thing I got from conquering my hardships is to never give up and to keep moving forward… Find something to live for… I decided instead of rotting away, I would tell my life story in hopes people would listen through my music and I hope that I can help them as much as I can.”
Hank’s story is an incredible example of fortitude and courage. His treacherous journey through life shows us that while we may not all have the greatest beginnings, we are able to shape our lives as we see fit. Using music as a tool of self-expression as well as a weapon against some of the darkest pieces of himself, Hank was able to overcome his hardships and do what he had always wanted to do since his youth; make music.
Hank, you discovered the beautiful, unique song in your heart that plays louder than even the darkest noise and THAT is why you are an Invincible Summer.
“You just gotta learn to use tears to water the flowers. Turn the suffering into something beautiful.” — Hank Humphreys
Enjoyed this post? Learned something awesome from Hank’s story? Want to see more post like this? Follow us at The Invincible Summer.
We are just getting started, so any support is appreciated immensely. — Angel Santiago
Originally published at https://www.quora.com.