Vol. LIII No. 7
July 2018

Connor Hicks moved others with music, soulful vocals

Connor Hicks was a young Chickasaw musician of immense talent and potential. Emotions felt in the untimely loss of Mr. Hicks are possibly best summed up in Don McLean’s 1972 hit “American Pie” regarding the sudden loss of musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper.

Music classics were not lost on 20-year-old Chickasaw professional musician Connor Hicks. His video cover of Jimi Hendrix’s 1966 recording of “Hey Joe,” can be enjoyed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NaGycry2Cmw.

Mr. Hicks’ impressive original music library was just beginning when he was tragically lost in a Dec. 18 auto accident.

The Connor Hicks Band frequently entertained at various venues and was well established within the Oklahoma music scene comprised of folksingers, songwriters, rockers, instrumentalists and Red Dirt faithful.

“Connor Hicks was a wonderful young man and a very talented musician with an incredibly bright future,” Gov. Bill Anoatubby said. “He was a dedicated employee, and was more than happy to lend his musical talents to the Chickasaw Nation. A beloved son and family member, those who knew him best said he made their lives richer. As one who knew Connor and his family, my deepest condolences go out to all those who have suffered such a great loss.”

Connor Hicks was introducing his own brand of music to the world. His style was an eclectic mix of blues, rock and jazz with gospel overtones and complicated rhythms.

His smooth, effortless singing styles are showcased on his first musical release “Savior EP” in 2016. He was recording in an Oklahoma City studio before the accident, according to his manager Jacob Mann.

“Most kids play video games, but Connor played guitar,” Mr. Mann said. “He was extremely kind and humble. You don’t usually get both those things with someone as talented as Connor. He was dedicated to his career and doing the right thing. He owned his mistakes and came back stronger. A guy like that is so hard to find. It’s a dream to work with somebody like that.”

Mr. Hicks had no “Plan B.” He had set his sights on a musical career and was working hard to achieve it.

He performed “As The River Runs,” the theme song for the Chickasaw Nation’s 2017 Annual Meeting and Festival and was emerging as a musical force within the Chickasaw Nation.

Chickasaw Nation Director of Creative Solutions Harley Lewis recalls Mr. Hicks as a total professional in the recording studio where “As The River Runs” was recorded and mastered.

“He was mature beyond his years,” Mr. Lewis said. “I am having a difficult time accepting what has happened. There were times in the studio where everyone would think his guitar playing and vocals were great. But he wouldn’t be satisfied. He would do another take and completely blow away the previous one.”

Mr. Hicks attended the Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma, and was a well-respected sideman and songwriter. His friends lovingly referred to him as John Mayer, his performance idol.

The Ada native was relatively new to the guitar but after a few years of practice, he impressed bandmates with an advanced level of playing.

His guitar picking was tasteful and appropriate, with just enough “hot licks” to illustrate he understood the fretboard and varying musical styles.

Mr. Hicks’ music is available on Amazon.com and may be purchased as a download or streamed. Various music sites feature cuts from his “Savior EP” recordings and other studio projects. His talent is on display at YouTube.com as well.

He served as an administrative assistant at the Chickasaw Nation Department of Commerce. Funeral services were Dec. 21 at Trinity Baptist Church in Ada. Mr. Hicks is survived by his parents, Ronnie and Chasity Hicks and two sisters, Lanie and Ella Brianne.

Mr. Hicks’ complete obituary appears on page 13 of this edition.