Hesu is a holistic doctor by day, musician by night. On his album Only the Child, S.B.’s Hesu Whitten explores themes of innocence, memories, love, and loss, in his debut album after over 30 years of honing his craft. Hesu infuses his healing ethos into his music. A practicing holistic doctor who has developed his own kinesiological methods for dealing with trauma, he hopes his music can reach listeners on a similarly deep-down level. “I just hope it connects people to their heart; that it unblocks them,” he said. “We’re so afraid of feeling deeply, but there’s something really healing about laughing and crying. I want to write songs that move people.”
Drawing inspiration from old greats such as his idols Paul McCartney, Brian Wilson, and ELO, Only the Child is lushly produced, carried by melodic uplift. Hesu teamed up with area musicians Drake Carmichael, Austin Beede, and Zach Madden, and produced the record at Orange Whip Studios with Angus Cooke and Madden.
Lyrically, the album is refreshingly eclectic. Songs range from the personal, like the nostalgic “Marblehead” of his days growing up sailing in a New England seaside town and the inward-looking “Existential Cowboy,” to the political, like “Simpsonwood,” about the 2000 Simpsonwood CDC conference (Whitten is an anti-vaccination advocate), and “Dorothy,” about Civil Rights leader Dorothy Height. Hesu became acquainted with Height’s words and personality through a girlfriend who interviewed and ghostwrote for her — he considers Height a great inspiration.
The album’s art work is a collage of personality, a heartfelt assembly of childhood photos and imagery of nature; the album’s cover is a photo of Hesu as a child. “It’s about spiritual evolution, tapping into who we are at the deepest levels…where we see the preciousness and innocence of children, who would never do anything that would harm or for the sake of profit,” he said. “Music is a healer — I was born to help this planet discover how people get injured on the emotional, spiritual, and physical level, and how to reclaim our health.”