‘Space Jam’: Nostalgia kickstarts life in music | News, Sports, Jobs

Photo courtesy of DEREK HEIDEL
Singer-songwriter Derek Heidel performs at Iron Ridge Brewing on Friday, March 29.

LEWISTOWN — Derek Heidel always wanted to “Be Like Mike,” just not as a baller.

The 34-year-old Huntingdon County native has been singing his whole life. “It all started when my parents gifted me the original “Space Jam” soundtrack when I was six years old,” Heidel recalled of the 1996 American live-action, animated sports comedy film starring Michael Jordan.

“I sang along to all the songs and just continued singing the rest of my life pretty much every single day,” he added.

Heidel experimented with different genres, such as pop, rock, classic rock and metal before eventually choosing country music.

His idols would have to be legends Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams Jr., Johnny Cash and Jamey Johnson.

“Music is my life as cliché as that sounds,” Heidel said. “Whenever I’m feeling depressed, anxiety, sadness, basically any negative emotions, I’m picking up the guitar and singing and playing until I’m happy

or content.”

Heidel brings his musical talents to Lewistown on Friday, March 29, performing from 7 to 9 p.m. at Iron Ridge Brewing, 9074 Route 522.

“Music is therapy for me, especially due to the place I work at full-time,” he added. “It’s exactly what I need for my mental health,” added Heidel, who works as a corrections officer at the Huntingdon County Jail.

Singing “is basically a second job,” Heidel said of his music. He manages to play 7 to 10 shows per month. He mainly performs covers, but he recorded three original songs which are available online, and another half dozen original songs that haven’t been recorded. “I’m working on that currently,” he added.

His three recorded original songs are “Daniels,” “Tippin’ Them Back” and “The Country I Know,” which can be found on his social media platforms.

Heidel is particular when it comes to performing songs. It’s important to him that the song “creates crowd participation, hype up the crowd and cause a good reaction,” he explained.

He also prefers songs “with good vocal range that I am confident I can duplicate or hit said notes.” And, of course, the meaning behind the song has to affect him. “Do I myself feel something from it,” Heidel said.

He can be found on Instagram and TikTok @derekheidelmusic, Facebook and YouTube.

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