Hooke Review: Songwriter Ellis Hall

Sandra Selva Photography


Introducing Ellis Hall.

“When people ask me about my blindness, I tell them, ‘I didn’t pay the electric bill on time…so they cut the lights out on me!’ ” – Ellis Hall

Born in Savannah, Georgia and raised partly in Claxton, GA. Ellis has been blind since he was 18 years old, but that doesn’t stop him from his mission in life.  In fact, it has been the driving force behind his creation of over 4,000 songs ranging from Soul, Gospel, Blues and Pop compositions. Among these works is the official song for his hometown of Claxton Georgia. He has worked along side other greats such as Stevie Wonder, James Taylor, Natalie Cole, Patti LaBelle, Toby Keith, Herbie Hancock, George Benson, Bobby Womack, Sheila E., and many more. In addition, he was one of the lead vocalists of the California Raisins.

Ellis has also successfully had his hand at Hollywood, recording and performing songs for live action and animated films such as “The Lion King 2,” “Shrek 2,” “Chicken Run,” “Invincible” and “Bruce Almighty”. Hall has even taken acting roles in “Big Momma’s House” (Martin Lawrence) and the crime drama “Catch Me If You Can” (Leonardo DiCaprio)


In addition to his work in film, Hall was nominated for both an NAACP and Ovation Theater Award for his first stage role in “The Gospel At Colonus” where he not only sang and acted but also walked the stage and stair props with nearly no assistance.

Peter Arthur Photography

He has performed with many of the elite symphony orchestras worldwide: his first being the Hollywood Bowl under the direction of his mentor Ray Charles.  Since then, he has performed with prestigious 81-piece orchestras including the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra with Marvin Hamlisch, the Boston Pops Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center, Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Rochester Symphony Orchestra, and most recently the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra.

In September 2016, Hall debuted his second orchestra concept show “Soul Unlimited” where he “Ellis-izes” songs from David Bowie’s Let’s Dance to Something by George Harrison (which was previously recorded on Ellis CD Straight Ahead featuring Billy Preston on organ).

His reputation of excellence earned Ellis the moniker, “The Ambassador of Soul.”

Ellis Hall And Hooke Audio

I was first introduced to Ellis through a colleague of mine at Perkins School for the Blind. Ellis is a graduate of the school based in Boston, MA and an active member of the alumni association. To my surprise, my colleague had purchased Hooke Verse as a christmas gift for Ellis. I wasn’t aware until Ellis and his band stopped by our booth at NAMM to share the exciting news. Ellis was eager to dive into the product after the convention, which felt like a perfect opportunity to meet in person and show him what Hooke Audio is all about.

Pictured left to right, Cara Braglia, Ellis Hall, Anthony Mattana


A Camcorder For The Blind

At the core of Hooke Audio’s mission is a simple sentiment: sound matters. And when it comes to the blind community, this is a no brainer. For visually impaired users, a recording that sheds directionality is useless. Binaural is how most blind people capture and remember their lives. To have this technology accessible on their smartphone for the first time is a game changer.

Why My Home Videos Are Binaural Recordings

My dream has always been to create the most accessible, portable and versatile microphone. So making the Hooke Verse and our Hooke Apps 100% accessible on Voiceover for iOS and Talkback for Android was a high priority for me and my team. I am very proud to say that Hooke Verse can be operated fully independently by blind users on both Android and iOS. A feat over 3 years in the making.

My Journey Making The First 3D Audio Recording App For The Blind


We hear the World In 3D. We Should Be Capturing It That Way.

We hear the World in stunning 3D sound and we have the ability to localize sound all around us. Yet when it comes to today’s smartphones, we are only capturing half of the memory in 2D. We don’t have the ability to re visit a special moment and feel like we were there. That’s what the Hooke Verse does, it captures moments in their fullest detail. It captures REAL sound, just like we heard it. And the best part? Any one with a pair of headphones can listen back and feel like they’re their with you.


Hearing Is Believing.

Don’t take our word for it. Hear Ellis’s reaction to test hearing Hooke Audio 3D Audio for the first time.


For More Information On Ellis Hall visit www.ellishall.com 

And For More Information On Hooke And The Visually Impaired Community

HOW TO GUIDE: For blind users of the Hooke Audio 3D Audio app on iOS



From One Ear To Another,

Anthony Mattana
Hooke Audio Founder and CEO


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