If you see just one actor this year... see Robert DeNiro. If you hear one singer this year, listen to Tony Bennett. If you enjoy just one voice-over artist, enjoy the work of Mel Blanc. If you have a little extra time, though, catch Jay Hickman - he can do all of the above.

Jay caught the show-business bug early, performing in church plays and elementary school productions. At eight, he pulled off a convincing portrayal of "the wind" in Mr. Sunshine's Vacation. Later, he drew raves as one of three "Asparagus Spears" (no relation to Britney) in The Four Food Groups. If he had stopped growing as a performer there, you could stop reading now. But he kept going. Now, Jay is a seasoned veteran of stage, screen and recording studio. His works include movies, television, CDs and Japanese animé.

As an actor, Jay began in commercials, putting his talent to work for several predominant Houston businesses as well as national clients. He soon ventured to Hollywood where he worked on both the large and small screens. His expertise was tapped for shows such as "As If," and "Legally Blonde" (the TV series). Later, he appeared in movies such as Rushmore, Apollo 11 and Touching Wild Horses with Jane Seymour.

As a singer, Jay has constantly refined his style. He is influenced by the greats of the swing era and holds a special place in his heart for Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald and Chi Tsu. He has fronted bands as disparate as The Blue Monks, a five-piece swing band and The Brotherhood, an R&B group that Jay has occasionally had the pleasure of working with. Currently, Jay has made local headlines in Houston as a finalist in the "Gimme the Mike" contest, sponsored by the local NBC affiliate. An homage to "American Idol," "Gimme the Mike" showcases the up-and-coming vocal talent in Houston.

But Jay's vocal talents don't end with singing. As a voice actor, Jay has gained a small cult following through his work in Japanese animé. His work on such relative blockbusters as "Generator Gawl," "Excel Saga" and "RahXephon" has brought him some accolades, and Bloggers on animé websites have singled Jay out as the standout talent in the productions. He has also lent his voice to live-action movies like Gamera 2 and Gamera 3, both tales chronicling the adventures of the Godzilla contemporary. Additionally, Jay has done considerable commercial work for radio.

But when all is said and done, Jay centers himself by concentrating on the basics; the skills that got him started. As part of a nightly ritual, he repeats to himself: "I am the wind, I am the wind." He still has not developed an affinity for asparagus.

Jay is available for work in any of these media, and can be contacted at theduke@jayhickman.net

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