David Ryan Harris Is TheBLACKMedia’s newest ON THE RISE addition…
Known for touring with John Myer, being one of the lead guitarist and vocalist on his international tour, David Ryan Harris, is no stranger to the industry. After writing, and producing for some of this worlds biggest artist like India.Arie, Dave Matthews, and Guy Sebastian, David made a mark for himself as a solo artist. He even co-founded the group/band known as “Follow For Now”. Even though the band was short lived David took from his experiences with the band and being signed to Colombia records and used it to ensure his now solo career with his new album “Lightyears” which features; India.Arie, John Myer & Nikka Costa. This just goes to show when you create great relationships, folk will return your call when you need their help. Check out what he had to say about his life experiences in the music industry:
When did you decide to be a musician?
I went to see an artist named Gino Vanelli on his Brother to Brother tour. It was my first concert and I wasn’t really sure what to expect. The lights went out and Gino came up from under the stage playing a grand piano with his shirt open (it was the 80’s) and dry ice everywhere. The women lost. Their. Minds. Throwing roses and undergarments. I remember thinking, “I definitely want to do THAT.” I’d always loved music and sang non-stop since I was old enough to talk, but the energy in the room was so amazing that it really flipped a switch. To this day I have to see the very beginning of any concert I go to. There’s nothing like the anticipatory rush when the lights go down.
What was your break into the industry?
I wouldn’t say I had a “break” necessarily. I think I’ve been a bit of a slow simmer. Playing with John Mayer definitely elevated my profile simply because we played to so many people and John was always so effusive in his praise for me onstage. I’ve been doing it long enough and in so many different configurations that I’m constantly surprised at the various ways fans have been introduced to my music.
How did you score placement on “Songversation” with India Arie, and what was that experience like?
I’ve known India.Arie since the “Video” single back in 2001 and we’ve never done anything but shower praise on one another whenever we see each other. We have wanted to work together on something since then, but couldn’t get things to line up. The songwriting sessions were 80% talking about love and life! We’d talk all day and then write almost as an aside to just connecting. The first day we talked from probably noon until 8. Around 8 I showed her a chord progression that I liked. We came up with a melody and the concept of talking about where she was emotionally at the time. I left a little recording with the acoustic guitar and the melody, and India said she would write lyrics overnight. While I was driving to her place the next afternoon she sent me a recording of her singing what became “The Life I Know”. I was literally moved to tears while driving. The overall experience was soulful in every way. I think we just scratched the surface. We have so much more music ahead of us.
What made you want to be a solo artist and release music?
I’m a solo artist out of necessity, really. I’d love to be a part of a band if the right situation presented itself. At the same time, I love the singular voice of people like Prince or Stevie Wonder. When I would listen to their records, I felt like I was being let into their worlds and I really enjoy crafting a world in my own language. The multi-instrumentalist approach is gratifying but sometimes incredibly isolated. I think Sly Stone had the best balance.
How would you describe your music and style and why should someone tune into you as an artist?
I’m a modern soul artist that lives on the fringe of a lot of different genres. Musically, it’s informed by classic elements like the Beatles, Stevie Wonder and Bill Withers, along with newer artists like Jeff Buckley and Radiohead. I write classic songs with themes of love and loyalty, and try to sing them as soulfully and authentically as I possibly can. Tune in, because odds are I have a song (or 3) that put lyrics and melody to emotions that you have too.
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