Ben Harper at the EurockÃ©ennes in 2008
|Birth name||Benjamin Chase Harper|
October 28, 1969 |
|Genres||Folk rock, blues rock, alternative rock, soul, funk rock, gospel, reggae, jam rock, neofolk|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, lap steel guitar, slide guitar, keyboard instruments, piano, bass, drums, percussion, vibes|
|Labels||Virgin, EMI Records|
|Associated acts||Ben Harper and The Blind Boys of Alabama
Vanessa da Mata
Fistful of Mercy
Ben Harper and The Innocent Criminals
|Website||Official web site|
|Weissenborn lap steel guitar|
There is a difference between a great producer and somebody who is a big advocate of your music. Just because you're a big advocate for a band doesn't mean you need to be in the studio with them, and at the same time – we don't need to get into this conversation – you can write a hit, but it might not hit.
That happens every time I get behind a guitar, regardless of what I'm saying, 'cause music is freedom and being free is the closest I've ever felt to being spiritual.
I grew up with a heavy diet of gospel, folk, and blues because those are kind of the cornerstones of traditional American music.
As long as the songs are strong, I think you can express yourself in any style and have it be soulful and have it be your own voice.
The only way that you can find any semblance of a rule, or make any semblance of your own rule, is to tear up the rulebook. Throw it out, burn it, throw it away, and make your own rules.
Life is short and if you're looking for extension, you had best do well. 'Cause there's good deeds and then there's good intentions. They are as far apart as Heaven and Hell.
I really feel there's no limitation on what this band can do in the studio or on the stage. That's an empowering feeling – that we can bring a song to life.
We went for the best overall feel on each song. There are no musical overdubs at all. It's a true live record; it's one of the few true live records out there.
The advice I have for new artists is this – write great songs and play them live as often as possible. Get residencies all over town and crush it.
You look like gold. I've been fooled before, but now I know I've made the mistake in the past. But now I, now I know the difference from gold and brass.
The Blind Boys are truly the deepest well of American musical heritage you can discover.
The music is in the lead here, and a large part of this, I have no idea what I'm doing. I feel a closer bond with the craft of songwriting, stronger than I ever have.
I'm not going to do the Ben Harper house record or the Ben Harper drum 'n' bass record.
Sometimes I may be totally arrogant, sometimes I may totally be the most humble guy you've ever met, sometimes I may be in between. But that's life. Who isn't like that? What's the big deal if I had an arrogant moment.
Every single time I step into the studio, I say, 'Can I still do this? Do I still have it? Have I ever had it?' I suppose there's a good amount of self-loathing that goes into any form of artisanship.
If I'm inspired and music inspires me, then I will continue to play it.
I'm really looking forward to, not more of the same, but a continual growth.
Genetics do play a role in how you consciously or subconsciously manifest your true self.
So it's not so much that I set out to do something different, it's just that the songs themselves require their own individual voice and attention.
But I would never insult the people that love this music and I would never insult the blessing of music in my life and I would never insult myself by playing uninspired music.
I grew up with the Blind Boys' music. My family owns a music store in Claremont, California, called The Claremont Folk Music Center. I grew up with a heavy diet of gospel, folk, and blues because those are kind of the cornerstones of traditional American music.
Right now I'm listening to a lot of different things but I listen to a lot of classical music. Eventually I would like to compose and perform classical.
My family owns a music store in Claremont, California, called The Claremont Folk Music Center.
We figured you could download live shows for days, so we decided to go for a cream-of-the-crop approach, but not just take the best vocal or the best performances.
My main concern when travelling around the world is finding a place to skateboard!
When it comes to writers and poets, for me it's Vinicius de Moraes. He's one of the greatest lyricists ever.
I've never made a record that didn't sound better than what was in my head – that's sort of my rule.
If it comes out sounding like Dixieland jazz or classical or punk or rock or even slightly metal, that's because that's where I'm going to find inspiration.
When it comes to partnership, some humans can make their lives alone – it's possible. But creatively, it's more like painting: you can't just use the same colours in every painting. It's just not an option. You can't take the same photograph every time and live with art forms with no differences.
It will make a weak man mighty. it will make a mighty man fall. It will fill your heart and hands or leave you with nothing at all. It's the eyes for the blind and legs for the lame. It is the love for hate and pride for shame. That's the power of the gospel.