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Interview With Singer-Songwriter Judd Harris

How would you describe your music to any person who may have never heard it before?

C: If you filled a blender with ice, threw in some Jack Johnson and Bill Withers, maybe a dash of Harry Connick Jr., and some Dominican rum. I think the resulting frozen drink would be Judd Harris-flavored ...and make you feel pretty good, too.

Press shot for Judd Harris.

What’s the significance of your musical moniker?

C: Judd Harris is my name by birth and the music I’m releasing now is the first music I’ve ever released as a solo artist under my own name. I can’t believe it took me this long!

What are your musical influences? C: I listened to a lot of oldies on the radio growing up, and I think that influenced the kind of music I like to make. But the artists that have influenced my songwriting, especially, are the great singer-songwriters of the 60s and 70s. Artists like Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Carole King, and James Taylor wrote love songs of course, but also songs of self-reflection that were open and honest and hopeful, with a healthy dose of self-deprecating humor.

What are your musical inspirations? C: It’s got to be Prince. Not only do I love his music, his virtuosity on multiple instruments, and his showmanship, but he may have been the most prolific and industrious artist ever. Only a musician with that kind of work ethic could afford to give away hits like “Manic Monday” and “Jungle Love.”

If given the chance, what musician(s) would you like to collaborate with? Rather this is to either write a song or be featured on a track. C: Martin Sexton comes to mind right away. He just exudes music from every pore of his body and is one of my heroes. I had the opportunity to meet him backstage a couple years ago and wasn’t at all surprised that he’s a really nice guy, too. You have to think he would not only make you sound better, but he’d also be happy to share the spotlight. I think collaborating with him would be amazing. What’s the song/album about? C: If you’ve ever fallen for someone and couldn’t work up the courage to confess your feelings, “Let You Know” will hit home. I wanted to capture that all-consuming longing, and the tension between wanting to protect a friendship, but also hoping a big risk could lead to love. My producer, Dave Schoenwetter, helped create a lush soundscape including this soft processed drum sound that’s actually me playing with my hands on my guitar—a kind of modern homage to Buddy Holly’s “Peggy Sue.”

What’s something you hope people take away from the new song(s)? C: I guess in a way I’m singing to my younger self. I was always pining away for some girl or another—wondering if she felt the same way. I think most people can relate to that, so I hope people see a little bit of themselves in this song and realize that we all have a lot of love to give—even if we’re a little shy about saying so sometimes.

Do you have any favourite songs to perform live? Could be your own music or even a cover. Any reason why? C: I often end my shows with “Purple Rain.” The first three albums I ever bought were Billy Idol Rebel Yell, Van Halen 1984, and Prince Purple Rain. That song has resonated with me for a long time and it sure seems like I’m not alone. Singing it feels like coming home.

If you could perform a show this very second anywhere in the world, where would it be? Is there any particular venue(s) or city/cities that comes to mind? C: It’s always been my dream to play at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. For me, it’s the best place on the planet. I’m originally from New Orleans, and I try to make it back every year for the incredible lineups, the delicious food, and the whole funky vibe of the event. Getting to share my music in my hometown at Jazz Fest would be really special.

What do you currently have planned for the remainder of the year?

C: Two more songs from The Beach EP will be coming out later this year and I have plans to start going live on TikTok to reach more fans beyond the little island town, Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic, where I live. Also, I just finished mixing and mastering my next EP, Hey Now, an ode to New Orleans. Can’t wait to share that, too!

Thanks for the time today, Judd. Is there anything else you may want to add before you go?

C: There are so many problems and so much negativity in the world right now, and I try to make my music a respite from all of that. So at the risk of sounding incredibly earnest, I hope my music brings some peace and positivity to every person who does me the honor of pressing play.

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