David Ryan Harris / by E

Photo by Shervin Lainez

Photo by Shervin Lainez

What first got you interested in music?

David Ryan Harris: I've just always loved it. My parents loved music and had music playing all the time and my mom really loved Chicago blues and my dad loved jazz, so there was just a record on the turntable all the time.

Do you remember the first record you bought?

The first record I bought was a record called "Groove Me" by King Floyd, but the first record I ever had was The Jackson 5's "ABC"; it came on the back of an Alpha Bits box.

How has your sound evolved from the work you did in the '90s to this latest album?

Probably a bit more personal and I like to think I can get to the ideas that I had in my head a little more quickly, a little more successfully; trying to get from ideas to actual songs, I think I'm better at that. I'm a lot more interested in telling stories than I probably was when I was younger, I just really didn't have great stories when I was younger. You know, I was a kid, what stories am I possibly going to tell?

How would you describe your sound, as it is now?

I'm a soul singer that references everything from Radiohead to Bill Withers so, you know, I do lots of different stuff, but I'm a soul singer so it all kind of comes out with definitely a tune of soul music.

Are there any artists you've taken inspiration from?

So, so many, so many people. I like to say, I feel from pretty much anything that I hear that I feel like is authentic, so it can be anything from Jeff Buckley to Jay Z to Hank Williams Sr. to Loretta Lynn. Anybody that's telling stories, I'm going to draw a lot of inspiration from and, you know, the great singers like Aretha Franklin, The Beatles, I keep them all; I like to think a little bit of all of that rubbed off in some way.

Have you got a track on repeat now?

I just did this big drive around the country and I don't think I really repeated anything. It was like a really great opportunity to kind of dig through as much music as I possibly could with all that time in the car because, you know, being at home, you don't really have as much time to listen to music, so I was just powering through so many things.

How would you describe your LP, Lightyears, as a whole?

It is, I like to think, a soundtrack to my life and just the idea of coming through a dark period into something that is hopeful and light.

You're on tour now, what makes for a really great live show?

A great rapport with the audience. If the room is small enough, you'd like for more people to feel like they're in their living room and, once you get a little more larger rooms, I'd like to, obviously, you want the audience to wish that they were on stage, but, like, in a very involved way; at least, at my shows I like to, sort of, involve people and just make it seem like I'm letting them in on my process. So, lots of laughs and then some stuff that makes you cry and some stuff that makes you dance, it's just, hopefully, a whole journey.

What do you hope listeners can take away from your music?

Hopefully my stories resonate with someone else and they feel like - there's nothing like hearing a song where somebody is singing about a situation or emotion that you have that you just couldn't quite put words or music to - so, hopefully it does that to someone. That's my biggest hope, that my stories tell the truth and my stories and songs resonate with someone enough to give them a little bit of joy or just to let them know that they're not alone.

Photo by Shervin Lainez

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