Shea Harris: Up-and-Coming Talented Singer and Musician by Chase Von & Jessica Gilbert
Chase Von: Hey Shea and it was great talking with you! On behalf of the Student Operated Press and myself, thanks for finding the time to do this interview and sharing yourself with our readers here at the SOP!
I Learned of you through our mutual, lovely and talented friend Apachula, and you’re another truly unique soul yourself. So thanks again for squeezing this in!
Jessica Gilbert: It’s great to have you in Talent Spotlight Magazine as well. 🙂
Shea Harris: Thank you so much Jessica. I am very fortunate to have this opportunity.
Chase Von: I have many questions for you, but before we get to those let’s start at the beginning…Where were you born, where did you grow up and how was your childhood?
I’ve also seen quite a few pictures of you on skate boards, motorcycle’s, horses, in a football uniform, which is not something you often see females in, so I’m stepping out on a limb here…
But were you, what is commonly referred to as, a Tom Boy? (smile).
Shea Harris: I was born in Los Angeles, CA…I lived in various cities in Orange County, California, and then spent a few high school years in Sweetwater, TN. My childhood was, needless to say, extreme and ever changing. Simply put, it was a beautifully broken path, illuminated with endless possibilities which spawned from the blessing of being multi-talented.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve believed there is nothing I cannot do, competitive with myself so…A born fighter yes, survivor yes, always up for an adventure you bet, dare-devil by birth right…Was I a Tom Boy? I don’t know. I am just me.
Chase Von: So no Barbie dolls for you? (Heh Heh). How long has music been a part of your life and was that something your parents instilled in you, or is it something you got into all on your own?
Also, how supportive is your family of your pursuing full-time as a career?
Music has been a part of my life since I can remember. As a very young child my mother would play guitar lullabies. I didn’t pick up a guitar until I was about sixteen. My friends and mentors support me living a healthy, happy lifestyle no matter what career choice, which is a blessing. I was not raised by family and have only a handful of estranged family members. I don’t know what they think exactly, in regards, to my music career to be quite honest.
Jessica Gilbert: It’s wonderful that music has been a part of your life since a young age and you have all the support from friends and mentors. What do you love most about performing?
Shea Harris: I love that I get to put my energy out there. I love the rush and the vulnerability of putting myself out there. And I am quickly falling in love with being able to tell my story, and touch the hearts and minds of folks listening and dancing.
Jessica Gilbert: What’s your process for writing lyrics?
Shea Harris: My song writing process is pretty scattered. I like to say that they come from the sky…lol, but really they just come out of nowhere, desperate napkin poems so to say. I will be playing a riff and all of a sudden start singing or speaking words, and try my best to write them down as they come. Now that I am starting to collaborate, it is more feeding off others energy and wisdom, trying to just channel the best music and messages possible.
Jessica Gilbert: 🙂 Where do you get the inspiration for your songs?
Shea Harris: I get my inspirations from the struggles, successes of mankind, from my own struggles and accomplishments, from lost and gained love, and of course the beauty of our Mother Earth.
Chase Von: I remember you told me if you were cut, you would bleed country. (Smile). I grew up all over myself, but part of that was in the country as well. So, I occasionally write lyrics and when I’m done I look at them and think, that’s COUNTRY!
Truth of the matter is, it all depends on how they are sung, but country usually has something heartbreaking in it that we can all relate to. I can’t remember all you said, when I asked you to describe your music, but you’ve come up with your own vein. Can you share with our readers what you classify your music as, and also what they can expect to receive when they hear it?
Shea Harris: Yeah, I love country music even though I don’t sing it. It’s my feel good, pick-me-up music. Nothing better than grabbing a horse and going for a long walk…I say my music is “Enlightened Folk Hop,” which I guess would include artists such as: Lynx, Ani DiFranco and Goddess Alchemy Project, etc. Dear fans, listeners and readers; you can expect to hear, feel vibrations, truth, a bit of me in every song, lyrics worth listening to.
Chase Von: Blazing your own trail! (Smile). I use to be a Correctional Officer Shea. I remember one day I was leaving my apartment and four guys walked by and one of them was someone that had been in jail. And he was like…”OH! So, that’s where you live CO! That’s where you LIVE!”
I turned around, looked at them, locked my door and said, “I know where you live too Homes!”
He laughed and said, “No, you don’t, but I KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE!”
Roughly a week or so later, I was there when he was getting locked up again, and I said with a smile – “Welcome home Homey.”
He didn’t like that too much, but the reason I bring that up is, I have the ultimate respect for those that perform for our troops and those that go into prisons and entertain them as well. Is that something you would consider doing? The lovely Leah DeVon, whom I interviewed, did just that for the troops. And my friend, Glenn Brandon Burke often went into prisons to speak with those there and give them hope.
Both war and jail suck, so I’m just curious as to whether you might entertain, showing some love on those fronts?
Shea Harris: I would absolutely perform for troops and inmates. I have some close friends who served. One of them, Adam Macabe is doing amazing work through his non-profit, purplestarfamilies.org/. There’s also Tom Skinner of understandingptsd.org/. I’ve been blessed with amazing guardian angels, teachers and mentors; some who have been, at one time or another imprisoned, and therefore, I would absolutely perform in a correctional facility.
Chase Von: That pleases my heart Shea, and also you work with horses all the time. How long have you been doing that and have you always had a special rapport with animals? And do you think that is because of your “American Indian Heritage”?
Shea Harris: I started riding horses in therapy when I was around seven to eight years old. I’ve always had an uncanny way of understanding and communicating with animals. It’s true, I believe it is a gift bestowed upon me by ancestors, as well as being a part of my nature.
Chase Von: I’m Black, Blackfoot, Cherokee and rumored in family lore to be a little French and I speak English, Black (yes, that is a language) (Smile). Bad Spanish and worse German, but my ability to speak animal has been increasing lately. I try, if I can to throw a little bread out for the sparrows when I can, and one day I stepped out on the porch and instead of hearing…Tweet, tweet, tweet…I heard, “Wheat, wheat, wheat!”
So, I went back in, got them some bread and one of them said, “Good thing you got us some wheat…Or we were going for the dog food!” (Smile).
Then there was the day I went from one side of my porch to the other and said, “What the…”Then I growled and it ran behind the air conditioner trying to get to the other side, but I got there first. Then it ran the other way and I chased it a little and said, use the tree. The cat looked back at me and said, “I don’t need the tree!” And leaped over the fence.
Later I felt bad about that. For a cat to eat the food of an over a hundred pound dog…That took guts or desperation. Had a collar on too. Were people feeding it? Was it abandoned? On a serious note, there’s a video of an elephant painting a picture of itself. Made me re-think who really did the cave man drawings. (Smile).
But how do you communicate with animals? Because working with horses can also be very dangerous. We all remember Christopher Reeves, the one who played Superman, who was horribly injured by a horse.
Shea Harris: For me the main way to communicate with animals is watching. You know? When you watch an animal you learn its language, and if you can read the animal than you can talk to it through your movements. Learning what it’s comfortable with and what it likes.
Chase Von: I always ask a tough one Shea, and in reading up on you, I saw where you were playing your guitar saying no to Prop 8. I’ve interviewed Nhojj, the amazing four octave singer, who has gone on to win many awards for his music and I didn’t even know he was gay when I interviewed him. I’ve also interviewed Bazhe, who wrote the amazing book Damages, which I would recommend to anyone.
What folks do in their bedroom I feel is their business. And what two adults choose has nothing to do with me. I believe in God, and I also believe that is something God will have to sort out, not me. After all, none of us are perfect, least of all me.
I do have some lines in the sand, so to speak. I have no tolerance for pedophiles or rapists. I also happen to be someone that reads and I know about hermaphrodites. It happens and…What are they suppose to choose? Again, what two adults choose to do is their business in my book, and also in my reading, I read Barbara Lewis’ Free and Female. And that is what convinced me, though others don’t have to share my beliefs, that females are the superior sex.
Men have parts on their body that don’t really work. I.e. Nipples. Pleasure points, but the reason for that is, that everyone starts out female and then goes through what is called an estrogen bath and that determines their sex.
So again, I don’t care what someones preference is. My world is good people, bad people, and I for one am happy that things are changing. So those who have different preferences, than say myself, can live freely because so many have died; been killed; or ostracized simply for being who they are.
It’s throughout history…Can you share one of your poems because that is something else I consider myself as well, a poet, and I was hoping you could share the one that inspired me to bring this up.
Lord Help shelter me from this cold
Help me to uphold
A pure moral code
Lead me away from
My delight in sin
Restore pure light within my soul
Open my eyes to a better way
PLEASE do not condemn me for being gay
I’m an abomination before you this is true
I find happiness and truth in you…
By Shea Harris
All rights reserved
Shea Harris: I enjoy activities like skiing, surfing and skateboarding. I find riding horses without a saddle to be a great work out. My favorite low impact year-round activity is hiking. My favorite meal is actually blending a bunch of leafy vegetables, a beet or two, and a platter of various fruits.
Chase Von: Who are some of the people you admire and look up to in the music world, poetic world and just the world in general Shea?
Shea Harris: In the music world, I’d have to say: Tracy Chapman, Ani DiFranco, Lynx and Willie Nelson.
In the poetry world, I am inspired by: Wade Newsome, Ronnie Lee Daise, and Lemon Anderson, who I got the chance to read alongside and listen to in Carbondale, CO.
In the general world, I admire all who have taught me valuable lessons. Those who have, at one time or another, mentored me: Autumn Hollyfield, Laura Janes, Lauri Burns, my favorite Captain Susie Campbell, Annie MacAulay, etc.
Chase Von: How important are dreams to you? And what would you say if you were standing before a microphone that could be heard by every child on the planet, and regardless of what language they spoke, they would understand you? What positive advice would you give the children, if that were possible?
Shea Harris: Dreams are everything, but without deadlines are pretty useless I feel. Be you, shine, know that you can do anything, achieve your own greatness with hard work and perseverance. We are all beautiful and no flower in a forest compares itself to another flower, so just be you and grow!
Shea Harris: Wow. Well, I would fulfill my dream which is to open in every state, starting with the U.S., a living and vocational training facility that will house former and current homeless foster youth. An academy, if you will, without a religious bias that would teach subjects such as bio-diesel tech, solar and wind tech, sustainable agriculture and other sustainable vocations. Ideally, partnering with companies who would help certify and employ these former, foster youth.
Jessica Gilbert: What is one of your favorite quotes (or lines) that inspires you?
Shea Harris: “All my life was spent like a dreamer, I worked to make my dreams come true…I need you like the flowers need they need dew, baby here I am there are you.”
Those are lyrics my mother Sherry wrote when she passed; I forgot all of her, except the sound of her voice when she sang. Music can truly immortalize people.
There is much to be said about the lyrics she wrote. I believe we all need like flowers, to be nurtured a little in order to grow, and we must work to actualize our dreams.
Chase Von: Can you share any of your web pages or places where people can find you to learn more about you?
Shea Harris: They can find me here, Chase, and catch my posts and updates on FB as well. (Smile).
Chase Von: Wishing you mountains of success Shea and I’m looking forward to hearing your audio interview with Judyth Piazza! Blessings to you, and do keep in touch, and thanks again for sharing yourself with our readers here at the SOP!
Shea Harris: Thank you Chase and I too look forward to interviewing with Judyth Piazza. Many blessings to you. Much thanks to SOP for having me.
Jessica Gilbert: And I wish you nothing but the very best of luck with everything in the future! Keep shining and being YOU.
Shea Harris: Thank you so very much, Jessica!