Jennifer Harper’s rich voice and intimate lyrics evoke a 1970’s flower-child spirit, with a fresh layer of pop-rock, reminiscent of Carole King, Carly Simon and Sheryl Crow. Produced by Haim Cotton and Tal Bergman, her latest EP, All The Love, navigates love through its various expressions, whether it be celebratory, hopeful, mysterious or gentle.
Raised in Washington DC in a musical family, Harper studied classical piano from a young age. She taught herself to play songs she heard by The Beatles, Cat Stevens and Simon & Garfunkel. And as a teenager, she was drawn into the alternative venues and reggae clubs. Political rallies at the time made the deepest impressions on the artist. “I saw how music was being used to change things,” Harper said. And she wanted in. She was inspired by strong female voices of the ‘80s, like Annie Lennox and Chrissie Hynde. The raw intimacy of Tracy Chapman’s voice and lyrics gave her the strength to be an artist true to her own experiences.
Harper moved to New York City to attend Barnard College, and she immersed herself in the theater, music and dance worlds. It was then that she met former A&R man, writer and producer of the original Four Tops, Roquel “Billy” Davis. “He was my mentor,” said Harper. “He showed me that I was a songwriter. He’d play little pieces of music he’d written that had no words and say, ‘Sing along! Turn this into a song.’ He threw me into the fire, and I liked that.” He urged her to develop her music and ignited her career.
She began participating in programs with the Songwriters Hall of Fame and Songwriters Circle, performing in venues like The Cutting Room and The Bitter End in NYC. She also lent her voice to culture festivals and conferences geared towards encouraging women and other artists. “It’s ingrained in me to work for the greater good. To inspire hope and courage in others: as a musician, a mom of three and as a human being.”
All the Love is Harper’s second studio project. During production, Harper says that she was particularly moved by the words of the poet and peace activist Daisaku Ikeda: “Savor a profound and satisfying life — free from all regret.” This message gave her a renewed sense of mission, especially after the loss of her father.
On the EP, Harper’s voice shines alongside some all-star contributors, which includes producer and drummer Tal Bergman (Billy Idol, Simple Minds, Rod Stewart), pianist Haim Cotton (Danny Lerman, Ofra Haza, Lipstick Jungle), guitarist Dean Parks (Stevie Wonder, Madonna, Michael Jackson) and bassists Darryl Jones (Rolling Stones, Miles Davis, Sting) and Bob Glaub (Stevie Nicks, Carole King, Jackson Browne). The addition of an 11-piece string ensemble creates a cinematic feel on the hauntingly beautiful track “Let Me In” and adds a vibrant twist to Harper’s Rolling Stones-influenced track “Little White Lies.”
Harper has been performing throughout the New York City area in support of her new EP. She has performed at many popular music venues, including Rockwood Music Hall, The Cutting Room, The Fez, Stella Blues, The Acoustic and The Bitter End. In addition, Harper has been a featured guest on local radio stations, such as WHUD 100.7 FM, WXCI 91.7 FM, WPKN 89.5 FM and has performed on the popular morning show, “CT Style,” on WTNH Channel 8 in Connecticut. She has also made recent debuts at Jammin’ Java in Vienna, VA, World Cafe Live in Philadelphia and The Mint in L.A.
Check out Jennifer Harper’s debut EP, All the Love, available on iTunes and other online retail sites.
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