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Ben Harper talks new album, working with Charlie Musselwhite (Includes interview)

This album is a collaborative musical effort with veteran blues musician Charlie Musselwhite. “Once we kicked the door open with the first album, it was clear that we were going to make as much music together as humanly possible,” Harper said.

On his songwriting approach for this forthcoming album, he said, “Songwriting for me, can be a day-to-day process, and it is a burst of energy and ideas that come all at once, which is like a gift. Charlie gave me the center of the circle. With him in mind, all kinds of fun things happen, and it definitely led the charge in my songwriting. Working with Charlie is like coming home. It was something I was born to do, and one of the most comfortable working environments I have ever been a part of.”

Regarding the key to longevity in the music industry, Harper said, “Having the discipline to never be intimidated by silence or a blank page. Playing live is better than not playing live. Finally, only listen to criticism from people you trust. Everyone else, has other motives.”

Throughout his career in the music industry, Harper won three Grammy awards. “That felt great. What a privilege. It is voted upon by your peers, so that is the ultimate stamp of approval. I cherish them,” he said.

For aspiring musicians, he said, “Read as much as you write. Read newspapers, read books, read biographies, and read fiction. Don’t be scared to put too much of yourself out there. Get as raw and honest as you can. Take chances, since some of the most fun I’ve had in songwriting is a result of taking chances. Write something that hasn’t been written. There are no rules to songwriting. Write your heart out, and don’t stop.”

Harper defined the word success as “continually loving what you are doing.”

On June 8, 9 and 10, Harper and Musselwhite will be performing together at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City, which he is really looking forward to.

Digital transformation of music business

On the impact of technology in the music business, Harper said, “Technology is great for sharing music, and I think it’s bad for the artist as far as fairness for compensation.”

In his music routine, Harper shared that he uses the computer, especially Pro Tools 11. “That’s where we recorded this record on, and we have a lot of vintage gear and vintage microphones. We combined the old with the new, to give it a modern feel with older textures as well,” he explained.

No Mercy In This Land is available for pre-order on iTunes.

To learn more about Ben Harper and his 2018 touring schedule with Charlie Musselwhite, check out his official homepage.

Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 15,000 original articles over the past 15 years. He is a consecutive five-time "Best of Long Island" winner that has won such categories as "Best Author," "Best Blogger," "Best Poet," "Best Twitter Account" and the coveted "Best Long Island Personality" twice.

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