Catching up with Kim Harris: 2015’s Rising Star ECMA Winner

Lukas catches up with Kim for a look back and forward on her year.

Despite just being awarded the East Coast Music Award for Rising Star Recording of the Year, singer/songwriter Kim Harris’ star has been on the rise for quite a while.

A Corner Brook native, Harris began singing from an early age and grew up studying classical music and performing in Rotary Music Festivals before attending the Glenn Gould School in Toronto. But studying to become an opera singer quickly became unfulfilling for Harris and she left the program. After settling in Halifax for a few years, Harris found her way back to being a performer. “I became aware that I was miserable with the lack of music in my life and was able to navigate a new way into it by writing my own songs,” she says.

Inspired by fellow singer/songwriters in Halifax like Amelia Curran and Jenn Grant, Harris set to work on her own music, and released what she describes as a “simple EP” in 2011. She first debuted those songs for a live audience during the 2012’s In the Dead of Winter Festival, and started performing more and more often. “Lovely fellow musicians had me open shows and sing in their bands until it seemed like I was on every stage in Halifax one way or another,” says Harris.

As for being stationed in Halifax, Harris says “I love Newfoundland. It will always be my home, but there was a freedom to being away as well. I felt like I fit in Halifax and now that I’m a musician here, there’s a beautiful community that I belong to.”

These musical experiences and numerous performances led Harris to the recording of her full-length debut Only The Mighty, released in the winter of 2014. Recorded in Port Howe with the guidance of producer Dale Murray, Harris set out to make a bold record that built on tunes she’d written over a lengthy period of time. The resulting record is a lush mix of piano and guitars, while showcasing the singer’s striking and soulful vocals, all wrapped in a tasteful sense of melody.

Only The Mighty also garnered Harris this year’s ECMA in the Rising Star category.  “East Coast Music Week this year was phenomenal,” she says. “I played a showcase at The Ship with the warmest crowd around, and I received the Rising Star Recording of the Year in my home province. There’s not much more a girl could ask for.”

Currently, Harris is writing music for her next record and preparing for summer performances. She will be setting out on a short Eastern Canadian tour, before visiting the Regina Folk Festival for her first shows in Western Canada.

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