By Levi Gogerla
Angela Harris has been writing and performing Alt-country and Americana tunes professionally for over 26 years. British Columbia born, Harris decided at an early age to pack her bags and head to Nashville Tennessee. Her guitar and daughter in tow she had dreams of making it as a songwriter in Music City, U.S.A.
Not one to sacrifice her authenticity and sound, Harris turned down a lucrative record deal which might have forced her to adopt a more pop-friendly country sound. A difficult decision for a single mother, but ultimately one she made adamantly to be true to her form.
“I really wanted to stay true to my art,” Harris says. “So in 2001 I chose to follow a different path and pursued a more folk orientated route, writing in what would now be recognized as Americana. I was writing in a form to develop my career, but what was really driving me was the fact that my music was an outlet for me to work through the things that I needed working on in my life – a therapeutic outlet – and a way of expressing exactly what was happening in my life and through my experiences.”
Harris’s newest and possibly most vulnerable record to date, A Woman Like Me, reveals a mature writer’s sensibility honed through years of dedication to storytelling and her craft. One of the biggest reasons Harris shaped the new record was to sit down with her emotions and choose to start a journey of healing and recovery. At 47, Harris found herself in a place where she needed to wield her armour and face her demons head-on. The recordings help reinforce her ability. She hopes these tracks may help empower the listener while shining a light that’s bright enough to put things like depression and anxiety, both of which have previously plagued her, to rest at last.
“Some of the songs that made it onto the album were just meant for me – they were never meant to be shared when originally written,” Harris says. “’Still,’ for example, was a song I never meant to share with anyone. It was a way for me to work through a time in my life where I felt love in a very deep way. One in which I hadn’t really let myself feel for someone before due to trust issues and trauma that I’ve endured in my life. What I learned a few weeks after writing ‘Still,’ and going back and listening to the demo, was that what I discovered was the power of true love and its unconditional nature.”
Harris is crafting music from an inspired and motivated place. She doesn’t feel restricted by her Americana roots, choosing to cherish the diversity of folk sensibility. Whether she embraces bluegrass or her classic country upbringing, A Woman Like Me continues to stick to Harris’s longstanding and cherished authenticity, while creating art true to her unique and developed sound.
Featured Image by Eric Alper