Interview: Ben Harper


Averaging around 200 shows a year, the 34-year-old Harper is constantly on the move. Before his four-date Japan tour next month, he’ll perform songs from last year’s release, “Diamonds on the Inside,” on the radio in Paris and on TV in New York, including slots on “Late Night with David Letterman” and “The Late Show with Conan O’Brian.”

A schedule like his would strike fear in the vocal chords of some artists, but Harper embraces it. He believes in putting himself into situations where you “sing your ass off or sink.”

One such situation, he said, was participating in the 2002 R&B documentary “Standing in the Shadows of Motown,” where he performed alongside Chaka Khan, Gerald LeVert and Me’Shell NdegeOcello.

Harper said the constant touring has had a big influence on his voice. Recent recording opportunities with gospel icons the Five Blind Boys of Alabama also affected his singing style, he says, but it was the touring that made him grow. “That’s what’s pushed [my voice] to where it is. That’s absolutely what’s brought it to the point of where I’m discovering new confidence. I’m just coming into my own as far as discovering my voice and where it can go.”

Read the full interview at The Japan Times Online.

Harper pushing himself to a higher plane | The Japan Times Online

About Jason Andrew Jenkins

In 1997, Jason left his home near Atlanta for a year abroad. He liked it so much that he never went back. After three years in Taiwan and 13 years in Japan, he and his wife quit their desk jobs in Tokyo, pulled their kids out of local schools and traveled as a family for six years, living in Malaysia, Spain, and Mexico along the way. They returned to Japan — Osaka this time — in the summer of 2019. Jason loves Google Maps, carry-on luggage, and most dishes registering on the Scoville scale.
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