Sound Nook Session: My Name Is Harriett

The Prospector recently had a visit from a local artist, “My Name Is Harriett”. Harriett works as a private counselor at the Community Preparatory School (CPS), but has another job as a loop artist.

Harriett, as a loop artist, has songs that aren’t exactly the same for each performance, because she loops them real time. She plays violin, though not just for melody. She uses it for percussion too. While with the Prospector, she played some of her favorite songs before the equipment stopped working. She did have some time to answer some questions, and give her background.

The Prospector: If you had a chance to drop everything and pursue just your music would you?

Harriett: I have done that before. It was good. I didn’t tour much, as far as solo work is concerned. But, I was in a duet, and we traveled around the country. It worked out well. But if you’re asking if i want to become famous, sure. Everybody wants to be considered great among their peers and feel like you’ve done this great job. But, I don’t know. More and more I don’t really think that’s what I need. I don’t really think I needed it much before either.

The Prospector: If you had to choose between the two, your counseling job at CPS or your music, which would you choose? Like maybe it was too much of a schedule conflict.

Harriett: Well, I’ve set up my life exactly how I want it to be. I mean, CPS was not a job where I, like, worked on a masters* and tried really hard to get this job. I just have a job. It’s not really something I can pull apart, not something I could really choose between. It feels like they serve each other, in some way. But, I guess I’d have to go for constant money. I mean, you always have music. You can play music any time you want to.

The Prospector: What is your background? How did you get into looping?

Harriett: Well, like I said I was in a duo, and I just thought it was really boring. That was when i was just getting into the music scene. Yeah, I was just playing my violin, doing some harmonies and I was kind of freaked out. Then this other lady, she’s playing the guitar and singing. Then people kept on saying we needed more people in the band, and I didn’t want to work with anyone else. So a friend of mine suggested looping to me, and let me borrow his RC2*. So I just started filling out the music. You know, giving everything more texture, bassline, drum- a beat. So that’s really were that started. then from there, I just realized I really liked playing by myself, it’s more fun that way.

The Prospector: For either the two songs that we heard today what is the story for those?

Harriett: Most of my songs are about, well, disappointment in my relationships. The second one, Mauger, that I played today. It started off as this sweet little love song, and I sang it to the boy. Then he “did me wrong”, and so I turned it around, yeah, I got pretty angry. It goes “So you’ll learn everything there is to know about the back of my head, and the swagger of my gait as I walk away.” Well, I think that’s pretty easy to understand.

The Prospector: Did you have anyone that influenced you along your way as a starting up artist?

Harriett: Well, I love Nina Simone, and will forever. Yurk, definitely.  And all these people, I love. I’m sure that there are men too. Like, I was really into Glenn Hansard, for a minute. Just because- well he’s cool too- but he’s got this thing where he explodes, and screams at the ends of songs. I wanted to capture that, i wanted to grab the momentum he gets in a song, so I started screaming too. It feels really good. It’s my favorite part. I once played a show for New Years Eve, and their were a lot of old people there, at least at the beginning. I was yelling, and they loved it! They just thought I was the bee’s-knees. So, it’s not too bad. It’s not screaming to the extent that you want to pull your eyeballs out.

The Propector: What do you expect for your future with your two jobs?

Harriett: I know I will keep teaching privately. I guess, I might play more shows, again. But really the scene is so silly, and I’ve played everywhere so I don’t know.