Music Journeys: Jack Harris
Jack Harris performs frequently in the Columbus and Cleveland areas. He's part of the lineup for the August 28-29 WonderBus Music & Arts Festival, which promotes music and mental health. In this edition of Music Journeys, Harris shares how music helps him with anxiety. Thanks for listening.
For 21-year-old Jack Harris, writing and recording the song Drowning a couple years ago represented his first attempt at expressing his experience with anxiety.
"It is a constant process, and it is important to just talk about it," Harris said of mental health. "In the beginning for me when I was starting to struggle with anxiety, it helped a lot to put it into words and develop a better relationship with those emotions and sort of lifting up this mysterious wall that is between you and your emotions by just talking about it."
Hold On To Me plays...
From singing in school choirs, taking piano lessons, and playing the violin, music certainly shaped Harris' life, but the creative process kicked in when he discovered GarageBand on the family computer.
"I would just make beats and mess around with creating melodies," Harris recalled. "That sort of spiraled into, once I learned guitar, writing and finishing songs and learning to express myself through those."
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"Throughout my life, I moved to a lot of different schools and places and in that process, I feel like I started withdrawing myself and putting up a bit of a wall between myself and others and being a bit anxious to fully open myself to people," Harris said. "I was being too worried about things that didn't necessarily matter that much but seemed to matter a lot. I did find help talking with counselors, family and friends. It's still a very dynamic process."
The Julia Michaels song Anxiety resonated so much with Harris that he crafted his own version of the song with lyrics that reflected his experience.
"There are multiple ways that music has helped me mentally," Harris said. "There's the listening side, where it warms your heart to hear somebody express a similar experience that you're having. Quite often you can feel isolated and alone. Then on the artist side, just playing music has this mysterious effect on the brain. When I'm playing music, it's a way to escape and release some built-up tension. Some days when I'm feeling down, I pick up my guitar and either write or sing. It's almost like when you cry, it releases something. Music is my way of crying and letting everything out. There's a third way that music has impacted my mental health, and that's being a live performer. I was anxious to be in front of people and to be vulnerable and to speak. So having a guitar and a microphone and standing in front of people and doing something I feel confident in and good at has alleviated some anxiety from my life. Each time I play music for people, it's just another outlet for helping with my mental health."
Thousand Degrees plays...
Harris has been creative over the last several months. Thousand Degrees came from a collaboration with Columbus artist Anto. Before that he worked with Siena Bella on the track For The Night.
For The Night plays...
Harris also made a statement on the current times with the track No One Listens.
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"It was my first attempt at trying to make a comment on how people act in this world where we're so tied to technology and social media," Harris recalled. "The line came to me 'no one listens' because everyone's busy looking at what's on their phones. I'm always going to be expressing myself through songs and always writing new songs. I just hope I can create something out of it, where others can hear my music and take something away from it. I hope to one day be able to travel around and share my music with people who connect with it."
Harris also drew inspiration from his father Greg, who serves as president and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland. One of the great lessons learned from his dad - follow your passion and trust that good things will come out of hard work.
For more information about Jack Harris, visit jackharrissongs.com
For more information about WonderBus, visit wonderbusfest.com
For mental health, visit Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Health
For mental health resources in Franklin County, visit franklincountyohio.crediblemind.com