Harvest On Creating Songs that Are "Fire Hydrants of Feelings Directed toward Jesus"
Atlanta-based singer, songwriter Harvest is unveiling Preachers (GoForth Sounds, Heritage Music) today. The self-taught pianist delivers a bold collection of nine songs that bypass the need for louder, bigger and technical. With piano and string orchestration by The Brilliance along with the drive and passion of producer, Daniel Bashta, this album invokes a raw, yet reverent response that deconstructs surface level worship. Mixed by GRAMMY® award winner, engineer Darrell Thorp, every song is a sermon that invades the heart.
At the age of 16, Harvest thought she would be a preacher. The more she performed, the more she began seeing music and songwriting as instruments in and of themselves to do what she longed to do - that is, to preach. With her dark, metallic voice set against the soothing sound of strings, Harvest creates simple, haunting melodies that hit the heart and remain there found on songs including "Anchor," "There Is A Peace," "Pursuit" and more.
Preachers marks Harvest's debut with Heritage Music, and the continuation of a fruitful, though unexpected journey.
Q: Thanks so much for doing this interview with us. Let's start with yourself, who is Harvest?
Harvest is 28 years old, an Atlanta resident, a dog lover, and book reader. I thrive on rainy days and afternoon naps. My favorite thing to do is to go see movies and drink coffee. I am inspired by history and love any and every kind of documentary I can't watch. Oh yeah, and I sing.
Q: I was just listening to your new record. You have a very unique sound. How would you describe your style of music?
Who would you say influence you in shaping your sound? First and foremost, its worship. You can put a lot of labels on it like indie, independent, ambient, alternative but i really hoped the sound would be a collection of all the things that move me and I enjoy. I grew up in the dawn of modern worship when corporate Jesus music was taking over churches. Delirious, Matt Redman, Vineyard, Soul Survivor, Lindell Cooley, Kevin Prosch, Darrel Evans, David Ruis. Don Potter, Leonard Jones...The list goes on and on. I listened to these guys for most of my childhood and I would say shaped me for prophetic, corporate worship. Notice there were no female voices I really connected with until, the unstoppable Rita Springer entered my world. I never wanted to sing but I always kept in the back of my head that if I DID sing I wanted a strong, deep, trumpet of a voice like hers. After that I just looked for anyone that was different, Jason Upton, Misty Edwards, and a guy named Daniel Bashta.
Q: Why did you entitle this new record Preachers? It's a pretty unusual album title.
I'm glad it caught your attention! Preachers is a tribute to the two witnesses (preachers) mentioned in Revelation 11. Go read it! It also is a reference to a childhood dream that I had before singing came into the picture. Honestly, I never actually wanted to be a singer. I never wrote songs, never dreamed of a music career, and definitely did not practice with a hairbrush in front of a mirror! I really didn't realize it could even be a possibility until I was 16 years old and was forced to sing in a prayer meeting.
As a kid, I would line up my stuffed animals and play church - complete with sermons, salvations, and baptisms. I knew I wanted to do something great for God (and I made sure and told Him every youth altar call I responded to!). I grew up listening to great preachers, and I wanted to be one of them. It felt like a worthy thing to give my life to. It's funny that what God puts in your heart as a kid can actually really happen. My understanding is that singing is actually preaching, so now I get to do both all over the world!
Q: I believe the Brilliance is also a part of the new record. Tell us about their involvement.
If you have not listened to their music, stop reading this and go listen! Well, I guess you can finish this first. The real tracking of this album happened in New York City, where David Gungor and John Ardnt were waiting to impart their "brilliance." They were given the raw, rough drafts of the songs and kind of like God in the creation story, they said, "Let there be!" And it was good. It was very good! The piano is the pulse for the entire album, and the strings are the . . . connective tissue? Whatever it is, the album would not be what it is without them.
Q: What are you most excited about this album?
My biggest hope is that when people listen they would feel SOMETHING. I am emotional, and feelings are fascinating to me. Feelings of joy, pain, loneliness, loss, grief, contentment, hope. These are the main things I felt while recording this album, and I hope when people listen, it will open up a fire hydrant of feelings directed toward Jesus. The reviews of people that have listened so far have made me the most excited, as I feel like what I wanted was accomplished.
Q: Daniel Bashta is not only your producer/songwriter, but he's also your brother. What was it like growing up together? Did the two of you often write songs together when you were growing up?
My family has always been intense, radical, and different. There are five children - Daniel is the oldest boy, and I am the youngest child. My parents were very musical, and they made sure everyone had some kind of weekly music lesson. Daniel started playing the violin at an early age and that led to drums, guitar, keys, and writing songs. There is an eight-year gap in our ages, and we honestly really didn't connect musically until I was 20. He didn't even know I could sing! He lived in Atlanta; I lived in Chicago. One day he heard me sing "Song of the Lamb" while visiting home, and the rest is history. There is a connection when we worship together. I love creating, leading, singing, writing, and traveling with him. We are best friends!
Q: You have also chosen to cover one of your brother's songs. Why did you pick "Pursuit"?
I'm not just saying this because he is my brother, but I really do think he is the greatest songwriter the Church has right now. Two out of the four songs that I lead at any given time are always a Daniel Bashta original. I just connect with them. The song, "Pursuit," has a lot of meaning in my life right now, so it just fit. Any future album I come out with will always have one of his songs on it. The world needs to hear!
Q: My favorite song off the new album is "Costly." When and how did you yourself first came to know the costly love of our Savior?
I'm glad "Costly" is getting some recognition! I experienced Jesus at an early age and since then, the experience has gotten stronger and deeper. There is the early warm, fuzzy feelings of Jesus that you can have, but as I grow older, the self-sacrificing, committed, costly love of Jesus is what will keep me fascinated forever. I don't deserve anything. My sin made me an enemy with God. Yet He chose a demonstration of love through sacrifice of Himself. It's the greatest love story on earth!
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