Signing Story: Jason Hawk Harris

Los Angeles-based Jason Hawk Harris tried to veer away from his country roots in a pretty extreme way. He studied classical music composition at a small liberal arts college in La Mirada. “I thought that was going to be my career,” says Harris, “but my childhood growing up with country and Americana just caught up with me.”

Harris had been in bands for a few years, most recently The Show Ponies, before going solo. While attending the Folk Alliance International Conference in Kansas City last year, he played a showcase (accompanied by friends on dobro and bass), which caught the ear of folks from Bloodshot Records. “I was familiar with Bloodshot; they shared a booking agent with my previous band, but I didn’t know they were there that night. Honestly, I happened to kill it at that showcase!”

“We talked back and forth for about nine months, flirting I guess,” says Harris “Bloodshot is not a numbers kind of label, where they throw a bunch of stuff against a wall to see what sticks. They vetted me to make sure I was a fit.”

In May, Harris went on the road with another Bloodshot artist, Sarah Shook and the Disarmers. They connected, and Shook recommended to Bloodshot that the label sign Harris. “I got the offer in the middle of October, the record I had been working on was finished, and it seemed like the right move.” His manager at the time also served as his attorney to negotiate the contracts, which Harris describes as “artist friendly.”

How does his classical music composition training influence his country career? “It enhances it in some ways,” he says, “but it makes me deficient in being able to write with other people. Classical music composition is very much a solo occupation. But I’m working on it!”

Why doesn’t this country artist live in Nashville? “I like Nashville, but I like what’s going on here in LA with country. Los Angeles likes country, but LA artists also like messing with it a little bit, and that’s more my speed.”

Harris advises artists looking to make a career of their craft not to focus on getting signed to a label. “Attention to detail before you get a label, or a manager, or a booking agent is paramount to getting you those things. Stop trying to be cool, stop trying to be relevant. Just focus on making the best music you can make.”

Date Signed: Nov. 19, 2018
Label: Bloodshot Records
Band Members: Jason Hawk Harris
Type of Music: Americana/Country
Management: N/A
Booking: N/A
Legal: Erin Jacobsen, Esq.
Publicity: Josh Zanger, Bloodshot Records
Web: jasonhawkharris.com
A&R: N/A