Grammy-Winning Singer and Songwriter
Combining shuddering, groove-laden funky soul and folky, handcrafted acoustics, singer/songwriter Ben Harper cultivated a cult following during the course of the ’90s that gained full fruition toward the end of the decade. Harper combined elements of classic singer/songwriters, blues revivalists, Jimi Hendrix, and ’90s jam bands like Blues Traveler, Hootie & the Blowfish, and Phish,…
Combining shuddering, groove-laden funky soul and folky, handcrafted acoustics, singer/songwriter Ben Harper cultivated a cult following during the course of the ’90s that gained full fruition toward the end of the decade.
Harper combined elements of classic singer/songwriters, blues revivalists, Jimi Hendrix, and ’90s jam bands like Blues Traveler, Hootie & the Blowfish, and Phish, which meant that he was embraced by critics and college kids alike. Though he never had a hit album, his body of work sold consistently and he toured constantly, building a solid, dedicated fan base.
A native of California, Harper grew up listening to blues, folk, soul, R&B, and reggae. As a child, he started playing guitar, and began to perform regularly as a preteen. During his adolescence, he began playing acoustic slide guitar, which would eventually become his signature instrument. After steady gigging in the Los Angeles area, Harper scored a deal with Virgin Records in 1992. He released his debut album, Welcome to the Cruel World, two years later to positive reviews.
Released in 1995, the politically-heavy Fight for Your Mind made for a strong sophomore effort, an obvious growth in musical experimentation and individual declamation. Harper’s third album, 1997’s The Will to Live, pushed his blues-oriented alternative folk into the middle mainstream, becoming a mainstay at college radio and making inroads at adult alternative radio. Recorded over two years of touring in support of Fight for Your Mind, The Will to Live introduced the Innocent Criminals, Harper’s supporting band. The Innocent Criminals — who are bassist Juan Nelson, drummer Dean Butterworth, and percussionist David Leach — solidified Harper’s musical rhythms and emotional diversity.
Aside from working on his own material, Ben Harper has built a strong rapport with other artists, playing guest spots on records by Beth Orton, John Lee Hooker, and Government Mule. He played 1997’s and 1999’s Tibetan Freedom Concerts, and opened for R.E.M., Radiohead, Metallica, Pearl Jam, and the Fugees. Harper’s career gained momentum throughout 1998-1999. His most successful album thus far, 1999’s Burn to Shine blended Harper’s fondness of ’20s jazz compositions and urban beatboxing, resulting in a clever and passionate collection of songs. “Steal My Kisses” and “Suzie Blue” were radio favorites, landing him two headlining world tours and an opening spot on the Dave Matthews Band’s summer trek of 2000. In spring 2001, Harper issued Live from Mars, a double disc of live electric and acoustic material spanning the previous year’s tour and including covers of material by Led Zeppelin, the Verve, and Marvin Gaye.
When it came to recording his fifth studio effort, Harper went back to his drawing board of life’s pleasure and pain. He’d circled the world countless times and naturally, he brashly sang about it on the worldbeat-inspired Diamonds On the Inside, which appeared in March 2003. After a European tour withthe Blind Boys of Alabama in 2004, the two acts entered the studio together and laid down ten tracks in two different sessions at Capitol Records basement stuidios. The resulting collaborative album issued under both names, There WIl Be a Light, was released in September of 2004.
Ernie was perfect for our Elders Conference at Little River Casino Resort in Manistee, Michigan. We will definitely be using PDA again!
LITTLE RIVER BAND OF OTTAWA INDIANS
Our speaker was great and the crowd enjoyed her! She was very engaging. Thank you again PDA for the great list of suggestions!
Everything went great! and our speaker was wonderful! Thank you so much for all your help PDA! Looking forward to the next one.
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI – KANSAS CITY
I hope that this message finds you well. We had a phenomenal time with Atsuko this past Thursday. We wanted to just let you know how amazing she was. All those that were in attendance thoroughly enjoyed her and had nothing but amazing things to say about her. Thank you for working with us to make sure this happened!
BAYLOR UNIVERSITY CAMPUS
We had a fantastic day with Inge! She was very engaging with all those that attended. Her personal stories about the holocaust were very special and we were moved that she was willing to share them with everyone. Thank you again, PDA for all your hard work and dedication to make this program such a success!
SALT LAKE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Dear PDA Group, Thank you so much for your hard work in scheduling our speaker! From the moment we reached out to you the first time, you worked with us on all details and logistics and kept us up-to-date on the progress. Thank you for all your hard work on making our event such a success! We couldn't have done it without you and your team!
Thank you again, Dr. Kimbrough, for a great presentation, our attendees are still talking about it!
Dr. Henry Lee's presentation was entertaining, insightful and wise. I, and everyone at Pfizer, especially appreciate the remarks you directed about following your passion and preparing yourself to excel. Thank you, everyone, at PDA for helping to make this happen!
The event was successful! I received many messages expressing how awesome, outstanding and inspiring Ms. Webb-Christburg's speech was."
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. MEMORIAL BREAKFAST, BOSTON, MLK SPEAKER
Everything went well. Atsuko was very easy to work with and the students enjoyed her performance! Thank you again for your recommendation and I hope to work with you again in the future!
CENTRAL MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Dr. Novello left this morning after a very successful event on our campus! Thank you PDA Group for your help from the first phone to the last you were with us every step of the way.
GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY
Jordan Carlos was very very entertaining! A majority of students who answered the event survey indicated they really enjoyed Jordan and definitely will bring him back!
WESTERN CAROLINA UNIVERSITY
On behalf of myself and my organization Entertainment Unlimited the Campus Programming Board of Ferris State University, we thank you PDA and Dan for a successful event!! Dan was magnificent! Students really enjoyed the presentation. I know I did. Can't wait to bring in more programs with PDA Group.
FERRIS STATE UNIVERSITY
It was a great pleasure to work with PDA Group! The communication was always prompt, friendly and helpful. We loved the speakers and events we booked through Mr. Peter Walker (PDA Group).
WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Thank you, Peter, for all your help, you'll be happy to know that the event went incredibly well! Aneesa Ferreira was by far one of the best speakers we've ever had!
An Evening With Ben Harper
Ben Harper - One Hour Live Acoustic
Ben Harper - Hallelujah (live)
1 HOUR OR LESS