Ben Harper
singer-songwriter and musician
Ben Harper
Benjamin Chase "Ben" Harper is an American singer-songwriter and musician. Harper plays an eclectic mix of blues, folk, soul, reggae and rock music and is known for his guitar-playing skills, vocals, live performances and activism. Harper's fan base spans several continents. His albums have been commercially successful in North America, Europe and Oceania.
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Leonard Cohen's Favorite Greek Singer: Athena Andreadis
Huffington Post - 23 days
Many years ago while visiting Greece, Leonard Cohen was asked who his favorite Greek singer was. "Athena," he replied without hesitation. While making his final CD, "You Want It Darker," Cohen found out that Athena had moved to Los Angeles and immediately asked her to sing the chorus of his song "Traveling Light." Before moving to Los Angeles, Athena had been on a dynamic trajectory in Europe releasing three albums and performing at the Glastonbury Festival, Royal Festival Hall and throughout France and Greece. The Guardian called her "brave and original" and The Daily Mail wrote that Athena was "Radiating class and oodles of talent... a voice blessed... this rare diamond ought to shine." Here in the U.S., Billboard hailed her as "a talented rising pop star" with "a voice blessed." Produced by Ethan Allen, Athena's debut U.S. CD "Ready for the Sun" features studio greats Adam Levy (Norah Jones), Deron Johnson (Miles Davis), Jimmy Paxson (Stevie Nicks), Michael Ward (Ben Harpe ...
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Huffington Post article
Ahead of a show with the L.A. Phil, Ben Harper discusses his favorite musical collaborations
LATimes - 6 months
“Collaborations are a commitment to being willing to grow,” says Ben Harper. “You only grow in situations where you surrender to the unknown.” The guy knows what he’s talking about: A singer, songwriter and guitarist acclaimed for his rootsy blend of blues, soul, folk, rock and reggae, Harper has...
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LATimes article
Tenkara On Small Streams: Teaching Kids Fly Fishing, Respect for Conservation and a Mother's Love
Huffington Post - 9 months
Image Credit: Blair Smith My girls were waiting in the car. I slid in the driver's seat and directed my voice to the back, over the Shovels & Rope album playing: "Girls, I don't know what today will bring. I don't even really know where we are going. All I know, it will be an adventure." We set off towards a gorge outside of Floyd, Virginia. I hiked the trail through the gorge last fall. It was brutal and not for my girls. There's an off road parking area that can be seen from the trail near primitive camping sites and the stream. That was our destination. Image Credit: Blair Smith A few albums later, with the side of our car plastered in sunflower seed hulls, I saw the sign. There it was. I pointed it out to the girls: "Look, the 'end state maintenance' sign. That means we are close." We parked and threw our pack together: the water-filled Platypus, Nikon, Go Pro, and tenkara tackle. I don't have much gear. We keep it simple. It doesn't take much anyway. We al ...
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Huffington Post article
Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals On World Cafe
NPR - 10 months
Hear why now was the right time for Harper to reunite with his longtime backing band.
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NPR article
Watch Ben Harper Perform 'Shine' Live In The Studio
NPR - 10 months
Harper's backing band, The Innocent Criminals, adds dynamism to this live performance.
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NPR article
Ben Harper gets the band back together, with feeling
Yahoo News - 11 months
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, "Call It What It Is" (Stax Records)
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Yahoo News article
Lost Soul</em>: Reintroducing Bob Hillman, Chats with Peter Case, Maia Sharp and Ben Caplan, Plus Alphanaut, Sit Kitty Sit and Butchers Blind's Exclusives
Huffington Post - over 1 year
ALPHANAUT'S "UNNECESSARY SOLDIER" According to Mark Alan, aka Alphanaut... "The term 'Unnecessary Soldier' comes from Thomas Jefferson's vision for keeping military costs controlled in the US by reducing the number of soldiers employed in times of peace. This idea stuck in my head for years, especially in our current age where we've done the complete opposite of what he hoped for. "With this title I wanted to create an anti-war piece, but really struggled with an approach. I felt there are so may classic protest songs out there and I didn't want to duplicate a message that had already been delivered. Plus I had already written my own anti-war song 'More Than I Do' several years earlier. "In the end, I decided to write a lyric that was told from soldier to soldier, human to human, each with an agreement to throw down arms and ignore the machines of conflict that sent them each out to the field. When composing the piece I really wanted to have it reflect the sounds of t ...
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Huffington Post article
Bernie Sanders Plays The Bongos To Ben Harper's ‘Burn One Down’
Huffington Post - over 1 year
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Huffington Post article
Kaiser Permanente and Intermountain Healthcare Join U.S. News & World Report's Hospital Outcome Data Disclosure Program
Yahoo News - almost 2 years
WASHINGTON, May 7, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- U.S. News &amp; World Report, publisher of Best Hospitals and Best Children's Hospitals, today announced that Kaiser Permanente and Intermountain Healthcare will participate in the U.S. News Hospital Outcome Data Disclosure Program, a new data-collection initiative designed to evaluate hospitals more completely and give patients better information about the hospitals in their communities. The new program allows participating hospitals and health care organizations to submit comprehensive datasets that go beyond Medicare data directly to U.S. News to use in evaluating hospitals. The initiative will help U.S. News create a more robust dataset of hospital outcome measures and gain new insights on hospital performance. "The choice of hospital can be a matter of life and death and it's also one of the most important and costly decisions an individual makes, yet data to help patients identify the right hospital for their needs are still limit ...
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Yahoo News article
5 Smaller Music Festivals That Are Actually Better Than Coachella
Huffington Post - almost 2 years
Assuming you enjoy live music, good times and have any type of social media presence, you’re probably just getting over a serious case of FOMO from the past few weekends, when approximately everyone you know all but abandoned you for a three-day musical ragefest in the sunny Southern California desert. The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival may be officially over, but summer festival season is just getting started, and let's be honest, venturing to one of these lesser-known fests means not worrying about dust storms, 110 degree heat or risking over-saturation from corporate sponsors. Here are five other live music events that will get you off the beaten path and into some of the most vibrant locales and euphoric dance parties North America has to offer. Have fun, and happy festing! Mysteryland USA Why It's Worth It: This dance music festival has been holding it down in the Netherlands since 1994, but made its stateside debut last year on the site of the 1969 Woodsto ...
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Huffington Post article
Pete Seeger, RIP. And, By the Way, You Won.
Mother Jones - about 3 years
Pete Seeger has passed. The obits will call him a legend. But many won't capture an essential quality of the Seeger tale: as he fought for decades to advance political values and an artistic vision, he was hounded for much of that time by fierce enemies (most notably, the FBI and McCarthyites in the 1950s), and he whipped them. He persevered—and he won. He was never silenced. He played his music, protested wrongs, cleaned up the Hudson River, lived his ideas, and came to be celebrated for his devotion to music and principles. His revenge was simple: he kept on singing and, perhaps most important, encouraging others to do so. Seeger triumphed over his foes, not just because he outlived so many but because his voice was more powerful. Below are some thoughts I shared after attending a concert held four years ago to honor Seeger. The original headline for the post was, "Pete Seeger at 90: Surviving—and Winning—the Political Culture War." After watching Bruce Springsteen and Pete ...
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Mother Jones article
George W. Bush Set For ‘The Tonight Show’ Next Week
Yahoo News - over 3 years
When NBC sent out its weekly Tonight Show listings yesterday, there was a curious lack of guests for November 19. Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite have the music gig, but there wasn’t a headliner. Now we know why. The network spilled to the AP today that President George W. Bush will make his fourth appearance on the Jay Leno-hosted show that night, taking about life after the White House. It’s a solid get for the show, as the former commander-in-chief has kept relatively quiet since leaving office in 2009, rarely giving extended interviews. He most recently sat with Leno in [...]
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Yahoo News article
Conversations With Scotty McCreery, David Nail and Wesley Stace, Plus Kathleen Grace and Kiev Exclusives
Huffington Post - over 3 years
A Conversation with Scotty McCreery Mike Ragogna: Scotty! Scotty McCreery: Hey, how are you doing, Michael? MR: Pretty good, how are you? SM: Doing good, thanks for calling. MR: Wow, just from the tone of your voice, I can tell a lot's happened since we spoke last. SM: [laughs] I guess, yeah, we've been staying busy. MR: Scotty, what's been going on between the Christmas album and now? SM: Well, we thumped out a new album in all that time and we've been on the road as well. Started with the Weekend Roadtrip Tour, and I guess we just extended those dates. We'll be doing that through the end of the year. But the main focus was on this album for sure. MR: Looks like you already have a hit from the new album, the title track, "See You Tonight." SM: Yeah, it's still ploughing it's way up the charts, but we're excited about it. "See You Tonight," it's been the best response we've gotten out of a single yet, so yeah, it's been a good thing going. MR: Okay, what was the difference ...
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Huffington Post article
Laura Dern, Ben Harper finalize their long-running divorce
LATimes - over 3 years
"Enlightened" star Laura Dern has finalized her long-running divorce from Ben Harper, according to reports out Wednesday.
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LATimes article
Laura Dern, Ben Harper Divorce Is Finalized
Huffington Post - over 3 years
Laura Dern and Ben Harper are officially divorced, according to reports from TMZ. Dern, best known for her roles in "Jurassic Park" and "Enlightened," has been married to Harper since 2005, and the pair have two children together. Harper allegedly shocked Dern when he originally filed for divorce in 2010. The pair briefly reconciled before Dern filed a response to Harper's divorce papers in 2012. According to TMZ, the terms of the settlement are confidential. Harper and Dern met in 2000, while he was separated from first wife Joanna Harper, with whom he has two children. The two were divorced in 2001. Dern has never been married before, but she was previously engaged to Billy Bob Thornton when he reportedly shocked her and married Angelina Jolie while Dern was out of town. "I left our home to work on a movie, and while I was away my boyfriend got married," she said at the time. Keep in touch! Check out HuffPost Divorce on Facebook and Twitter.
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Huffington Post article
Jack Johnson and Ben Harper Explore 'Changes' - Premiere
Rolling Stone - over 3 years
Gentle singer-songwriter Jack Johnson teams with his peer Ben Harper on "Changes" an engaging new track and video on From Here to Now to You Johnson's album that is out September 17th Shot live inside Johnson's Mango Tree Studio in Oahu the clip catches him at work with producer Mario...
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Rolling Stone article
"Think Beyond Plastic" Innovation Competition & Conference Announces Winners, 2014 Event
Yahoo News - over 3 years
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., June 14, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Plastic Pollution Coalition's inaugural Think Beyond Plastic competition and conference, hosted by Ed Begley Jr., brought together innovators, thought-leaders and entrepreneurs from around the world. The competition and awards ceremony was sponsored by Elbaz Family Foundation with Ben Harper, Bonnaroo, One PacificCoast Bank, Rolling Stone Magazine and others; and included talks by best-selling author Daniel Goleman, entrepreneur Adam Werbach, as well as Leandro Herrero, Fran Seegull, Dan Imhoff and Prashanth Ramakrishna. ...
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Yahoo News article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Ben Harper
  • 2016
    Age 46
    On 12 February 2016, Ben Harper released (as a YouTube video) his new single "Call It What It Is", first track taken from his upcoming new studio album Call It What It Is due to be released on 8 April 2016.
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  • 2015
    Age 45
    It's been confirmed that Ben Harper and The Innocent Criminals will perform at Rock Werchter Festival 2015 on June 28, 2015.
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    In early 2015, it was announced that Ben Harper and The Innocent Criminals would perform at the Boston Calling Music Festival in May 2015.
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    Harper married his third wife, social advocate Jaclyn Matfus, on January 1, 2015.
    More Details Hide Details Harper is a skateboarder, having trained with skateboarding figure Rodney Mullen, and owns a warehouse for his personal skateboarding. Harper also co-owns the skateboarding brand Roller Horror with professional skateboarder Mike York. Harper supports Little Kids Rock, a national nonprofit organization that works to restore and revitalize music education in disadvantaged U.S. public schools. In 2013, he donated items to their San Francisco Bay Area benefit concert. Studio albums
  • 2014
    Age 44
    He also won a Grammy for Best Blues Album in 2014.
    More Details Hide Details Harper was born in Pomona, California. His father, Leonard, was of African-American and possibly Cherokee ancestry, and his mother, Ellen Chase-Verdries, is Jewish. His maternal great-grandmother was a Russian-Lithuanian Jew. His parents divorced when he was five years old, and he grew up with his mother's family. Harper has two brothers, Joel and Peter. Harper began playing guitar as a child. His maternal grandparents' music store The Folk Music Center and Museum laid a foundation of folk and blues for the artist, complemented by regular patrons Leonard Cohen, Taj Mahal, John Darnielle, and David Lindley and quotes of William Shakespeare and Robert Frost made often by his grandfather.
  • 2012
    Age 42
    In December 2012, it was announced that Ben Harper had co-produced lead vocalist Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks first solo rock album Mother.
    More Details Hide Details It was released on May 7, 2013.
    On October 1, 2012, a new album from Ben Harper with Charlie Musselwhite was announced entitled Get Up! on Stax Records / Concord Music Group.
    More Details Hide Details The official release date for the album is January 29, 2013. Get Up! was recorded in Los Angeles and produced by Ben Harper. It is Ben's 12th studio album and first new recording since 2011's Give Till It's Gone (Virgin).
  • 2011
    Age 41
    On May 17, 2011, Ben Harper's official site posted that his next album was released, entitled Give Till It's Gone.
    More Details Hide Details The album is a continuation of recording with Relentless7.
  • 2010
    Age 40
    In October 2010, Harper filed for divorce from Dern, citing irreconcilable differences. They briefly reconciled and attended the 2012 Golden Globe Awards together, but Dern reactivated the divorce by filing a legal response in July 2012. The divorce was finalized in September 2013.
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    On August 27, 2010, it was reported that Ben Harper had formed a band called Fistful of Mercy with Dhani Harrison and Joseph Arthur. Fistful of Mercy released their debut record, As I Call You Down, on October 5, 2010.
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  • 2008
    Age 38
    Also in 2008, Harper participated in the benefit album Songs for Tibet.
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  • 2006
    Age 36
    Though uncredited, he appears briefly in the 2006 David Lynch film Inland Empire, alongside his wife Laura Dern.
    More Details Hide Details Harper is part of the No Nukes group which is against the expansion of nuclear power. In 2007 the group recorded a music video of a new version of the Buffalo Springfield song "For What It's Worth". Harper's collaboration "Boa Sorte/Good Luck" with Brazilian singer Vanessa da Mata peaked at #1 in Brazil and Portugal. In Brazil it also won a highly coveted Prêmio Multishow for "Best Song" in 2008.
    In 2006, Harper released the double album Both Sides of the Gun which debuted at #7 on the Billboard charts.
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  • 2005
    Age 35
    Harper and Dern married on December 23, 2005 at their home in Los Angeles.
    More Details Hide Details They have two children, son Ellery Walker (born August 2001) and daughter Jaya (born November 2004).
    Harper is a three-time Grammy Award winner as well, winning awards for Best Pop Instrumental Performance and Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album, in 2005.
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  • 2004
    Age 34
    In October 2004, Harper participated in the Vote for Change concert tour organized to benefit and encourage people in the swing states to vote during the 2004 U.S. presidential election.
    More Details Hide Details In the same month, Harper contributed a live recording of the song "Oppression" to For The Lady, a benefit album for jailed Nobel Peace Prize winner and Burmese pro-democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi.
  • 2002
    Age 32
    In 2002, Harper was one of the featured singers covering Motown hits by Marvin Gaye in the documentary, Standing in the Shadows of Motown (a history of The Funk Brothers).
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  • 2000
    Age 30
    Harper began dating actress Laura Dern after they met at one of his concerts in fall 2000.
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    Harper and Joanna separated in 2000, and were divorced in 2001.
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  • 1999
    Age 29
    In 1999, at the Santa Barbara Bowl, Harper met Jack Johnson and sent a demo tape of Johnson's songs to his producer, J.P. Plunier, who then produced Johnson's first album.
    More Details Hide Details Early in Harper's career, his music received more attention in Europe and was widely played in Australia (first on Triple J radio). Harper has made comments on a number of occasions that his career was kicked off in Australia. While he was a well-known and respected figure in the United States, he was a star in countries like Australia, New Zealand, France, Portugal, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands, receiving a great deal of airplay and critical acclaim. His popularity in Europe is such that he was French Rolling Stone magazine's Artist of the Year (Artiste De L'Année) in 2003, and his Australian tour that year for Diamonds on the Inside was highly successful.
  • 1996
    Age 26
    In 1996, Harper married his first wife, Joanna.
    More Details Hide Details They have two children together, son Charles (born circa 1997) and daughter Harris (born circa 2000).
  • 1994
    Age 24
    After this limited edition record, Harper secured a lifetime record deal with Virgin Records, which released his debut album, Welcome to the Cruel World in 1994.
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  • 1993
    Age 23
    This allowed him to be invited at the Rencontres Trans Musicales of Rennes in France in December 1993 where he went up for the first time on a large stage.
    More Details Hide Details The first album was followed by Fight For Your Mind in 1995, with Juan Nelson on bass, which became a college radio favorite and included several songs that Harper still plays live regularly.
  • 1992
    Age 22
    In 1992, Harper recorded the LP Pleasure and Pain with Folk multi-instrumentalist Tom Freund.
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  • 1978
    Age 8
    In 1978, at the age of 9, Harper attended Bob Marley's performance in Burbank, California where Marley was joined by former bandmate Peter Tosh for the encore, It was, according to Harper, an important influence.
    More Details Hide Details At the age of 12, Harper played his first gig. During the 1980s, in his teen years, Harper began to play the slide guitar, mimicking the style of Robert Johnson. Harper refined his style, taking up the Weissenborn slide guitar. Harper broke out of the Inland Empire after being offered an invitation by Taj Mahal to tour with the artist. They recorded Taj Mahal's album Follow the Drinking Gourd, released in November 1990, and toured Hawaii.
  • 1969
    Born on October 28, 1969.
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