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  • Behind the Song

Joyce V Harrison


Joyce V Harrison is a songwriter/publisher member of ASCAP and a voting member of Recording Academy (Grammys). Her released recordings include LeAnn Rimes and various U.S. and European indie artists, a catalogue of 600+ songs. She started out in Canada in radio & TV—news room, copy, production, radio DJ, TV show co-host and finally, FM Program Director. In Chicago, she spent a couple years as Operations Manager of a suburban AM/FM station before switching to advertising, first as a writer and eventually Group Creative Director, working for major national clients at BBDO, Bozell and Lois USA (previously Grey) agencies.

In Nashville, Joyce freelanced as a writer, voice over, news fill-in announcer, and occasional actor, before joining the GS&F creative staff until 2008 when she resigned to return to freelance.


For fans who have never heard your music, can you pick three words to describe it?! Eclectic -- multi genres! I don't like just one style of music so I write in different genres: pop, R&B, blues, jazz vocals, rock, country, bluegrass, folk. Not rap. And not classical though I do like some of that genre.

What is your favorite part about being an artist? Is it songwriting, performing, recording, something else? Songwriting of course since I am not an artist. That said, as long as I have been songwriting, it remains hard. To me the melody is most important after the concept. The words, lyrics, always take second place to the melody and rewritten as needed. Different concepts call for different genres. Take a title like "Wo Mr. Sheriff". That naturally falls into country. "This Night of Love" says it's a ballad. One song I wrote long ago titled "This Time" started off as an ok country song but ended up, much better as R&B pop.


Can you tell us what being in the recording studio is like for you? I love it. To me, it's like the reward for the work it takes to write a song. Of course I have to pick which song I think is worth recording and I can be wrong. Some writing is good, some bad, as long as each is the best I can do. Sessions are costly and all mine are work for hire. Was the song itself the reason if the recording did not turn out well? It's my opinion that my presence is essential for the vocals since I have so many cases of producers focusing on the track not the primary person: the singer. Of course, I also love hanging out with the musicians.

Okay, this a fun question. When you are not doing music, what else do you enjoy doing? I'm a reader, mostly of detective stories. I've written screenplays (none produced) and three books of adult fiction that are on the market. I'm a cook. I often babysit my daughter's dogs.

Who do you admire most in the music scene today and why? An easy question. Max Martin, the Swedish producer and songwriter. The latest sample: The Weekend "Blinding Light". I couldn't believe it was not on the Grammy list for song of the year. I like Max' production because it's simple, inventive, varied according to the concept, always with a great hook. Another producer I like these days because of his simplicity and memorability is Billie Eillish' brother Finneas. You can recognize the song by his arrangements as much as by her vocals and songwriting.


Who do you admire most as an artist?


I wish I could write like Billie Eillish or Taylor Swift or whoever wrote "Bad Habits" by Ed Sheehan. I do always check who the writers are of a song I like; these days it's a list of several names and often, in different countries.

Can you tell us what song you've written that is the most emotional and describe the meaning behind it? My own "emotional" songs are probably inspired by a boyfriend, past or present. The country song "Good Lookin' Man" recorded by LeAnn Rimes definitely came about from a big love interest.

Are you working on any new material right now or what's in the works for the upcoming year? I just finished song #799. I used to haul my guitar to work at ad agencies in Chicago and spend lunch hours songwriting. Over the years, I have consistently written almost daily so approaching #800 is the result of decades of work. I wish I could make a living as a songwriter but no. Not that I didn't try in both Chicago and also living Nashville. I think I'll still be songwriting and refuse to go "six feet under" till I am finished whatever song I'm working on.

Tell us where fans can access your music. I've reduced the number of tracks to the 50's so these are not ALL my recordings. But you can browse through and check out the genre listed on each. The latest are the jazz vocal "Feeling Easy" and two blues songs "Midnight Man" and "Nobody Listening".

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