Jonathan Harper sings and plays a variety of instruments including piano, guitar, drums and ukulele. He performs solo or with his sisters at local restaurants, hotels, festivals, cafes and anywhere else wanting to showcase his tunes.
“When I go back home to Michigan for breaks, my two younger sisters and I perform a wide genre of music in a diverse range of venues,” Harper said. “We try to hook people in with secular tunes that they know and follow up with a couple of jazzed up hymns to get the gospel out there.”
The piece Harper is most proud of is a song he wrote for his future wife, “Til She’s Here.”
“Abstinence is a virtue that seems to be lost in our generation, so I felt led to make a public stand for it,” says Harper. The Lord really gave me this song. I can’t take any credit for it.”
Jonathan’s 10 tips for breaking into the music industry:
1. “Practice. A lot. And then PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE.
2. Use your youth and (in the most appropriate way possible) good looks while ya still (have them). Seriously. People want to support young and fresh musicians.
3. Sell yourself. Every single music gig I obtained, I had to walk into the business and sell myself to the owner, in person. An email can only go so far. They want confidence, but not some cocky punk. Be polite, but politely brag at the same time.
4. Bring a demo CD of your best stuff and a flyer describing what you do. Even if they’re not a music venue, you can make them one!
5. Learn the oldies. Beatles, Elvis, Sinatra, the list could go on. Our generation doesn’t have money yet. The older generations do, so that’s where the majority of the tips are going to come from.
6. Be friendly. Introduce yourself. Talk to people. Make each song personal. For example, “This next song goes out to everyone who likes ice cream, because this song reminds me of ice cream.” (I never said it had to make sense.)
7. Learn covers. I know it’s not “original” or whatever, but people want to hear songs that they know. Only play an original if you have a REALLY good story behind it.
8. Remember to give all glory to God. In the good times, the bad, He’s the one that gave you this gift.
9. TITHE. Even on tips. It’s all God’s, and He will bless you more because of it, anyways.
10. Tell people how they can follow you. Whether by Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Soundcloud, etc., people will want to support you.”