HELLO AMERICA!—For years millions of people, especially those in the entertainment industry have been mourning the absence of Luther Vandross, Michael Jackson and Barry White and so many others. Fortunately, there always seems to be someone or even others to come along to gender the same kind of magic or excitement that the world hungers for and when listening Harley Griffin sing, there was no question that this guy is more than able to fill the artistic and creative gap hungered for by so many. We want you to get to know him.
MSJ: Where You Grew Up, Did It Affect The Kind Of Music Your Enjoyed Most And Why?
HQ: I grew up in a small town, Laurens, SC and we were exposed to music at a very early age by our Mother. My Mother, Mrs. Ethel Griffin is a trained classical pianist and exposed my siblings and me not only to classical music, but all kinds of music and allowed us to develop our own taste and appreciation for music. My heart and soul was with R&B at a very early age as I always felt it was like my right arm. R&B music I always felt and feel in my spirit and being. My Dad the late John W. Griffin loved the blues and jazz.
MSJ: Who Were Some Of Your Boyhood Idols At The Time I.E., Singers, Actors, Actors And Even Writers?
HQ: Growing up I admired Michael Jackson who was a heavy influence on me in my youth as well as James Ingram, Luther Vandross, Peabo Bryson, Richard Marx, Vince Gill, Freddie Jackson, Barry White, Frankie Beverly, Prince, Steve Perry, Donny Hathaway and Jeffrey Osborne to name a few. Brock Peters, Samuel Jackson, Billy D Williams, James Earl Jones, Sidney Poitier, Ossie Davis and Roscoe L. Brown are definite influential actors that I have appreciated for their talent and contributions.
MSJ: What Did You Eventually Discover About “Yourself” As A Developing Youngster?
HQ: I realized I was gifted as child and felt there was nothing that I couldn’t do…My spirit and belief in me is something that I always knew and still know, is a powerful part of my make-up. I knew that at an early age and it has never left me. I knew I wanted to be a singer because that was something that came to naturally as my Mother worked with me.
MSJ: When Did You First Appear In Public As Either A Singer Or As An Actor And How Did Your Feel?
HQ: The first time was with my College Jazz Ensemble (SC State) as a solo vocalist and I was extremely nervous as it was so different. I did appear in a high school play Julius and Philip Epstein’s ‘The Man Who Came To Dinner’ which I was not as nervous for some strange reason and in college Micki Grant’s, ‘Don’t Bother Me I Can’t Cope.” Though nervous, I always felt at home on stage and this is where I belong. But the I would say the real appearance for me was in New York at Live It’s Showtime At The Apollo Theatre where I won the Amateur Night competition. That was simply thrilling to be on live television and to have received the response from the audience and around the nation after that performance. Funny today I still get responses on those performances and people see me walking on the street and stop me to say they saw me perform. Wow…
MSJ: With All The Conflicts And Dramas Which Nationally Exploded In Our Nation, Did It Effect Your Taste In Music And Possibly The Type Of “Acting” Roles Your Preferred To Portray?
HQ: No. My taste in music always remains the same and also in many different types of genres and styles from Caribbean to Gospel to Indian. Concerning acting roles, I prefer positive character’s with meaning. The times deserve positive images for all versus negative. That keeps my energy in the right mode.
MSJ: As An Artist What Do You Genuinely Want To Achieve? What Kind Of Message Are You Hoping That People Will Comprehend From Your Music Or From A Character You Might Have To Portray In A Film Or Theatre Production?
HQ: My desire is to achieve an overwhelmingly effort to inspire and exhort positive messages in my music and love beyond what you see or think. My hope is that fans and listeners will see the spirit in my music and the care at which it has been derived. I hear and speak with artist and producers all of the time and understand they write a song just write a song for money. It’s more than just about money or fame for me; it’s about the spiritual connection to the lyric and the music that will deliver the melody to the soul. That speaks to a deeper relationship with what is produced and then received by listener. The same is true of me concerning film or theatre. There are just too many negative images and spirits in our world and I believe God has purpose for each of our lives and we need to see it on purpose.
MSJ: When You Are Alone Happen To Look In The Mirror, Who And What Do You See?
HQ: When I am alone…and happen to look in the mirror…I see my humanity and compassion for mankind in a very dark world. I see the hope of my parents and grandparents in me and my siblings of whom I am connected and love dearly; I see the strength of my parents and ancestors who inspire me to achieve beyond my dreams and goals and I see their dreams in me and my siblings from their struggles. I see the love of my family and my friends who support my dreams and continue to encourage me through the difficulties and joys of life. That is what I see.