Bre Harris Is A Positivity Ambassador
Written by Joshua Miller on September 28, 2022
Chicago singer Bre Harris uses self-care and faith to create music that touches the depths of the soul.
Bre Harris grew up in the South suburbs of Chicago surrounded by Gospel music and the sounds of artists like Kanye and Jonathan McReynolds. Now, she uses her Gospel influence to uplift others who listen to her music.
With two ministers as parents and participating in church choirs since she could sing, Harris found her calling in gospel music.
“Each time I listen to gospel music I enter into a spiritual experience that uplifts me and reminds me I am not alone in this world,” she expressed.
For Harris, music is therapy, and gospel is what finds its way deepest into her soul when the world seems like it’s crumbling. This feeling of catharsis was ever-present when Harris wrote “Better,” which was featured in Vocalo’s “In Rotation” playlist for September.
In the midst of the pandemic, Harris was constantly riddled with anxiety and confusion. She repeatedly found herself at her piano, singing “Better” over and over until it became an uplifting mantra, manifesting better days ahead.
“The chorus is only one word and repeated for a reason,” Harris explained. “Sometimes we have to convince ourselves of things before we feel or see them.”
A self-proclaimed “positivity ambassador,” Harris prides herself on spreading kindness, generosity and patience to uplift the people around her, and these qualities take the forefront throughout her entire discography.
After “Better” was added to our on-air rotation this month, we reached out to Bre Harris to break down the intersection of music and self-care, her gospel music background and what it means to be a “positivity ambassador.”
What neighborhood in Chicago did you grow up in? Where do you live now?
I grew up in Olympia Fields, Illinois. I now live downtown in the South Loop of Chicago.
How do you feel growing up in Chicago influences the music you make, if at all?
I believe Chicago breeds some of the world’s best musicians. From Kanye to Jonathan McReynolds, we have genius minds that have influenced and shaped the genre they represent. Growing up, I was exposed to music through the musicians in my own household and church, many who have gone to play for some of our favorite artists. The Chi has a unique sound of innovation, freedom and struggle that other places [try to] duplicate but doesn’t quite reach. It’s always inspired me to create movements with my songs and influenced me to explore my signature sound.
How does gospel music influence the music you make? Which gospel artist has inspired you the most, and in what ways?
Gospel music is a genre that speaks directly to the human spirit. It finds ways to communicate the deep cries of the soul and hope for better days like no other type of music can, in my opinion. Each time I listen to gospel music, I enter into a spiritual experience that uplifts me and reminds me I am not alone in this world. I wanted to create music that acts as therapy for the soul and brings inspiration and love. I want to create music that speaks to the heart beyond language barriers. Singing about faith does just that.
First, it’s hard to pick a favorite gospel artist. So many are amazing! However, the journey of Tasha Cobbs Leonards has inspired me the most. She’s been able to reach a myriad of people from different ethnicities and backgrounds, and unite them all by their faith. In the times that we live in, the ability to come together as one to spread love is what the world needs. I want my art to be the soundtrack of a movement like that.
Tell us a little bit about “Better,” which was featured in our In Rotation playlist for September. What message do you want listeners to walk away with after listening to it?
I began to write “Better” in 2020 during the thick of the pandemic. I had just moved back home with my parents and left my job wondering what was next for me. I remember praying to God that His plans would be made clear in my life, because at that moment I felt so lost. After what seemed like my fourth anxiety attack that week, I sat down at the piano and the only word that came to me was “better.” This was my place of surrender. I had to stop trying to figure my life out and trust that God had a plan for it. And His plans are better than anything I could think of.
This song is for everyone in that place in life trying to figure it out, or don’t believe that your life will turn out well. It will, and you will be okay! Just trust that better is out there for you. All you have to do is believe it! Listen, the chorus is only one word and repeated for a reason. Sometimes we have to convince ourselves of things before we feel or see them. Keep singing “better” over and over, you may not believe it now, but soon you will.
What has been the biggest challenge with beginning a solo career?
The hardest thing is knowing that this journey will be filled with more “no”s than “yes”es. Because of that, I’ve often walked away from labels, shows and auditions feeling like a failure and overlooked. However, I’ve learned that what I bring and the art I create isn’t for everyone. I’ve learned to be okay with that. Find your lane and your tribe. Trust me, no matter how many “no”s you receive, it only takes one “yes” to change your entire life.
What do you consider your biggest triumph as a solo artist?
“Tear Under Water” is a song I wrote as a tribute to a community that lost one of its members to suicide. I wasn’t able to personally get in touch with the family until a year after the song was released. When I finally connected with the young lady’s sister, who was overseas at the time, we shared a beautiful moment. She spoke to me about how much that song impacted her and how she believed her sister would have liked it. That was a defining moment for me as a songwriter, to help someone [going] through an extremely hard situation find light and hope.
In your bio on Instagram, you call yourself a “positivity ambassador.” Tell us a bit about that! How do you keep a positive attitude in life?
“All things positive” is a motto I try to live by. Baby, 2020 definitely tested it. Being a positivity ambassador means that I represent optimism and engaging in positive behaviors like generosity and kindness towards all people. Positivity is contagious. It’s something I want to share and leave with people after I encounter them. Keeping a positive attitude all stems from positive thinking. I believe we frame our world with our minds and words. Therefore, thinking thoughts of goodness and light will lead to speaking those things. As a result, it will manifest in your life.
What advice can you give to others trying to live a more positive life?
I would challenge people who want to live a more positive life to think about what they are thinking about. The average person has about 6,000 thoughts a day. For many people, more than half of those thoughts are negative, filled with worry, anxiety or comparison. All those things lead to having a negative mindset. If we can begin to create a filter that will act as a guide for our thoughts, we will be able to choose which thoughts we meditate on.
What role does self-care play in your music?
Self-care is so important because it is synced to self-love. Self-love is one of the best gifts we can give to ourselves. My music is all about learning to love, trust and forgive yourself. I write a lot about how I had to learn to show up for myself. For many years I didn’t. I hope that, through my music, people learn to do the same.
How do you keep yourself grounded when anxiety begins to creep up?
Honestly, prayer and meditation. In those moments, I have to calm myself and recite what I know to be the truth concerning whatever I am worried about. It helps me to get in touch with reality. See, at the root of anxiety is our desire to obtain control over what we can control. The sooner we learn to let go of that control, the more secure we can go through life. There goes that surrender theme popping up again!
What would you say is your main goal as a performer?
I would say that my main goal as a performer is to curate experiences that move, touch and inspire people to know that they matter, are seen and are loved. I want people to walk away feeling good about themselves and feel alive.
What is next for you in your musical journey — anything listeners should look out for?
Right now, I am currently working on my EP that will feature “Better” and four new songs written by me and some of my dope creative friends. Also, I will be hosting some intimate concerts throughout the fall where I will feature some of my new music and artist friends. Tune into my socials @breharrismusic, where those dates will be released.
Follow Bre Harris on Instagram and check out her music on Spotify below!
Interview by Joshua Miller
Introduction by Makenzie Creden
Edited for length and clarity by Morgan Ciocca
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