Soy Artista: Producer, composer and rapper Dillon Avery Harp

This semester El Leñador is continuing the Soy Artista series to highlight local and student artists. Watch artist videos online. 

Gospel and jazz music played all throughout the home and childhood memories of Dillon Avery Harp. Music runs in his genes, and those sounds have sparked the feelings inside Harp to learn, compose and produce his own music.

Harp writes his own music and produces all the beats and instrumentals from a home studio he built himself. Harp considers his music to be a mix of jazz, hip-hop, lo-fi and ambient sounds. Some of his influences outside of his family include Sade, DJ Screw, and many other artists from Houston. 

“A lot of my music is really an expression of self,” Harp said. “For the most part, it’s really about Black representation in all forms and empowering my people.”

Dillon Avery Harp is a producer, composer and rapper. He is also a student at the College of the Redwoods. Video by Karina Ramos Villalobos.

Harp is currently working on a beat cassette tape project that will include a variety of instrumentals, lo-fi sounds and many different samples of old-school Black power movements and freestyles.  (More details will be announced soon about pricing and where and how to obtain them).

Discovering Music Theory 

Around middle school, Harp began playing with local bands and that inspired him to create music of his own. Harp took it into his own hands to begin learning more about music theory by reading books from his local library that taught him to read, understand and compose music. 

 “When you listen to my music, most of it is composed of all influences of life, past and present,” Harp said. “I want to keep spreading that message and I want to work to bring my people’s culture to more modern audiences and stuff, and keep it alive because it’s important as a Black American.”

Dillon Avery Harp freestyles his piece “War Up in the Streets.” Video by Karina Ramos Villalobos.

Getting to Know Harp 

Music has always been a part of Harp’s life. Before his father’s passing when Harp was six years old he watched and looked up to his father who was a saxophonist at church. At 13 years old, Harp wondered about what his father would’ve listened to, the things he would’ve played, and naturally started to get into listening to more jazz musicians from the 1950s and on. 

“I feel like it’s one of those things that’s been there as an outlet really,” Harp said. “I’ve been through a lot of random stuff and I’ve lived super alternative lifestyles for the majority of my life so it’s just kinda always been there.”

Originally from Houston, Harp moved to Humboldt when he was 17 and did a lot of farm work to create a living. As soon as he turned 18 he enrolled at College of the Redwoods (CR) to pursue his education but took a break to travel for six years throughout different countries such as Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

 Now, at 28, he is finishing up the last of his general education credits at CR to transfer to Cal Poly Humboldt to pursue a degree in critical studies in class, race, gender, and sexuality (CRGS) in fall 2022. 

According to Harp, he was doing genomic research about his family and he learned about his father’s famous saxophonist cousin, Everett Harp, who has been a successful solo artist since the ‘80s and considered it as inspiration to continue sharing stories of his past, present, and future life. Harp said music has always been there for him and will forever be comforting. 

Harp’s Future Aspirations

“I’m going into the critical and race studies program next fall so on an educational level continue with that and try to eventually get involved in activist law to represent our people,” Harp said. “Try to get the causes we see and all believe in collectively represented in certain ways so we can really achieve some of the change and liberation.”  

How to Listen to Harp’s Music

You can find Harp’s music by going to his Instagram page @wavyrosefold and clicking the link in his bio to go to his SoundCloud where you can listen to all of his released music. 

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