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Local Songwriter Jasper Harris Wins Grammy for Best Rap Performance

Local songwriter and 2022 Grammy Award winner Jasper Harris in his Cahuenga Blvd Studio. (photo from Instagram)


Brookside born and raised, songwriter Jasper Harris was nominated for three Grammys this year and won the Grammy for Best Rap Performance on the song “Family Ties” by Baby Keem Featuring Kendrick Lamar. He was also nominated for Best Rap Song – “Family Ties” and Album of the Year – “Montero.” Harris is in his early twenties and part of a new generation of songwriter artists who are creating Rap music collaboratively. He did his best to explain how he works when we met before the Grammys last month on Larchmont Blvd. Hopefully, I’ve gotten the details right!

Harris has been creating and playing music since he was four. His mom, a songwriter and his dad, a film producer, are both highly creative and have encouraged Harris to follow his passion, even if it meant leaving college after two years to work professionally.

Harris started his musical training at the Colburn School, studying classical music. He quickly realized he loved playing but hated practicing. During middle school he left the piano and started playing the vibraphone and other percussion instruments. He also began producing music with childhood friend and neighborhood Tobias Hess. Soon the two began making electronic music with their computers and started interacting with other musicians and producers. He credits his high school music teacher at Campbell Hall School for encouraging him to start creating his own music. He even made a few albums, though he describes them as “horrible.”

After high school, Harris attended New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. As a freshman he started working for some producers in their studio.

“At first, I was just cleaning up, literally, taking out the trash, but eventually, they let me start working on  projects,” Harris told the Buzz. “That’s when I knew all I wanted to do was be in the studio creating music.”

“All music is made of loops,” explained Harris. The loop is the repeating section of a song that is repeated continuously during a song. “Loops are the foundations of the song,” he added.

Loops are also the entre for young musicians to gain entry into the collaborative creation of many types of Rap music. Aspiring writers like Harris will create hundreds of loops and share them with artists who they think might be a fit for their sound.

“It’s liked finding a needle in a haystack,” explained Harris. But if you don’t give up and you keep on trying, eventually you get your music in front of producers who are looking for the next new thing. And, if you are lucky, you are not just sending your loops in over the internet, you are actually bringing them in and meeting with artists and producers in the studio.

Now, what I’ve described is a bit of an over simplification but it illustrates a bit of how that creative process works for Harris and other songwriters working in the rap music genre.

“It’s not totally random,” explained Harris. “I know what I’m working on and where the music is going.”

Harris is understandably ecstatic to have been nominated and now ever more honored to have actually won.

“It’s a very special thing,” said Harris.


Image from Jasper Harris’s Instagram.


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Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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