Rod Harris Jr.
Rod Harris Jr. is a native of Jacksonville, Florida. Rod was exposed to music at a young age by his singer/songwriter father. When Rod was 14, his father decided to relocate the family to Atlanta, GA. On his 17th birthday, his father gave him $150 dollars, and he decided to take the money and purchase an acoustic guitar. "...I don't know what provoked me to get a guitar...It had to be God...because I could've partied that money away...quickly.." he says. Once he began learning the instrument he fell in love with it and was determined to be a great player. " ...I think my senior year, my classmates thought I was crazy...I didn't party...I literally locked myself in my room and practiced for hours..." After graduating and just a year of studying guitar, he applied for the Georgia State University School of Music, and was accepted.
It was at Georgia State University where his musical journey began. "...My early college years were pretty influential for me...it put alot into perspective for me...I was really naive..." Rod credits much of his musical growth during these years to two local Atlanta horn players (Lester Walker and Clyde Jones). "...These two cats were ridiculous..." Also during his freshman year in college Rod performed in the prestigious Atlanta Jazz Festival and also the following year. During these years Rod began to enlist in many local bands not just jazz music but soul and gospel bands. "...I used to wonder if I would ever graduate...the music was takin' over...other stuff was becoming secondary...there were many times I would skip class to go to the practice rooms...".
But Rod did graduate with surprisingly a B.B.A in Management and a Minor degree in Music. "...me and my dad used to get in real heated arguments about me pursuing a degree in music performance...he would also say that I don't need a degree to play music..." "...guess he was right to some degree..."
After college, Rod continued playing at night and worked corporate America during the day. "I felt like Clark Kent...living two lives...I used to go out to my car during my lunch breaks and shed (practice)...I had to get it in"...In 2006, Rod traveled to Nagoya, Japan to do a stint with a cover band at Gary's Motown Sound. "...this is when I knew...the corporate america junk had to go...Japan helped me make that decision..." In 2008, he was called to do a summer tour with Atlantic Records recording artist Musiq Soulchild. Rod would be the resident guitarist for Musiq for 3 years (2008,2010,2011). "This was another pivotal moment for me not just musically but life...I learned alot about myself during the years in the Soulchild camp...I definitely grew spiritually, mentally and musically..." Also in 2008, Rod made an appearance in the motion picture film "Cadillac Records", starring Beyonce Knowles and Adrian Brody. "...yeah..2008 was a good year for me..."he laughs.
Over his time as a guitarist, Rod has performed and recorded with countless artists and the list continues to grow. Artists such as songstress Regina Belle, Miki Howard, jazz trumpeter Russell Gunn, Eightball and MJG, Musiq Soulchild, Jagged Edge, Lloyd, saxophonist Warren Hill and Paul Taylor, smooth jazz pianist Marcus Johnson, the legendary Fred Wesley, jazz organist Doug Carn, Red Holloway, Ernie Andrews, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Maysa, Joi, Rhonda Thomas, and many others.
In addition to performing, Rod has also created Harris Music Academy. Harris Music Academy is devoted to teach basic musicianship to youths ranging from 6 and up