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CM: Thanks so much for your participation in this CatholicMom.com Music
Spotlight. Can you please tell us a little bit about yourself and your
I am a Catholic recording artist, but more than that I am a wife and mother
of three. I have two girls and a boy, all in school, so I work on my
ministry during the school hours. I like to be totally free for my family
when they're home! We live on the Palos Verdes Peninsula in Los Angeles
County, California. My husband and I both grew up here - our parents and
brothers are still here... We sure didn't stray far from home! I've been
recording contemporary Catholic music since 1991 - I've made four albums so
far - and I've been blessed to travel and see much of our country doing
Catholic television and church concerts, and I've sung in other countries
too - like Brazil, Canada, Germany, and I'll singing in Italy in the next
couple of weeks! The schedule gets a little crazy sometimes, but it's
important to me to say "yes" to every opportunity to minister in song!
CM: What do you feel makes your music unique? What are some of your goals
and hopes for your music?
My music is unique in that I hear it's very soothing. I don't know, but I
think it's the tone of my voice. I hope it has a calming, peaceful effect on
people so they can open their hearts to God in prayer and also accept any
hard times or circumstances they're going through with a peaceful heart,
knowing that God is right there with them.
CM: Please describe your own faith
journey with the Catholic Church, and how
this has impacted upon your music ministry.
I grew up Catholic and was involved in the Youth
Group and the Youth Choir
from my early teens. I looked around briefly at other denominations while in
college, but I found I hungered deeply for the Eucharist. I came back and
vowed to bring the outward enthusiasm I found in the other churches to my
Catholic church, and I've never looked back! In 1991 I went to Medjugorje,
and that deepened my faith even more. It is very important to never stop
learning, but to grow in knowledge of the faith. I love reading the
writings of the Saints, and I'm in three different prayer/study groups. I
just can't get enough! :)
CM: Fill us in on your musical
background...what type of training have you
had? What's your favorite type of music?
I've been singing since 3rd grade or so. I
received wonderful training in
the Choir at Loyola Marymount University, and I've been keeping up with
voice lessons and performance coaching. It's important to me to do my best
on stage so I can get the message across clearly and the people can just
relax and take it all in. As for my favorite type of music, I have to say
it just depends on my mood! (Such a woman!) I like the clean message and
the great vocals in Country, I absolutely love Modern Rock Worship music -
it carries me through any stressful times, I also adore Classical music - it
just sends me...!, and I love to have peaceful, beautiful music playing in
my house all day - it calms the atmosphere...... like Sarah Brightman,
Andrea Bocelli, Yanni...
CM: Who are some of your favorite
recording artists, both Catholic and
My favorite Catholic artists are Matt Maher (like crazy!), Ceili Rain, Renee
Bondi, Greg Walton... And non-Catholic, I mostly love the Irish band "The
Corrs." They're very talented with their instruments, and they blend Celtic
music with pop. It's really great. Besides, they've played for the Pope! :)
And right now, I just love anything I hear from Clay Aiken and Luther
Vandross. Also, I love going on power walks with JoDee Messina in my
CM: How do you choose the music you
will record? If you write original
lyrics, what is the inspiration behind your words?
I usually come at an album with a few popular
Catholic songs that I love and
that I want to present in a slightly unique light. My producer will then
play for me a bunch of songs, and if I totally love any, I'll include them.
Then we usually co-write one or more, depending on the album. I'm primarily
a lyricist, and I always write from my life experience - mostly moments
with family that are personal yet hopefully common enough that the listener
CM: What can Catholic parents do to
support Catholic recording artists? How
can we help our children make good listening choices?
Catholic parents can support Catholic recording
artists in a few ways: 1.
Get our music by visiting our websites and those of our distributors. 2.
Listen and enjoy! 3. Contact us for our press kits and pass them on to your
pastors - In other words, invite us to sing for your parish! We love to do
concerts in churches, and it certainly helps spread the message of
Contemporary Catholic Music! Also, I'm in my car a lot, so I just say I
have a rule: Music is the driver's choice! That's when I play my Catholic
CDs (since my kids are older, I play the pop or rock ones) or I put on
Catholic or contemporary Christian radio. I think it sinks in through
osmosis that way... Also, as the kids get older, the family must keep to
strict standards as to what's appropriate and what's not in their listening
choices. I present it like, "That's not good enough for your beautiful
ears," or "You're too good for that stuff." No foul language, no bad rap!
There are such great musicians in Catholic music, especially Lifeteen, that
it should please any teen or pre-teen. Also, there are so many genres in
Catholic music now - we're not just Litugical anymore! (Even though I love
Liturgical music - I still cantor at my church.)
CM: What future projects are you
In the next few months, I hope to be finishing my
Rosary CD. It's shaping
up, but with the time I put in with my family, things are moving
After that, it's on to another music album! I hope and pray to do five more
albums before my voice gives out. We'll see what God has planned!
CM: How can our readers order your
My four albums are available through my website: www.gretchen-harris.com.
There are song samples for listening and lots of info and pictures. Also
there's a guestbook and a link to email me to say hi! My music can also be
ordered on several other websites, like
Catholic Music Network,
TroubadourForTheLord.com, and Amazon.com. My albums are also available in
many Catholic bookstores; if they're not in yours, ask them to order some
through HeartBeat Records or Troubadour Distribution.
CM: Are there any additional
comments or thoughts you'd like to share with
our CatholicMom.com readers?
Mostly, just keep up with that prayer life! I know
it's hard with kids and
husbands to take care of and love, but there's nothing like the help gained
from the Lord and the Blessed Mother. I get up early and go to Mass every
day at 6:00am - it's the perfect start to a usually hectic day! Plus daily
Rosaries, Chaplets, Scripture readings, weekly Adoration -- It's like Heaven
on Earth! And thank you so much for reading this interview. I look forward
to you visiting my website, listening to my music, and hopefully meeting you
someday in person!
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