Harmony in Life: Atlanta's soul haven launches new label
Published 07.16.08, Atlanta Creative Loafing
By Amena Brown
Photo By Raymond Hagans
Caption: PJ Morton and his band move the crowd.
HARMONY IN LIFE
In Atlanta, the term "harmony in life" is more than hippie talk. It represents a collective of musicians who first came together at the Hard Rock Café's Velvet Underground room and is now anchored at the Sugarhill club in Underground.
What began as a jam session for local artists has grown into a multimedia brand – known as Harmony in Life – that hosts monthly live music. Backed by sick-with-it house band Vibe-Raiders, the show features such homegrown artists as PJ Morton, Algebra and Rahbi, as well as national artists India.Arie, Dionne Farris and Raheem DeVaughn.
With a roster that consists of mostly unsigned soul, R&B and hip-hop acts, Harmony In Life founder Ron Smith has cultivated a network that helps artists get their music to the right audiences.
"We are striving to get good music to the people who want to hear it," Smith says. "We want to create a revolving door of fans, so one artist's crowd can be turned on to another artist's crowd. We're stronger together than we are apart. That's something artists need to know."
Smith and business partner Mike Dawson launched Harmony in Life Records last year to offer independent artists distribution and promotion. The label's first project, the double CD For the Moment/A Soul Acoustic, was released May 7 and features singer/songwriter Dain Harris and guitarist/producer Brandon A. Thomas, both Harmony in Life regulars.
"From the artists' perspective there's a camaraderie [at the show] that's hard to find," Thomas says. "You get to know everybody and there is networking beyond belief. From an administrative standpoint, the label has been my saving grace. It was good to have a team of people to help with that."
In celebration of classic soul, the four-year anniversary show will be a Stevie Wonder tribute and jam session, featuring past Harmony in Life performers Anthony David, Heston, Rahbi, Chimere and more.
Harmony in Life Anniversary show. $10-$15. Sat., July 19. 9 p.m. Sugarhill, 50 Upper Alabama St. 404-658-0068. Purchase tickets at www.ticketalternative.com, Moods Music, Marco's Pita, Soul of Sisa or Cafe Circa.