Nova Scotia

Kim Harris to perform ode to mother's memory at ECMAs

Halifax singer-songwriter Kim Harris's latest release, Only the Mighty, garnered her four Nova Scotia Music awards this past fall and has now brought Harris her first East Coast Music award nomination in the Rising Star Recording of the Year category.

Halifax singer-songwriter originally from Corner Brook

Halifax singer-songwriter Kim Harris will perform at the ECMA gala Thursday. (Kate Inglis)

Halifax singer-songwriter Kim Harris is a mighty voice coming from the East Coast.

Her latest release Only the Mighty garnered her four Nova Scotia Music awards this past fall and has now brought Harris her first East Coast Music award nomination in the Rising Star Recording of the Year category.

On Thursday night, Harris will be given to chance to have her potent voice heard across the Atlantic provinces when she performs at the ECMA gala held at Jack Bryne Arena in Torbay, N.L.

This performance is a special one for Harris, who is originally from Corner Brook.

Her musical ambitions were fuelled at an early age by her family, which recognised her talent. At four years of age she began playing piano and by eight she was training as a classical singer.

In 2005, Harris traveled to Toronto to study classical opera singing at the Glen Gould School, but headed home after only a few months enrolled in the program.

"While I was there my mom got sick, so I left the program, which is kind of unheard of," she says.

Later that year her mother, Judy, passed away, leaving Harris in a state of darkness.

"She always was there for every show, she brought me to every practice, every lesson and she just continuously told me I was special and told me I was beautiful every day," Harris says.

To help with healing, Harris turned to writing. Those songs would eventually become the foundation of her nominated album Only the Mighty.  

"When I started writing my own music, I felt like all I could write about was grief and loss," she says. "It would always come back around to that subject."

One of the songs written during the period has become one of the most profound tracks on the album. The Weight of it All features sentimental lyrics that are sure to tug at the heartstrings of audience members this Thursday night as she performs the song live during the ECMA gala.

Harris says the song incorporates what she went through from the time her mother first got sick up until she died.

"I would have a lot of dreams and flashbacks of it and I was there with her where she died," Harris says. "I sort of just brought it all into one expression of what happened to me and what I know happens to a lot of other people."

10th anniversary of mother's death

"I've gotten a lot of lovely messages and people coming up to me letting me know how that song has helped them in that way. I really think that that's the bottom line as far as making music goes for me."

Harris' chance to perform the ode to her mother at the gala will come on the 10th anniversary of her passing.

"There something this universe has given me here, because it's pretty special," she said.

When asked what her mother would say if she had the chance to see this performance, Harris said she would have been proud.

"She always was there for show for every show she brought me to every practice every lesson and she just continuously told me I was special and told me I was beautiful everyday."

"She'd be so proud. I think that's why it's so amazing because she always was the person to say you can do this, you can be a musician/artists if you want to in whatever capacity."

For Harris, the weight of East Coast Music Week will boil down to this performance on her old stomping grounds.

"It's an absolute dream really to honor her that way."   

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