RICHIE HARRISON BIO
RICHIE HARRISON, aka DJ RichSource is an American drummer, producer, DJ and recording artist from the Bronx, New York. Harrison exhibited innate musical abilities and was considered a musical prodigy with a remarkable sense of meter.
In 1970, at the age of 8 years, Harrison also began acting and trained with acting coach and mother of actress Kim Fields, Chip Fields, as part of the Al Fann Mini Ensemble. Harrison was initially cast to star in motion picture film Claudine with Lawrence Hilton Jacobs, in the role of Francis when the lead actress, Diana Sands, died during filming the movie. By that time the studio decide to scrap the original film, and recast it with Diane Carroll, Harrison had outgrew the role.
Later that year, Harrison’s sister, Linda took him to meet Michael Bonds who managed a band named Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band. During the band’s break Harrison got on stage to play their percussion instruments. Bonds recognized the natural talent of young Harrison and encouraged him to continue perfecting his performance. Harrison received his first drum set at the age of 9 for Christmas and started taking drum lessons at the age of 10.
At the age 12, Harrison has been a freelance drummer since age 12 when his mother and maternal grandmother took him on vacation to Ocho Rios, Jamaica where they visited the Playboy Club Resort as a birthday present. While there he noticed the drum set on stage at the nightclub, and would practice playing the drums. One day when the house band’s drummer found Harrison playing on his drum set, he taught him how to play a Calypso beats and encouraged Richie to play live with the band during their regular set. This experience was the start of Harrison’s freelance drumming career which has lead him to backing popular professional musicians across all musical genres around the world.
Richie is best known for his work with Radiance, Jack Sass, James Chance and the Contortions, James White and the Blacks, Defunkt, Les Rita Mitsouko, Eye & I, Grandmaster Melly Mel and The Furious Five.
RICHIE HARRISON’S CAREER
In 1977, at the age of 15, Richie Harrison performed on his first record, “This Is A Party”, with the group Radiance and music director, James McNary of WARE Records.
In 1980, Harrison played drums on the hit single “Much Too Much” on the Sassified album by the Jack Sass Band.
Growing up in the Soundview section of the South Bronx during the time when legendary DJ battles occurring between Grandmaster Flash and DJ Cool Herc paved the foundation of Hip Hop music and culture. Richie’s ability to replicate the “get down” parts of records, led to an opportunity for him to play drums with Hip Hop legends, Grandmaster Melle Mel & the Furious Five, performing with the MCs on their first European tour.
At age 17, Richie began playing drums in the punk funk band, James Chance and the Contortions (also at times performing under James White and The Blacks). Harrison toured with the band and performed on the albums Live at Aux Bain Douches in Paris and Live in New York.
Richie also performed on-screen as a member of James White and The Blacks in the film Downtown 81 during a scene at a NYC nightclub.
Harrison, along with Joseph Bowie and several other members from James White and The Blacks branched off to form the punk-funk-jazz fusion band, Defunkt. With them Harrison performed live and on the recordings Strangle Me With Your Love and On the Razor’s Edge, 1981-82.
In 1983, Harrison appeared in an episode of the groundbreaking show, Gimme A Break!, entitled “The Big Apple – Part 1” as the drummer in a street band backing Nell Carter‘s cover of Gary Numan’s song “On Broadway”, during season three in episode #17. This episode also featured a cameo appearance by the Honorable Mayor Ed I. Koch, during his time in office as the Mayor of New York City.
Harrison was recruited to join and tour with the French band Les Rita Mitsouko in Paris from 1987-90. During tour breaks, Richie began acquiring equipment to produce music for independent rappers and musicians. Harrison left Les Rita Mitsouko and returned to the United States when his New York City based black alternative rock band, Eye & I, signed a deal with Epic Records in 1990.
Formed in the mid 1980’s, Eye & I emerged from the Downtown New York punk scene and the Black Rock Coalition, a movement dedicated to development and support of black alternative music, founded by Vernon Reid, Greg Tate, Konda Mason, and DK Dyson, lead singer of Eye & I.
The band performed through out New York City until being signed by Sony Music in 1990. Eye & I released a self-titled album in 1992 featuring Virgin Heart and Venus In Furs, a remake of the classic Velvet Underground song. Harrison and the band toured with Bodycount, The Psychedelic Furs, and Ziggy Marley to support the album in 1992. After the tour ended in 1993, Eye & I broke up over creative differences.
In 1996, Harrison appeared as a drummer backing female R&B group Xscape during a club scene when the band performed the DeBarge hit song, All This Love, in an episode of New York Undercover entitled “Sympathy For The Devil” during the second season in episode #44.
Richie has also toured with Evelyn “Champagne” King (1981-82), Oliver Lake (1983), Lilo Thomas (1983), Grandmaster Melle Mel and the Furious Five (1985), Freda Payne (1986), Johnny Copeland (1985-86), Junior Walker (1986), Atlantic Starr (1997), Aziza Miller (2016), and local independent bands with seasoned musicians in New York City.
In 2000, when the Boys Club of New York started a music program in Harlem, Harrison was recruited as drum instructor to teach NYC youths ages 6-19 the art of drums and percussion techniques. Two of his star pupils are Shajuan Andrews, who is endorsed by VIC FIRTH and is also the creator of TWS. The other is Shariq Tucker, who won the 2014 Guitar Center Drum Off with prizes included commercial sponsorship with world-renowned cymbal maker, Zildjian.
In August 2016, Harrison recorded, played drums on, and produced the album This Journey Of Love by songstress Aziza Miller, known for co-writing the hit song La Costa with Natalie Cole. Harrison also co-wrote a single on the album called “Say Yes (Time To Get My Blessing)” and later produced a remix version of the song with world-renowned percussionist, Gary M. Fritz.
In 2017, Harrison recorded and played on drums on two tracks off of Treblemaker by contemporary jazz, neo soul, funk flutist Ragan Whiteside; “See You At The Get Down” and “Early Arrival”. Ragan’s single, “Early Arrival” charted in the Top 10 across ALL Smooth Jazz Radio including Billboard, RadioWave, Media Base, SmoothJazz.com, and Groove Jazz. Harrison also played drums with Ragan Whiteside’s band during her winning performance at the 2006 Capital Jazz New Artist Competition. He continues to play drums with Ragan Whiteside during her live appearances in New York City.
Richie Harrison is the owner of a publishing company established in the 1980’s that was named “Pop Babe” in honor of his great grandfather Charles Williams, a Cuban immigrant, Tuskegee Airman, WWI veteran and talented pianist. Pop Babe Publishing is a Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) member whose catalog consists of original and collaborative music created by Richie Harrison under the imprint RichSource Music Production. Richie produces independent music, advises artists on developing their sound, and often contributes to the composition of his client’s work.