Emmylou Harris is a very successful American country musician who also happens to be a noteworthy songwriter and singer at the same time. She is also known for her activism works such as advocating for animal rights and woman empowerment.
Who is Emmylou Harris?
Emmylou Harris was born in Alabama in April 1947. She was born in a military heavy family. She is the daughter of Officer Walter Harris and dedicated housewife Eugenia who stood by the family even though growing up around army bases was tough. In 1952 her father spent almost a year in an Asian prison as a hostage after being reported as missing in action.
Harris spent most of her childhood in the leafy suburbs of North Carolina. She attended GF Senior High School and she actually graduated at the top of her class. After High School, she managed to score sponsorship to the UNCG School of Music from a drama grant. She went on to study T&D at the Greensborough campus.
While studying music at the university, she picked up impressive guitar skill playing to the songs of music icons like J Baez. At some point, she decided to drop college studies to focus on her own music. She moved to NY where she worked in a dinner to boost her finances. During the 1960’s, Harris performed the old love songs from iconic artist in small food establishments across the city.
In 1971, after she had finished performing in New York, Chris Hillman noticed her talented singing and was considering if she would join his singing group. He however opted to refer her to G Parsons. At the time, the artist was hunting for a powerfully-voiced lady to assist with his first release. Harris became part of the Parsons’ group that was controversial named the Fallen Angels. GP teamed up with Harris to create an album together called Grievous Angel and it was released later in 1974 after Parsons had tragically passed away later the previous year from a drugs and alcohol overdose. Harris went on to collaborate with producer B Ahern and the two brought the album ‘Pieces of the Sky’ to life in 1975.
In order to be recorded by the Warner Bros Records, the executives required that she form a band and she did as such. The band was cleverly dubbed ‘Hot Band’ and it was comprised of the piano protégé Hardin as well as popular guitarist JB. These two had previously played for Presley and Parsons. The band included a popular drum expert Ware and Gordy who was a seasoned bass singer and guitarist Hank DeVito. These three had worked with Harris when she was still singing with Parsons.
Crowell, a singer and songwriter also joined the group and fiddled with the drums while proving to be a competent duet partner. In December 1995 she released an album "Elite Hotel" which was a major hit as it was ranked first position in the country music category. The album went on to win a Grammy award in 1976 for its impressive vocals in the female category.
In 1979, Emmy released 3 albums despite having given birth to her first daughter and one of them, the BKG, won her a Grammy award the same year. During this period, she had shifted to traditional country music although the public was starting to embrace Urban Cowboy sound which was a different style of singing compared to her original singing. In 1980, together with Roy Orbison, they were awarded a Grammy for the single "That feeling Again".
Also in 1987, together with Holly Parton and her duet co-star Ronstadt, she produced an album which was a major hit, being top on Country's Album chart for 5 weeks and it earned them a Grammy. She continued to work with more musicians especially young upcoming ones and she has even been in a gospel album. In 2016 Emmylou was honored with a tribute concert titled, "The Life and Songs of Emmylou Harris".
Was Emmylou Harris ever married?
While performing in Greenwich Village in 69, Emmy met songwriter Tom Slocum and they instantly got married. Their marriage was however short-lived as they divorced in 1970. After the divorce, Harris found that she was pregnant and she gave birth to a daughter in March 1970. Harris named her daughter Mika Hallie Slocum. For that particular time, she moved back to Washington DC where her parents' farm was located to raise her daughter.
In 1977, Harris found love again and she got married to Brian Ahern who was her current producer. They got married in Halifax which was Brian's home place and together they had a daughter named Megan Ahern who was born in September 1979 in Burbank, California. Their marriage didn't last long again as they separated in 1984.
Harris didn't take time to find love again and, immediately after her second divorce, she got married to Paul Kennerley in 1985. Paul was a singer and a songwriter. Harris third marriage did not produce a child and just like the previous marriages, it ended in divorce later in 93.
Emmylou has been involved in a lot of social activities advocating for different things. In 1997 and 1998 she was into promoting feminism in music. She performed in Sarah McLachlan's Lilith Fair for the cause. From 1999, she was organizing tours by the name, Concerts for a Landing Free World where the proceeds supported the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation's agenda of trying to assist innocent victims around the world who have been hurt or inconvenienced by the conflicts occurring in their regions.
The tour is also meant to raise America's awareness of problems which are affecting the world. There are numerous artists who have joined Harris on this noble quest including the likes of Lucinda Williams, Patty Griffin and Mary Chapin Carpenter to name a few. Emmylou is also an active member of PETA and a strong supporter of animal rights. She built an animal shelter named Bonaparte's Retreat in Nashville where she actively helps out in her spare time. In 2011, a Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences was formed and she was appointed to be a member of the commission.
What is the net worth of Emmylou Harris?
Emmylou Harris is worth around $ 15 million. She has gained most of her fortune through music; both singing and songwriting.