Writer and Artist in Los Angeles
Sam Harris-Courtesy Photo
Originally posted in the Pasadena Independent.
By Nathaniel Cayanan
If you look online, you’ll find a video montage of performer Sam Harris singing a soulful rendition of the song “Over the Rainbow.” It starts with a youthful, mullet-headed Harris, looking like a diplomat of the ‘80s, in his star-making performance on “Star Search.” It then jump cuts to him in a bright, neon jacket a few sizes too big, then to him on different stages throughout his career, and finally to him in his later years. While it has been more than three decades since that performance, which put him on the map of the entertainment world, it’s clear in this video that Harris has preserved a voice and a presence that is still as lively and soulful.
A born entertainer, Harris has had a storied career. He’s earned a Motown contract deal and has multiple studio albums under his belt. He’s performed in New York, London, the White House, an array of award-winning shows on and off Broadway such as “The Producers,” “Cabaret,” and “Hair,” and on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. He’s even produced the song “My Reclamation,” which has come to be known by many as the anthem for marriage equality.
But as diverse as his career has been, it pales in comparison to the interesting life he’s lived, a life that is detailed and explored in both his book, “Ham: Slices of Life: Essays and Stories” and the show it inspired, “Ham: A Musical Memoir.”