Southwest Oklahoma's Resource For News and Entertainment
Tuesday June 19th 2018

Up Close and Personal with Ali Harter

Ali Harter, a former Duncan resident and singer/songwriter/musician from Choctaw, Oklahoma has been playing in bands or as a solo musician for well over twelve years. Harter has become a veteran of the national and international music scene.

Harter is with the Oklahoma City label, Little Mafia Records, which released her second full-length album this past spring titled, “No Bees, No Honey”. The album features over a dozen musicians, including Mike Kennerty of the very popular band, “The All-American Rejects”.

Since Harter’s initial album, “Worry the Bone” (2007), she has become an international success, touring consistently in places such as France, Belgium, Italy, & Switzerland. Harter recently traveled to Switzerland to play the prestigious Montreaux Jazz Festival with known acts such as BB King, Dave Matthews, Herbie Hancock, Alice Cooper, Earth, Wind and Fire, Prince, The Black Eyed Peas and many others.

Harter has been fortunate enough to share the stage with such acts as: Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert, and has shared festival billing with the Flaming Lips, Leon Russell, Ben Harper, Tori Amos, The Black Crowes, and many others.

Her music can be found in several award-winning independent films such as “Barking Water” and television shows. In March, along with the release of her new album, Harter had two songs featured on the ABC prime-time hit television show “Grey’s Anatomy”. Following the success of her music placement on the television show, Harter toured again in France and after a show at The Olympia, she was presented a gold record. The gold record came from the international song “This Train”, a song she co-wrote and sang with famed French artist Wax Tailor, which also featured New Orleans’ ‘Voice’.

Ali was gracious enough to take time out of her busy schedule to talk with OKIE Magazine about her return home for the Lawton 109th Birthday celebration. Of course, we took the opportunity to toss some of the questions you want answers to most.

What was the first musical instrument you learned to play? Did your family have influence in your choices and career path?

I started out playing fiddle.. But quickly started playin’ it like a guitar, so my folks switched me. My Dad was a drummer for a while, and taught me how to play ‘House of the Rising Sun’ on guitar too.

That was the first thing I learned to play on guitar. My Mom could always sing, but just for fun, and mainly in the car.

What about musical influences?

Foo Fighters, Supergrass, Superdrag, The Beatles, Garth Brooks, Space Hog, when I was in middle school, and as I got older I started to appreciate and really love Bonnie Raitt, Joe Cocker, Richie Havens, Ida Cox, Big Mama Thorton, The Band, Canned Heat, stuff like that. Although, the early influences are still my favorites too.

The one musical artist (dead or alive) that you would love to perform a duet with?

Bonnie Raitt/Joe Cocker.. Toss up.

What is your favorite song on the No Bees. No Honey. release? why?

It changes.. ‘All Over Me’ right now. Its pretty epic, to me. I love the ‘movie music’ feel of some of the songs, and the production of this particular song, I love. Theres even a toned down holler in it at the end, that when we were recording it, I kept referring to as a ‘Gladiator’ yell.. Like the movie. I think the subject matter is similar to what I always write about, just maybe in a little more mature manner.

Maybe. Ha!

If you want fans to know one thing about this newest release, what would it be?

It’s my ‘Figure 8’. Don’t be mad at me.

What was your first performance on stage like (solo or with band)?

Horrid. Timid, nervous, amateur, and probably felt like pulling teeth to watch. That or paint drying. I used to suck.

What was the best part of touring Europe?

France is slowly becoming a second home to me. I cant say there is one thing. The culture, the hospitality, the language, the history, the food, the audiences are completely different. Its hard to peg one thing. I like touring in the US and in France the same, for different reasons.

Favorite thing about coming home?

The sight of the city. The smell. The red dirt. Thats after just getting off the plane, and after, my family, my house, my dogs, mexican food, playing shows in the bars I frequent. Friends. Everything. Everything is in slow motion with a movie soundtrack behind it for a few days when I get back. You learn to appreciate everything.

What was it like growing up in Oklahoma?

Perfect. Just wild enough, and just grounded enough. I will never live anywhere else if I have it my way.. probably because of how I grew up. It was just, perfect.

And now the nitty gritty –

Do you sing in the shower?

Used to sing ‘Star Spangled Banner’ in the shower when I was a kid, so my Mother says. Now a days.. Sometimes, Alicia Keys, or Bonnie Raitt, or Jamie Lidell.

What is your favorite midnight snack?

Jack Daniels.

What do you like to do most in your spare time?

Garden. I learned from my Mother and Grandmother. I mean, they never actually ‘taught’ me to garden. I just learned to love it from watching them. Its a beautiful thing to do really, garden. The life and growth and death of the whole thing.

Have you ever written on a bathroom stall?

Just things like, ‘Why are you wasting time, or trying to be profound writing in a bathroom stall? You are an idiot.’ Which is ironic really..

If you could possess a superpower, what would it be?

Rouge’s powers from X-men. I think that’s my style.

You want to absorb the memories, physical strength, and the abilities of anyone you touch? Sexy. For artistic purposes, of course, right?

I don’t think the superpowers would be strictly for artistic purposes. I would use them in general, when it was beneficial to me. I like the idea of it being a curse too.

Favorite thing about summer?

Summer skin. The heat. The sweat. The trouble. All rules go out the window in the summer.

How much time do you spend on social networking sites?

Twitter is stupid. I Facebook alot, I like that one. Its good for keeping up with my family and friends. Its set up pretty good too. Myspace is an abandoned building of a website, so to speak. Which is unfortunate, because that’s where I usually go to listen to bands, its so easy. I guess I use them a lot. It’s necessary for this job I think.

How many tats?

10ish? They started off as markers of tours, but I went on too many to keep up. So I quickly realized I should stop that. Then I started just getting joke tattoos.. Which may or may not be good. About half of them are things I really wanted to carry with me, and the other half are things that I now HAVE TO carry with me. Ha. But I love them, and wouldn’t change them because they are somewhere I’ve been, or something I’ve done. And I have one horrible mystery tattoo, that no one ever sees.

Who is the last person you called?

My husband. Just ‘Skyped’ him from my hotel room in Val D’ Isere, France. Got about a week left of tour.

If you had a bucket list, what are some things you would put down?

I don’t really have one. I’ve lived a pretty good life so far. It freaks people out when I say this, but if I died tonight, I wouldn’t be scared or sad. I’m not going to wish on things or hope to do something some day. If you don’t have plans or expectations, you cant be let down. Everything is always new and good and exciting. Only thing that comes close to a bucket list for me, is, maybe, replacing our bathroom floor, catching a pig to learn to make Saucisson, or getting my boots resoled. Things like that.

Where will Ali Harter be in five years?

In five years, I will probably be sitting in some hotel room somewhere doing this exact same thing. I’m not good at anything else anymore. I suppose I’ll ramble til I die.

Thankfully for her fans in Southwest Oklahoma, there is no waiting to catch Ali Harter perform. She will be pleasing the crowd at the 109th Birthday celebration for Lawton, Oklahoma at Elmer Thomas Park on August 6th. Her set starts at 8:30 pm and will be followed by a viewing of the film ‘Barking Water’, featuring some of Ali’s music.

The new Ali Harter website was recently launched, www.alihartermusic.com, where fans can keep up to-date with her media coverage, tour schedules and other news. Other websites are www.facebook.com/aliharterfans, www.twitter.com/alihartermusic.com, and www.myspace.com/aliharter.

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