Take the vocal and melodic sound of Seal; add a little funk; guitar work like Toto; bundled with a spiritual focus; and you have - Rufus Harris.
With four projects under his belt and one more in the making – this Recording Artist has taken Christian music to a whole new level. Each cleverly crafted album illustrates Rufus’ creativity and varied musical influences. His upbringing in Alaska exposed him to all types of musical artists ranging from Sly and the Family Stone to the Beatles.
In 1999 he released his self-titled project that layered an array of compositional styles set into a smooth pop and r&b format. His heartfelt lyrics revealed a man on a spiritual journey coupled with soothing vocals and soaring guitar solos that left listeners inspired and wanting more. And Rufus did not disappoint. He followed that up with his sophomore release in 2003 entitled How Do You Read It? HDYRI thrilled fans with a cradle of sound that revealed Rufus’ rock edge without neglecting his soulful style. Its catchy melodies, driving rhythms and candid lyrics created a visionary journey that captured an honest yet hopeful look at the state of the Western church. Then in 2006 Rufus did something he said he’d never do. Often dubbed as Scrooge, Rufus felt Christmas had lost its true meaning and the season was one he began to dislike. But over the years fans had encouraged him to record Christmas songs. He released Come and Listen: Songs of the Savior. Come and Listen proved that there was nothing Rufus couldn’t tackle. This album managed to capture many of the holiday classics that you’ve come to know and love. The creative spin that Rufus lent to these Christmas songs was nothing short of refreshing. These carefully crafted renditions managed to maintain the magic of old, while new musical arrangement kept listeners guessing as each song unfolded.
In 2012 he released a new happy birthday song Rufus co-wrote with his wife. Happy Birthday to You is a fun musical blend of pop, rock and jazz with bluesy undertones. Finger popping, hand clapping and fresh harmonies abound in this clever single. Marlin Lewis Baker of Jazz Band – Zamar makes a significant contribution to this song with a grooving sax solo and Rufus Harris shines and is fluid on both acoustic and electric guitar.
His recent release is entitled basics. It is an acoustically-driven collection of songs with spiritual concepts centered on the "basics of the Christian faith. " Basics is a collection of songs from two of Rufus' CDs: rufus harris (self-titled) and How Do You Read It? Originally, these songs featured the electric guitar as the principle instrument. These versions, however, are more acoustically-driven. He has also included four new songs: a cover of the beautiful song Tapestry by Glenn Kaiser (Rez Band); Blessed Abundantly (the 1st song he wrote as a believer); Rescue – inspired by Fanny Crosby (1864); and his original Happy Birthday to You song. The songs he chose for basics have spiritual concepts that he considers to be the basics of Christian faith and deal with topics such as giving praise to God, the importance of diversity, Christian lifestyle, and reaching the lost. He calls this CD "prison-inspired" and created this project because there were many places he was invited to perform his music but for security reasons could not take in his electric guitar – namely prison. So he performed the songs on acoustic guitar and wanted a project that represented this sound.
When not performing at coffeehouses and churches, Rufus often spends his time sharing his music with prisoners. He is a platform artist for Chuck Colson’s Prison Fellowship and performs for inmates throughout Michigan. He and his wife Denise, who is the field director for Prison Fellowship in Michigan, connect local artists to prison ministry opportunities throughout the country.
In an effort to help other independent Christian artists, he and Denise founded The CAMP – Christian Artists and Musicians Project – a non-profit organization that assists and showcases diverse independent artists. The organization’s most visible event - 4thFridays with rufus harris has become one of Metro Detroit’s premier venues for Christian entertainment. Because of the venue's reputation and success, numerous individuals and organizations have sought guidance from Rufus and Denise on starting similar venues.
Rufus continues to touch many with his unforgettable melodies and thought-provoking lyrics. He has become a mentor to artists and prisoners and an inspiration to Christian music lovers everywhere. He currently lives in the Detroit area with wife of 21 years - Denise; has two beautiful daughters (Naomi & Simone); and is "Grandpappy" to two delightful granddaughters (Ariel & Autumn). He is pastor of a small bible- based fellowship called The Bridge Church in Pontiac, Michigan.