We had the good fortune of connecting with Charyn Harris and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Charyn, what role has risk played in your life or career?
There is adventure in being unpredictable and being a disruptor. If you play it safe and if you don’t take risks, how will you reach your true potential? How will you even know what you are capable of? What is the cost of taking the risk vs. the cost of not taking the risk?
One risk I took was leaving my comfortable job at a large corporation and driving across the country to pursue a career as a musician. I had $800 saved in the bank and only knew one person in my new home in Los Angeles. This was an important pivot in how I viewed myself and my ability to reach my potential.
I grew up in a very “safe” and “predictable” environment. The goals in my family were to go to college, get a job with benefits, join a union and sail through life until retirement. Maybe I would buy some property and take an annual family vacation. While I don’t think anything is wrong with this plan, sometimes you have to clue in to yourself, your intuition, and your spirit. One of the worse injustices you can do is to ignore your inner voice and your true calling. I took quite a few risks that ended up working in my favor and contributing to my happiness. I can’t imagine where I would be had I not followed my inner voice.
When you’re taking a risk, you have to be prepared for the outcome. It may or may not be what you intended. I personally enjoy the challenge of figuring out how to sway it to my favor. Allowing myself to take risks and being comfortable with taking risks helps me to shift into spaces that I never would’ve imagined. I’m empowered by the thought of knowing that if I don’t try, I’ll never know the outcome.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I began my career as a keyboardist and vocalist. It never for one second dawned on me that I was entering a male-dominated field. I worked really hard to develop my skills so that I could be competitive. I also had major anxiety. As my career progressed, I transitioned into teaching and mentoring, I actually discovered that this was a great place for me. I didn’t realize how much knowledge I had amassed over building my career. My passion for sharing knowledge became evident in the success of the music program that I began building. While working as a musician, an music educator, and even in my current position in music management, I have had to deal with jealousy, criticism, and obstacles. I have learned to not take anything personally. I eventually overcame anxiety and low self-esteem among other challenges, through lots of inner-work. Challenges only make me push for my goals even harder. A major part of my brand is being relatable, understanding, and compassionate. I have a strict policy which is for any problem that arises, I need to find at least two solutions to overcome it. Now I teach others how to break free and overcome their challenges. I’m also passionate about telling important stories around the arts and will be hosting The Charyn Harris Experience on SIRIUS XM’s Studio 54 Radio.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If I had my bestie coming in from out of town, on day 1, we would go to Mama Shelter for a roof-top hang when the DJ is there spinning and have a few cocktails. The next day, we would stop by Kale My Name, which is Tabitha Brown’s restaurant in Encino for breakfast then go to Point Dume by Zuma Beach and hang until about 4pm. Then, we would drive heading south on PCH to Malibu Seafood, which is one of my favorite spots. We would order dinner to go, hop in the car and find a spot on the beach where we could catch the sunset. The next day, we would rest during the day and hit the Hollywood Bowl for a great concert. If we’re lucky, we’ll get backstage passes to hang out with the artists. Day 4 is a spa day! Off to Glen Ivy in Corona. A full day of relaxing in the many pools and natural mineral springs. Day 5 is here, and we’re spending the day shopping before heading to The Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills for afternoon high tea. There’s a live band playing in Hollywood, so we can catch some live music before heading home. Day 6 is Universal City. That’s an all-day affair, lol. Day 7, time to bid adieu, but not before a champagne brunch at Fixin’s in DTLA. Their grape jam butter on homemade biscuits is the business!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to give a Shoutout to Tanisha Hall founder of the White Hall Arts Academy which is an amazing resource to the community she serves. She has such an incredible passion for making sure that youth have access to arts education from young beginners to more advanced students who want to pursue professional opportunities. She is dynamic, talented and an incredible resource to the City of Los Angeles and beyond.
Other: Join me on SIRIUS XMs Studio 54 Radio for The Charyn Harris Experience where I share stories of movers and shakers who shaped the world of dance music and pop culture.
Theran Alexander Ben Jackson