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Jason D. Harris: “Don’t be afraid to ask questions and make mistakes”

I would rebuild city schools, create job programs, and build safe housing for the most vulnerable. My childhood church is located in an extremely poor neighborhood of North St. Louis. Growing up, I witnessed the positive effects our church programs had on the community. Celestial Temple of Peace created safe summer programs for kids, bought […]

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I would rebuild city schools, create job programs, and build safe housing for the most vulnerable. My childhood church is located in an extremely poor neighborhood of North St. Louis. Growing up, I witnessed the positive effects our church programs had on the community. Celestial Temple of Peace created safe summer programs for kids, bought and fixed up run down houses, and helped people get back on their feet. I can only imagine what that would do on a large scale and I would love to do the same.


As a part of our series about rising music stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Jason D. Harris, founder of Mind of the Noise Media, is a 34-yr-old rapper, songwriter, music engineer, music producer, and fine artist from St. Louis, Missouri. As the child of Christian pastors and little brother of professional dancers, music was constantly running through the halls of his childhood. Since moving to Los Angeles to pursue his dreams, he has worked with some of L.A’s most talented musicians and producers.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

As a child growing up in St. Louis, Missouri. I was the youngest of five with a mother and stepfather that were pursuing their career in the Ministry. Whether I knew how to play a specific instrument or not, I was picked to be one of the youngest musicians for all church services. My parents believed in my musical talent and made sure I got a chance to play as much as possible. After services, I would rush home to set up my electronic equipment to compose hip-hop and soul music that I would hear on the radio.

I grew up in a lively and diverse Saint Louis neighborhood called Maplewood/Richmond Heights. It shared the border of the city and county, which Next door to my home was my school, Chaney Elementary. My childhood home was a two story red brick house on a dead end street surrounded by maple trees. At one point there were 20 people living in the house with us, including cousins and extended family. Everyone was into the arts and technology.

By the age of 12, I was already an entrepreneur. During the day, I ran a lawn mowing business in my neighborhood. And on weekend nights, I would throw basement parties for local high schoolers, equipped with professional D.J’s and charged 2.00 dollars per person. Throughout my childhood art and music remained a constant, so I just kept following that path by taking one step at a time to accomplish my goals.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

Growing up I was always drawn to the arts at a very deep level. I would spend all of my free time jamming out with trained and untrained musicians. I would make sure I was the first to sign up for all St. Louis Fox Theater school field trips, to see musicals such as “The Nutcracker”, ballet performances, and singers. I was blessed to have an older brother that was a professional dancer by the name of Robert Rautu Harris. I’ve watched him dance in the entertainment business with popular acts such as MC Hammer, Destiny’s Child, and Tamia. This part of my life led me into dancing as a hobby and composing music for dancers, poets and R&B Soul singers around town.

In my early teens, there were moments when I would cry while watching all of the BET award shows wishing I was performing live on stage. While watching the show I would visualize my name being called to receive an award for the best music album of the year. I also had moments seeing myself being interviewed and working as a music director or a musician on the set. I knew from an early age, this is what I wanted my life’s work to be about.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

In 2019, Kevin Teasley (Music Director) called me to work with Atlantic Records boy band, “Why Don’t We.” Before I knew any details, I took the job! I had never been a Live Pro Tools Playback Operator before (especially for large venues), but Kevin knew I could get the job done. It was a huge learning curve. I successfully completed a year-long worldwide tour with the boys and it was a great time! Also, it was my first time travelling throughout the country and around the world. My favorite story to tell was the time in Malaysia when a monkey stole my vanilla latte when I was touring the Batu Caves. I have to say that was the fun and interesting thing so far.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

The first time I lived in Los Angeles I was determined to find a job in a recording studio. I had my resumes printed and my plan was to walk in every studio to introduce myself. Little did I know, studios don’t work like that. They all have security and codes to enter. The funniest part is that as I walked up to the door someone opened it and let me in thinking I was a part of the band that just came through. When I got in, I recognized the guy from their website and greeted him by name. Confused, he asked if I belonged to the band, I told him I just stopped by to hand him my resume. He politely took the resume after telling me they don’t usually do that. Needless to say, I didn’t get the job. The lesson I learned was that if you just keep knocking on doors, one will open eventually. It’s all about what you do when it opens! Don’t give up, it eventually will happen.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

I am working on a few really incredible projects right now. Aside from working with Why Don’t We, I’m producing albums for three very talented female artists. Poetic Moment, Sabrina Rose, and Nat Stephens. All three of these female artists have music in different styles and sounds. The common thread is the powerful and soulful spirit and vibes these women bring to their music.

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

There are many reasons it is important for diversity to be represented in film and television. The first that comes to mind is to give others the opportunity to learn about the world around us. We are all a collection of our experiences and when we can understand another person’s experience it helps us learn. Diversity representation can also help us understand how others think. Third, it is important to have diversity represented in entertainment so the viewer can see themselves in characters on the screen. It affects our culture by giving viewers an opportunity to see themselves represented and allowing them to dream. It also helps our culture become more aware of how others live and think.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Never let anyone dictate who you are based on their beliefs and life experiences. I have had people really try to break me down with their beliefs about my talent. It was really hard to not accept their beliefs as reality. But, I stayed strong and proved them wrong, living my truth through and through.”
  2. Not everything you create is meant for the world to hear or understand. I create so much music and write so many songs. Some of the songs I create are just for me because they feel personal and others I can’t wait to share with the world. And both are okay.
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and make mistakes. I have always been afraid to fail. Now that I am further in my career, I have learned that you can’t fail if you keep asking the right questions and learning from your mistakes.
  4. “This is going to be a long road to success.” I always knew it would take some time, but I didn’t realize that I would have to go through 10 years of ups and downs to finally get to a starting point of success. I can see a clear path ahead of me now and I feel like I’m just getting started.
  5. Just because you don’t know something doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a shot. When I first started I turned down a few opportunities because I wasn’t sure I could do it. However, my confidence grew and now every time I have been presented with a job I just say “Yes” and figure it out along the way.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

First, take time to wind down with positive social circles.

Secondly, ask for professional advice from professional people.

Third, create a vision board to help you stay focused and excited.

Fourth, continually create a list of SMART goals as it is a proven way to keep you on track and not spend energy where it isn’t useful to your overall dream.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would rebuild city schools, create job programs, and build safe housing for the most vulnerable. My childhood church is located in an extremely poor neighborhood of North St. Louis. Growing up, I witnessed the positive effects our church programs had on the community. Celestial Temple of Peace created safe summer programs for kids, bought and fixed up run down houses, and helped people get back on their feet. I can only imagine what that would do on a large scale and I would love to do the same.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

It’s really hard to pinpoint just one person. There have been so many people who have helped me get where I am. As the saying goes, “it takes a village to raise a child.” However, I can say that most recently Renita Turner comes to mind. She is a family friend who happens to be Kim Burse’s assistant. Renita introduced me to Kim, who is the Creative Music Director for Jennifer Lopez, and told Kim about my background. Over the years Kim and I have developed a great working relationship. This connection has taken my career to new heights. I will never forget when Kim said, “Welcome to the music business!” after my first gig with her. I am so grateful for the connection Renita made and my relationship with Kim that resulted from it.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Don’t be surrounded by fools full of words. The lips of a fool will swallow up your soul vex your spirit and leave your body cold all because of greed and lust, pride, and gold.” This is relevant to me because I wrote these lyrics during a time in my life when I was dealing with these types of experiences. People were making big promises but also became very greedy and prideful. It did not end well and I was very hurt — but, I continued to press forward because my vision was always greater than the circumstance.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

L.A Reid because any knowledgeable word or advice from him as a musician would enlighten me about the music industry. I have always deeply admired him for his business in the industry. I would love the chance to meet him!

How can our readers follow you online?

You can learn more about me at https://www.jasondharris.com/ or on Instagram at @jasond_harris

This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

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