With his own music making tracks on the big screen, Kane Harrison tells JODIE O’SULLIVAN how he found a place for his sound in Nashville.
Kane Harrison with Daniel Baldwin at the San Antonio film festival.
KANE Harrison found himself sleeping on a couch in Dolly Parton’s old studio when he first landed in Nashville.
The born-and-bred Wodonga lad says it wasn’t nearly as glamorous as it might sound.
“Mum and Dad were like, ‘Whoa, we can’t believe it’, and I was, like, eating tins of tuna and sleeping on an old couch,” he says.
But that’s Nashville for you, he says.
A place where you can be anybody and, indeed, meet anybody if you want success badly enough.
Harrison, 36, now well and truly calls Nashville home, with a soundtrack to an acclaimed US film under his belt and a wedding to his Jackson, Mississippi fiancee later this year.
In fact, it would be fair to say Harrison has already left his “imprint” (more on that later) on the place they call Music City.
The country lad from the ‘Dong recently wrote the original score and soundtrack for the Daniel Baldwin film The Wisdom To Know the Difference, which has premiered to critical acclaim at several film festivals across the US in recent months.
The Wisdom To Know The Difference, starring Daniel and William Baldwin and Lou Diamond Phillips, first won best feature film and best original song at the Manhattan Film Festival in June.
It’s also just taken out the top honours at the San Antonio and Long Beach film festivals and has been accepted to premiere at the prestigious Burbank Film Festival in Los Angeles in September.
It’s a massive coup for the lad who went to school at Wodonga High and sang country music at the local pubs.
KANE HARRISON The Moments, which made it into the top 10 country charts in Australia.
“It was incredibly mentally and financially draining — I reckon I went back and forth about 16 times,” he admits.
“I wasn’t allowed to work in America at the time because of the visa situation so I’d go home and do gigs to get enough cash to come back over here.”
During that period Harrison recorded a full-length album and had three singles in the Aussie country charts. But he also saw the country music landscape in the US begin to shift — “everything is almost a rap song these days” — and realised he would not fit the mould.
“I was looking for ways to get my music placed,” he says.
“I’d had songs played for commercials in Australia so I knew it could be a good income earner and I wouldn’t have to be out on the road for 300 dates a year.”
Once he delved around, Harrison realised there was a gap in the market for the particular sound that is Nashville.
“I thought if I could brand myself Nashville and bring that sound to the big screen I could have success,” he says.
KANE HARRISONThe Nashville Imprint was born.
“Then I just really beat down every single door to try and make some contacts,” Harrison says.
As fate would have it, Daniel Baldwin was behind one of those doors and liked what he heard.
Harrison read the script for Wisdom and began writing the songs for the soundtrack, collaborating closely with Baldwin.
“It’s surreal to think I was sitting at home on the couch with the script thinking how on earth was I going to accomplish this,” he says.
“For that to evolve to seeing our name on the big screen and winning film festival awards is just unbelievable.”
That project has helped catapult The Nashville Imprint into the spotlight and Harrison is currently in negotiations for another film project in Music City. For now, though, he’s still reeling from a whirlwind period of film festivals and working with such an influential movie business family as the Baldwins.
At the same time he insists he’s not one to be star-struck, saying celebrity is nonsense — “it’s all smoke and mirrors”.
And while he’s run into Keith (Urban) at the local Starbucks, Harrison says big-noting and name-dropping is not what Nashville is about.
“Nashville itself is home to a lot of great people and yes they may be celebrities but the culture is not like LA,” he says. “It’s an environment people have nurtured for artists.”
That being said, Harrison admits his parents are counting down the days to their first trip to the US for his wedding to architectural interior designer Adair Cannada in October.
Kane Harrison with fiancee Adair Cannada. The pair will be married in Nashville in October.
Cynthia and Robert will get the opportunity to visit the haunts of some of the music greats they have listened to on the record player for so many years.
These days Harrison describes himself less as a country music singer and more as an entrepreneur.
It’s why he says he is so drawn to the American culture.
“Americans just blindly embrace success and will give anyone a shot … it’s incredibly encouraging,” he says.
“I love that I’m not pigeon-holed. When I was in Australia I was Kane Harrison the country artist and if I strayed too far from that line then it was questioned.”
At the same time Harrison says there are many similarities between Nashville and Albury-Wodonga.
“The Southern hospitality is definitely something that rings true with me,” Harrison says.
There are still things from home Harrison misses keenly and which cannot be replaced like his large close-knit family and best mates — oh, and good Aussie tucker.
When he brought Adair home last year Harrison says he was reminded of the incredible beauty of his country.
“We have a fantastic culture and as for our beaches, well, there is nothing like that in the world,” Harrison says.
“But for now Nashville is my home.”
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