BYU student songwriter helps listeners connect

BYU student Mak Harris prepares to appear on stage at The Boardwalk Concert Hall in Orem, Utah. Harris is a Provo-based singer, songwriter, and producer. (Derek Joseph)

BYU student Mak Harris enjoys embodying connection and relativity through songwriting, her favorite artistic medium.

“I don’t know how to respond to people when they ask ‘How did you get into music?’ Because it’s like, well, when did I learn to walk? I just did it, ”Harris said.

Harris is originally from Bear Lake, Idaho, where she grew up in a musical family that gave her the ability to create innately. While music has always been a part of her life, Harris said the desire to make songwriting a part of her life came at the age of 12, when she wrote her first full song. and performed it at her college talent show.

“It made people cry,” she said. “After I stepped off the stage, my eighth grade teacher asked me if I was planning on doing this for my life, and I was like, ‘This is a cool concept! “”

Harris originally aspired to play the French horn in professional orchestras, but decided if she could write music, which she could, she might as well embrace the art of songwriting fully.

Since then, Harris has used his gift to create music that provides an emotional experience for all who listen to him. Harris takes every opportunity she can to perform and connect with people through her music.

BYU student Mak Harris performs at the Boardwalk in Orem, Utah. (Derek Joseph)

“I want (my music) to be accessible, I want it to strike a chord,” she said.

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Harris said much of his work is inspired by the raw and emotional lyrical style of artists like Taylor Swift, Sara Bareillis and Billie Eilish.

Particularly when it comes to Eilish’s repertoire, Harris said she was heavily inspired by the way Eilish wrote not just about love, but about life in her 2019 album When We All Fall Asleep. , Where are we going ? ”

“A lot of the music is now just about love, so hearing something (that is) life was a little overwhelming for me,” she said.

Harris said she uses this style of writing to discuss a myriad of different topics and experiences through her music, such as mental health issues, falling in love, falling in love, and social issues such as the objectification of women.

“One of my favorite songs I wrote recently is called ‘Mr. Nice guy. ‘ It’s about being able to distance yourself from people who are really toxic, and the song’s message doesn’t allow people to step on you, ”she said.

Harris said she also enjoys producing her own songs.

“One of the main motivations for me to learn how to produce my own music was that I don’t want to depend on other people, I want to be able to have full control over the creative process,” she said.

Harris was able to bring her productive talents to Nashville in the summer of 2021, where she interned at revered Blackbird Studios: a studio that produced albums for a wide range of artists, including Taylor Swift and Dolly Parton.

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Through this internship, Harris gained hands-on production experience, including helping to produce country singer Thomas Rhett’s upcoming album.

“It was one of the most ‘wow I got it’ experiences,” said Harris. “Everyone in the room thought I couldn’t do it, and I proved them wrong. “

According to Harris, interns typically set up and take down equipment before and after studio sessions. However, in this session she was assigned to assist as a sound engineer. She was the only woman in the room and said she was greeted with laughter and skepticism.

“The reason they thought I couldn’t do it was because I was a woman. But, we just jumped on the session and nailed it, ”she said.

The sad truth is that the music industry, apart from being extremely difficult to break into, is also very misogynistic, Harris said.

“It’s much better than before, but composers and producers are still suffering a lot in the industry. They don’t get a lot of credit. I know a lot of women producers who have been in the industry for years, and people will find excuses as to why they got involved in a project. No, they took part in the project because they are good, ”she said.

Despite the struggling music industry, Harris still has high hopes for his career as a songwriter. She has set up a studio in her house and is constantly writing songs to be broadcast around the world.

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“I write pretty much everywhere I go,” Harris said. “It’s a pretty continuous process. It always happens and my brain doesn’t really turn off.

Ultimately, Harris wants others to know that her music isn’t for herself, it’s for others.

“That’s the whole point,” she said. “The purpose of my entry into this field is for other people to be able to have a connection and to feel something.”

Harris plans to move to Los Angeles, Nashville or New York – all cities known to play important roles in the music industry – once she graduates from BYU’s commercial music program in April. She is even planning a mini tour on the west coast for the summer of 2022.

“Stay tuned,” she said. “I have a lot to come! It’s gonna be a ride.

More information on Harris can be found on Instagram and TikTok @makharrismusic. His music can be found on Spotify and Apple Music.

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