Harrison Steele hails from the heartland of America. Raised in Wichita, Kansas, Harrison took a liking to the arts at a young age. His mother, Peggy, owned a daycare and was an artist, herself. She helped foster that creativity in Harrison and the other children through hands-on activities like finger-painting, drawing, paper mache, and more. Harrison’s father, Eric, an entrepreneur and avid music fan, helped cultivate Harrison’s love of music; playing classics on the stereo at home, air-drumming to songs in the car, and taking him to concerts in later years.
Harrison spent much of his time as an adolescent doodling on his notebooks in the classroom and drawing and painting at home. As he got older and technology became more accessible, Harrison enjoyed many other forms of art as well, including film-making, photography, and graphic design. Eventually he found his main passion; his love of playing guitar and singing to write his on songs.
During his sophomore year of high school Harrison heard Jack Johnson’s second album, “In Between Dreams” during an art class and it inspired him to buy a guitar, and learn how to play and sing. “The way Jack Johnson fit words together, with rhythm and rhyme into the melody of a song fascinated me… his wordplay resonated with me, and his mellow vibe… oh and that chukka sound, haha… I definitely tried to imitate that.”
Harrison spent years writing songs in his room with no formal training, drawing inspiration from Youtube videos and learning tabs of his favorite songs, but never really performing for anyone. Then, in 2012, Harrison went to his first open mic. Despite a failed first attempt, he continued going back every week. “I quit halfway through the first song I ever played at an open mic because I was so nervous. It was embarrassing but I made it my mission to go back every week until I got comfortable singing in front of people.” This lead to Harrison playing his first solo gig at The Kiln Coffeeshop.
After graduating from WSU and playing a handful of gigs at coffeeshops and bars around Wichita, Harrison decided to move to Denver in August of 2013. Leaving somewhat on a whim, with all he could fit in his car, Harrison headed to Colorado to room with his childhood friend, Pat. Soon after, he began traveling as part of a promotional marketing job. Many of Harrison’s experiences on the road, outside of Kansas and Colorado, especially on the west coast, influenced his songwriting and style. Other than a couple open mics, Harrison didn’t perform while living in Colorado but always continued writing songs and singing at home and on the road.
Harrison’s voice and style of music are characterized by a mixture of folk, soul, pop, rock, and Americana; drawing influences from various artists such as Jack Johnson, The Lumineers, Ed Sheeran, Mumford & Sons, Damien Rice, Bob Dylan, Amos Lee, Ray Lamontagne, Jamestown Revival, Rush, NEEDTOBREATHE, ELO and more.
After battling various health conditions for months alone, Harrison moved back home to Wichita in late 2016 to be close to family and sort out the issues. He struggled for a while but found solace in music and eventually made his way back to performing again in April of 2017, now equipped with glasses, due to a sudden decline in vision from the health issues, and an aversion to wearing contacts. Oh, and the bandana thing:
“I was a big fan of Karate Kid growing up, and then was doing construction for years before I was performing. I had started wearing bandanas to keep sweat out of my eyes during the hot summer months working outside. When I play I usually sweat too, even when it’s not hot, so I started wearing bandanas while gigging too and it became my look.”
After a little busking downtown, things really took off and Harrison started gigging weekly around his hometown at bars, restaurants and backyard parties, finding a strong community of friends and supportive fans, as well as many opportunities for growth.
One of those opportunities being auditioning for a TV show. Harrison briefly appeared on the 2018 comeback of American Idol, making it through a series of rounds and auditioning on national TV in front of judges Lionel Ritchie, Katie Perry and Luke Bryan.
“Harrison, you have a smoky-soulful kind of voice that I love… and a great energy about you. I can tell you do this for a living.” – Lionel Richie – American Idol – Season 1 on ABC
Another one of those opportunities being, forming a band. Harrison co-created The Plains and was the lead singer and rhythm guitarist for a year. Harrison continued to play solo gigs along with the band gigs for the year, then decided to part ways due to creative differences and a desire to make a full-time living as a musician.
Following his appearance on American Idol, Harrison was asked to open up for Train to a crowd of 3,000 people at Hartman Arena on May 11th, 2018. Then on May 1st of 2019 he released his self-titled debut album on his 30th birthday.
Harrison works as a full-time musician playing private events and shows in Kansas and surrounding states, and recording songs independently. He has been writing music for over a decade and has played over 1200 gigs in the past six years. Harrison released his second album, “Love Over Fear“, on September 2, 2021, followed by an acoustic version of it on August 7, 2023.
In 2022, Harrison opened up for Gooding at WAVE in August, and Rome and Duddy at Temple Live Wichita in December. Harrison’s latest single ” Burning Desire” is featured on “The Dirty South” Motion Picture Soundtrack. It was released on November 10, 2023 and is available on all music steaming platforms.
For inquiries on hiring Harrison for an event or show, see Booking page.