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an article by Paul Barrow

The first things you notice about Harriet Schock are her eyes.  When she looks at you, its almost like it's the last -- as though by then she's already seen everything she needs to know about you.  They are so brilliant, penetrating, and intelligent that it's almost scary. 

But Harriet is by no means a scary person.  On stage at the Delaware Playhouse in Tulsa September 18, what I noticed most about her was vulnerability. It's her sensitivity to the slightest shift in atmosphere, the slightest change in the mood of the song she is living on stage. As she tells a story that has come from deep within her own heart, her face lights as she feels the agony of a painful loss or cherishes a certain moment. 

Harriet is a gold and platinum songwriter and a recording artist.  She was voted best new female artist by Cashbox magazine, received a Dramalog Award for her live show. She has garnered extremely favorable press for each album she has released and this past April, her fifth album, ROSEBUD was released and her performance at the Delaware Playhouse included many of the tracks from it. 

"I am always honored to be a small part of greatness," said Nik Venet, the famous producer credited with launching the careers of Linda Ronstadt, The Beach Boys, Bobby Darin, Jim Croce, John Stewart, and Lou Rawls among others. "Dreams are the mythology of the soul, and working with them, as an artist, makes life more artful. As a producer I prefer to work with Harriet Schock as a songwriter, writer and artist, because each of her songs tells the story of a soul rather than a life. I believe in her and I believe in her truth." 

The one artist perhaps most responsible for Harriet Schock's success as a songwriter was Helen Reddy who had a huge hit with "Aint No Way to Treat a Lady." Then came Lee Greenwood, Smokey Robinson, Roberta Flack, Johnny Mathis, Syreeta, Carl Anderson, Gloria Loring, Vikki Carr, Manfred Mann, Mireille Mathieu, Letta Mbulu, Nancy Wilson and the many others who have recorded her songs. Many of her songs have been featured in films and on TV. She wrote all of the songs for The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking and co-wrote "First Time on a Ferris Wheel" for the Motown film, Berry Gordy's The Last Dragon. 

Also noteworthy about Harriet Schock is that she is not herself a star -- at least in the sense that she doesn't have the press crawling all over the place to get a snapshot of her or hundreds lining up for her autograph. Harriet Schock's presence is like a sound that you hear in the distance, faint at first, that grows louder with each song that she sings until you become so conscious of it that you wonder what kind of crazy world would not idolize her. 

Why is this woman not up there with the Mariah Careys and the Celine Dions? What is it about youth that is so much more appealing than the depth and heart and experience and conviction that this mature woman brings to the stage? What is it about the music industry that is so taken with so many other things besides the craft and art of music? What is it about Harriet Schock's music that makes a sinner like me want to go to church and get down on my hands and knees and thank God for people like her? What is it about Harriet Schock makes you want to walk up to her to say, "Harriet, thanks for being you. Thanks for giving me something real." 

But Harriet is, indeed, a star to those who know her, those who have been blessed with the opportunity to hear her and see her. Among the Oklahoma audience of which I was fortunate to be a part, I learned that one had driven all the way from California, another several hundred miles from Nashville.  She is a kind of guru to those in the industry who strive to improve their craft. She lectures all over the United States to songwriters organizations who put her up in luxurious hotel accommodations and pay all her expenses to come and talk about songwriting. This same weekend, she was up early Saturday morning after a late night show at the Delaware, heading for an all-day seminar in Oklahoma City, then back to Tulsa again that same evening for another show. She offers her own course on the subject and is generous with her expertise in lending a hand to any who face the difficulties of trying to write a good song. Her recently published book on songwriters, "Becoming Remarkable," is available through her web site http://www.harrietschock.com. I highly recommend it. 

                                                             Paul Barrow

Heartland Review -- 9/26/99