New Video – Wake Up In New York

I recorded this cover of Craig Armstrong’s “Wake Up In New York” back in April of 2019 and somehow never managed to get it edited. It was a little bit of a challenge to myself to improvise on the piano and sing this simple, yet highly emotional song. It’s got some things I love and, honestly, some things I don’t. I’m really interested in working and learning as I do things, and this means letting them be imperfect and sharing them anyway. All in all, I’m really proud of this!

Continue reading →

New Life

New Life - Michael Harren

It turns out that releasing music as an independent artist is even more challenging during a global pandemic. Who knew?

The months of March and April were especially challenging here in New York City. March started out normally enough, mostly because none of us were paying close enough attention to the beginnings of this pandemic around the world. Suddenly, over the course of one weekend, I started getting notified that my freelance teaching gigs were shutting down one by one, and it no longer felt safe to teach, perform, or even go pick up almond milk at the corner bodega.

I spent those two months mostly stunned and paralyzed. Snacks and movies. . . and guilt.

Continue reading →

Community + Service + Art

Michael Harren, Kiirstin Marilyn, Jay Light, Lauren Maul, and aimee iris brown

Last night was the second in my new regular series of shows at Judson Memorial Church, The Benevolent People’s Hour of Story and Song. It was an absolute blast! I am doing these shows quarterly now, in the very spot where I did my first performance of my solo work. It’s an absolute gift to get to perform in that space regularly now.

Lauren Maul, Jay Light, aimee iris brown, and Kiirstin Marilyn were my guests who featured everything from hop-hop and house music to impressionistic ballads to minimalist film and just about every stop in between.

Continue reading →

Reflections on this big-ass lump I have in my throat after leaving Patrecon

When I was a kid I loved to make stuff. I made theater shows in my bedroom with my Smurf figurines, a clip-on desk lamp, and a scrim made from my polyester Dracula cape left over from Halloween. Even though I didn’t know how to play yet, I gave piano recitals for my family. The little songs were wheezed out on my 1970s era orange chord organ. I made stop motion films with the Super 8 camera I got for Christmas with my friend Andy, complete with title cards that listed us as cast and crew. When my sister and I played “house” on rainy days, I was always coming home late from my gig at the nightclub, just like Linda Lavin did on Alice. That’s just the beginning of the list, but suffice it to say I always found a way to create something to share with others and it always brought me joy. Continue reading →

Summer Playlist 2018

It’s no surprise that I am a huge music fan. In high school I used to sneak off campus to spend my lunch money on 7″ singles at the local record store, and my Sundays were kept absolutely sacred so that I could listen to all three hours of American Top 40 from beginning to end. I had a huge stack of notebooks in which I carefully kept track of each song in the top 40, its position in the previous week’s chart, and how far it had climbed or fallen that week. Continue reading →