Harrison Kennedy was born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. His family had roots in New Orleans and Tennessee. Kennedy sang in the Stewart Memorial Church Choir as a boy, when childhood trips took him over the border to visit relations in Arkansas, Rogersville, Tennessee, and Detroit, Illinois, United States, the experiences expanded his love of music.
In 1970 Kennedy relocated to Detroit and joined the Chairmen of the Board, a group started as part of the then newly created Holland–Dozier–Holland record labels, Invictus Records and Hot Wax Records. Kennedy played on the recording of Marvin Gaye's 1971 song, "What's Going On". Following a string of hit records with Chairmen of the Board, which included "Give Me Just a Little More Time", "(You've Got Me) Dangling on a String", and "Everything's Tuesday", Kennedy left in 1974 and set out on a solo career.
Harrison served as a corporal with the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry (Wentworth Regiment) which is a Primary Reserve infantry regiment of the Canadian Army, based at John Weir Foote VC Armoury in Hamilton, Ontario. The RHLI is part of 31 Canadian Brigade Group, which is part of 4th Canadian Division. Kennedy later worked for Allied Chemical Corporation which was a company that had operations in the chemical, aerospace, automotive, oil and gas industries.
Over the years on a part-time basis he played a variety of musical genres including funk, soul, R&B, folk, rock, and gospel. Kennedy spent almost 30 years outside of the music industry, before returning as a blues singer and guitarist with 2003's Sweet Taste. In 2007, Kennedy signed a new recording contract with Electro-Fi Records and has since released a number of internationally acclaimed albums. In 2008, Kennedy was nominated for Best Blues Recording in Canada's Juno Awards. He separately achieved second place against 83 others in the solo/duo category at the 2011 International Blues Challenge. In 2013 he also overcame a spell of prostate cancer.
In 2013 he released Soulscape, on which he played a variety of instruments, which was followed by the Juno winning album, This Is From Here. The album has also won the Grand Prix du Disque for Blues award from the Académie Charles Cros in France, as the 2015 Blues Album of the Year. Harrison toured in late 2014 with Ruthie Foster, Eric Bibb and Jerome Michael Brown. He also appeared as a guest performer on Bibb's 2014 album, Blues People. He participated in 2018 with Jean-Jacques Milteau and Vincent Segal on the recording of Crossborder Blues, published by Naïve.
Harrison Kennedy has been nominated for multiple Canadian Maple Blues Awards (approximately 30), he won the award for Socan's Song Writer of the Year in 2018 - which was not a public vote.
Since signing with Electro-Fi Records in 2007, Harrison Kennedy has released 5 internationally acclaimed albums and developed into one of the 21st century’s most insightful and original Blues singer/songwriters.
The JUNO winning album This Is From Here was co-produced by keyboard ace Jesse O'Brien, with Roots Guitar Master Colin Linden guesting on several tracks.
Ani Di Franco