Meet Michaela Harrison

Siren. Healer. Composer | Writer.


Michaela A. Harrison is a recently-returned Washington, D.C. native whose career is rooted in relaying the healing, transformational power of music through song. She has performed nationally and internationally as a soloist and with various bands and musical collectives. As a resident of New Orleans for over 17 years, Michaela established an enthusiastic following at local venues such as Café Istanbul, Second Vine Wine, Ashé Cultural Arts Center and Three Keys at the Ace Hotel. She is as comfortable with a full band, a choir or an orchestra as she is with in a duo, and works/has worked regularly with New Orleans favorites Joy Clark, Ian Villafana, and Alexey Marti, the late, great jazz guitarist Todd Duke, Dorise Blackmon and Tanya Huang (as Mother Tingue), and, when in Brazil, with guitar virtuoso Márcio Pereira, bassist Alexandre Vieira and drummer Ivan Torres (Os Brothers).

Michaela began singing in the Baptist church at age five. Her musical style incorporates her gospel roots as well as a diverse range of genres including jazz, blues, R & B, soul, samba, MPB and African traditional music. As a protégé of Bernice Johnson Reagon, founder of Sweet Honey In The Rock, Michaela is well-versed in spirituals, work songs, and African American protest music from the Civil Rights era. With a four-octave range and a vocal quality that runs the gamut from pristine sweetness to fiercely powerful belting, Michaela has often been compared to such greats as Minnie Riperton and Mahalia Jackson, though she maintains a signature style that distinguishes her voice as easily recognizable no matter what she is singing. Her soulful, heartfelt delivery of both covers and original music has often moved audiences to tears. She infuses her performances with insightful commentary based on her multi-cultural perspective, simultaneously uplifting and educating audiences.

Holding a Bachelor's Degree in Foreign Service and a Master's in Africana Studies, Michaela has also studied and lived in East Africa and Brazil. Fluent in French and Portuguese, and familiar with Spanish and Swahili, Michaela has an expanded repertoire of world music and renders songs in their original languages. She infuses her performances with insightful commentary based on her multi-cultural perspective, simultaneously uplifting and educating audiences. Her work as a Teaching Artist/Performer with organizations such as Young Audiences, KidsmArt, and Rethink allowed her to share her knowledge of African diaspora history and culture with thousands of children in New Orleans through song workshops and classes. Michaela is honored to have created what has become a lasting and central contribution to the celebration of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday in New Orleans, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” a community sing held annually to commemorate the music of liberation born from movements for social change. Compelled to share this music with younger generations and contribute to keeping it alive, she continues to do so through the offering of workshops and performances at gatherings locally and nationally.

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Whether she’s singing at an intimate gathering or on a festival stage before thousands, Michaela brings the same passion, intensity and sincerity to every setting, offering her music as Love Medicine for the body, heart and mind.




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