Dutch musician, multi-instrumentalist and music therapist Harry Kappen is known for making bold political statements and raising awareness on global issues through his music. While his previous music often calls for large-scale global change, his latest single “The Freedom Inside” is a gentle reminder for people to start a positive change from within themselves, which will ultimately impact the world. Released on March 1st, 2023, the new single reached the UK iTunes Pop Songs chart at #52. The single teases the full-length album that fans have been waiting for since Harry’s 2022 album release, “Escape.”  That album produced the 50K+ -streaming Spotify hit, “WarGames.”

In addition to being a notable musician, Harry Kappen is also a music therapist. He offers his services at a youth care center where music therapy is used to help young children cope with various problems and disorders. Harry also offers his expertise as a lecturer for an international master’s degree program in music therapy. Always playing with the magical power of music, Harry Kappen is a standout artist and musician who creates music from the soul, and for the soul.  http://www.harrykappen.com/

Harry answered some questions for us in this exlusive one-on-one…

1) What inspired you to become a musician, and how did you start your career in this field?

I have played guitar since I was 8 years old. That started with borrowing my sister’s guitar and culminated in forming many bands in high school and beyond. I’ve always been into music; playing in a rock- or bluesband, rehearsing with friends, performing at school parties, writing my own songs, recording in studios.
It was all part of my life.. Others were on scouting or a chess club, we played music. I’m just saying it was pretty organic and gradual and not very planned; it went the way it did and one day people called me a ‘musician’.

2) How do you stay motivated and creative when writing new songs or performing on stage?

Because it was a way of life I didn’t need extra motivation to develop myself further; that was just natural. Besides being a musician, I also studied music therapy and became a therapist where I use the power of music to help clients further in their process of change. Because of this I also played other instruments such as drums, bass, piano in addition to guitar. Playing in a band is a good learning experience to understand the power of music in a social context. Seeking harmony, tuning in to your fellow players, learning to take the lead or just follow… are dynamics that are very helpfull and useful in, for example, the treatment of dysfunctional families.

3) Can you tell us about a particularly challenging or rewarding project you’ve worked on as a musician?

I ran a studio myself for a while and was allowed to do many projects. I can’t name 1 special project, there are so many. I love guiding people in their process, whether they are musicians or clients from psychiatric youth care. Starting a band, preparing an album, practicing, practicing and practicing with your fellow players. Performing together, going out together.. I love it. From arranging the music of a Greek traditional acoustic ensemble to creating a score for an animated film, from playing in a hard rock band to improvising in a jazz combo.
But also experience the personal process from getting an idea to a fully self-recorded album. Starting something without knowing exactly where you will end up.

4) How do you collaborate with other musicians, and what do you think makes for a successful musical partnership?

Putting each other’s strength together, sometimes taking the lead, but also sometimes having to give up some of your own ideas and granting each other things is, in my opinion, the best guarantee for good cooperation. And if that doesn’t work out, it’s a pity, but it will never stop me from continuing as a musician. I see people stop making music because of lack of success. I will never be able to do that. Making music is not a choice, but part of me, of who I am.
I’m not a smooth talker myself and maybe that’s why I’ll never want to give up music. I think I can say more with a song in 4 minutes than in a discussion of an hour.

5) Have you had experience working with producers or engineers in the recording studio? What’s your approach to recording sessions?

Yes, I have been recording in many studios, especially in the Netherlands. And I learned a lot from that to become a better producer myself and to make the recording process as pleasant as possible for the artist. Certainly in the past, time was money. It was therefore important to find the right balance between quality, speed, creativity, all in a constructive, motivating atmosphere.
Nowadays everyone has a home studio and it has become much more relaxed. For example, for the last 10 years I have only released music that I recorded myself at home; Kapsonic is an example of this, but also last year’s album: Escape. And of course the two singles that followed. I am currently finishing my new album. It will be released in the summer.

6) How do you handle criticism or negative feedback from fans or critics?

Anyone can criticize. After all, music is largely a subjective matter. I do my best to reproduce my music according to my idea, I determine the atmosphere, the lyrics, the sound, the way of playing, the coherence of an album, and everything that comes with it. It is a reflection of a time period in which I am at that moment. I think I am my own biggest critic. And when I think it’s completely finished I’ll let a few people hear it who are close to me and who I appreciate as a musician too. Sometimes I change something based on tips they give me (but usually not… :))

7) Can you walk us through your approach to preparing for a live performance or tour?

In the past, a live performance originated from the practice situation in the rehearsal room, as a joint effort with my fellow players. Nowadays I usually plan it myself in advance, but I choose my musicians who can also bring something extra. And those extras should be heard extensively. I like to improvise and also like unexpected twists. In my work as a therapist, I do nothing but that. Having fun with each other and supporting each other and, if necessary, finding solutions on the spot, that’s what I like. But within the limits of the set list and the agreements that have been made in advance. Eye contact, supporting each other, sometimes taking the lead, being surprised. And not nailing everything shut ensures that no performance is the same and remains exciting. That is only possible if you can trust each other and are open to each other; personal and musical.

8) Tell us about your experience with songwriting. How do you begin the process, and what’s your favorite part of writing a new song?

I love the process of writing, so much so that I often regret when a song is done. It often starts with some tinkering on my guitar, figuring out a bass line and vocal line. So instrumental. Then record it and listen to it as an mp3 in my car. Sing along phonetically and often an idea, or fragments of a text, arise spontaneously. Then I sit down and write the text seriously and then record it again.

Then mix down. Sometimes it’s a matter of a day, sometimes a few months. It comes as it comes. And there always comes a point where everything comes together. I think that’s a magical moment. Then I just know that everything is right and that I don’t have to do anything about it anymore.

Over the years I have learned to distance myself from it. If I’m still so convinced after a week or two, it’s done.

9) How do you stay up-to-date with new trends or developments in the music industry, and how do you incorporate these into your work?

I don’t pretend to be aware of all developments, but I am kept reasonably informed by my youthful clients who follow music therapy with me. Sometimes I get tips from my son or sister. Sometimes I am captivated by the atmosphere during a festival or concert and I do something with it. Furthermore, I’m not really someone who listens to the radio a lot, in that respect I’m pretty much on my own. I am undoubtedly influenced by all the music I have heard in my life; be it Prince, or Paul McCartney, the Foofighters, Jeff Beck, Radiohead, Bjork or Bach or whatever or whoever. But it remains my way of composing.

10) What’s your long-term vision or goal as a musician, and how do you plan on achieving it?

I don’t have a long-term vision cast in a time frame, but as long as I live I make music, so I try to stay as healthy as possible. The latest project; the singles ‘Wargames’ and ‘The Freedom Inside’ have done very well on the many platforms, partly due to the support of my American management (MTS management group). I hope to be able to continue that. There are still a lot of songs on the shelf that want to see the light of day.

I also hope to be able to use my qualities as a songwriter and producer for others.
So anyone who wants to can approach me for that!

Thanks, https://redxmagazine.com