News & Stories
January 25, 2022

Happiness is a state of mind

By Karilon L. Rogers 


Singer/songwriter Campbell Harrison (17C) is making his way in Nashville with a style all his own. He plays Americana, a blend of folk, singer/songwriter, blues, swampy rock and classic country – an amalgam of Southern music influences. Yet, it’s more.


“I call what I do ‘neo Americana’ because it is Americana but also uniquely me,” Harrison explained. “Sort of this, but also that – genre-bending.”

You might find him on any number of stages in the hottest music town in the country, though at heart he considers himself more songwriter than performer.

“Think more Bob Dylan,” he smiled, “and less Prince.”

Harrison’s artistry has been described in one review as “panoramic” and his guitar work as “dynamic.” This is one man who is following his dream.


Harrison is self-taught on the guitar and has been writing music since high school when he first integrated a knack for both melody and poetry into the songwriting craft. Also performing since high school, he only picked up the pace while majoring in geosciences at Berry. Still, he didn’t actually mean to become a singer/songwriter. He was just meant to.

“Before I came to Berry I had decided not to pursue music as a career,” he said. “Like many others, I had been told it was ‘not a job’ and to get ‘a practical degree.’ And I believed that for a long time. However, when I graduated, I realized that it was now or never if I wanted to give it a shot. I spoke with a lot of people and discovered that most don’t love what they do. They’re just going through the motions. No one knows how much time we have, and you can’t take anything with you. I didn’t want to look back over a 40-year career and have regrets.”

The road less traveled

Harrison graduated summa cum laude from Morgan County (Ga.) High School where he excelled as a kicker in football, setting a total of three school records for field goals and extra points. He also spent his first two years at Berry on the inaugural football team and all four as a Leadership Fellow.

As a teenager, Harrison wrote song after song and was nurtured by exceptional local music legends in Atlanta who recognized his potential. He recorded an EP (multiple songs, but shorter than an LP) as a Berry junior, laying down his tracks at two Atlanta-area studios. He was honored to have the help of multi-instrumentalist Kofi Burbridge of the Grammy-winning Tedeschi-Trucks Band.

“I was very green,” he remembered about the experience. “The music business is more business than music, and I knew little about it.”

After graduating from Berry in 2017, Harrison worked part-time as an environmental mitigation specialist with Georgia Civil Inc. and waited tables in his hometown of Covington while performing in person as much as he could, “often for free and anywhere they’d let me.” During this time, he also recorded his first LP, Dreamer in a Bottle, at Dragonsong Productions in Tucker.

“Even on this second recording I was still very inexperienced,” he said. “You need hours of studio experience to get comfortable, and I was just barely out of the gate. I was happy to be recorded at all. The songs were written during high school and college. I was on a writing tear for a few years, sometimes writing two songs in a day. I still love those songs. I didn’t have a teacher so I had to figure out everything on my own. It was liberating in a way. When you don’t know much, you’re free to take chances and make mistakes.
I was free to pursue anything and everything.”

nashville_1.jpg“One day you’re gonna find,

Happiness is a state of mind,

and All the things you reach for

turn to ash and fall away

Then in the darkest night

You hold yourself

the guiding light, so

Rest now my weary child,

be gentle when you wake” –

verse from “One” © by Campbell Harrison

Next stop: Nashville

In 2018, Harrison made the move to Nashville, and life got really rough for the middle-class country boy from rural Georgia.

“I had no friends, no family, no money, and I was in the most competitive market in the world,” he recalled with a grimace. “I lived in a tiny apartment in South Nashville that was infested with roaches and mice. The A/C was out half the summer so sometimes I slept in the car just to cool off. There were stolen cars parked around the apartment all the time, and my downstairs neighbor got shot in the leg.

“It was a tough year, but I wrote some really good songs. Sometimes good art comes from struggles and hardship.”

Then COVID-19 hit, and things got more interesting, although he did find work in a restaurant and was able to start recording a new EP, Lyin, Cheatin, Getting By, at Welcome to 1979 Studio.

And now?

His new EP was released in February 2021 to strong positive feedback, particularly for “The River,” described by Music Mecca’s Rachel Kolibas as “a foot-stomping jam of country-rock zeal that opens with a one-minute long intricately crafted guitar highlight.” She went on to rave, “Inspired by the classic hymn ‘I’ll Fly Away,’ the track uses the river as a symbol of rebirth as it washes away the grime of yesterday and cleanses us of life’s ever-present obstacles and afflictions.”

Billed as being “born from the ashes of 2020 and its relentless negativity,” the EP is somewhat satirical, but not pessimistic, according to Harrison.

“There’s a lot of hope throughout,” he explained.

Harrison continues to push his music career and intends to keep doing so for a long time. He is playing the game on his own terms, performing at a wide variety of Nashville clubs, such as Big Machine Distillery, George Jones and Alley Taps, in addition to booking music for a downtown club. He’s living in a house “in a cool area of East Nashville” with his best friend, who’s a chef. Things are definitely looking up.

“From 2018 to 2021, taking out 2020, I’ve had about three years of actual playing in Nashville,” Harrison concluded. “I’m doing more than I could have imagined. I’m building brick by brick. Success to me is bringing light and love through my music.”


Campbell on Berry




“Berry was what I needed, and I’m really grateful for my time there. I love the outdoors and have a lot of family in Rome, so when I was recruited to play football, it was a natural choice. The size and intimacy helped me find myself and my identity. The ‘Berry Bubble’ really is very nurturing.”


“Dr. Tamie Jovanelly was one of the biggest influences on me. It is incredible how invested she is in the well-being of her students.” [The associate professor of geology and her husband are big fans, having seen Harrison on stage several times. “I hope to inspire my students to set big goals and dreams,” she said. “I hope I helped Campbell chase his.”] “And Cecily Crow (94C) [director of student activities] is great. I got so much out of the Leadership Fellows Program and learned a lot about my own brand of leadership. I’m always extremely grateful when people invest in me, and they did.”


“I was the first Berry player to touch a football in our inaugural game because I kicked off. Being on the team that first year was really, really special. There was so much excited energy on the team and on campus.”

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