Tevis Harris on his full circle experience, his ‘sound,’ and the courage to ‘begin again’

By Libra Boyd
Gospel Music Fever

Gospel artist Tevis Harris could be called a hope dealer. Just take a look at his song and album titles. In 2019, he released his first single, “Fight,” which features a group of friends and family that go by the name faVor. The independent release was followed in 2021 by his album Keep Winning, a compilation of praise and worship, contemporary, and urban gospel music for multiple generations of listeners. Then, in late 2021, the Rocky Mount, NC-based singer-songwriter released the Christmas single, “Hope is Alive.” 

Singer-Songwriter Tevis Harris

But Harris is not only a singer-songwriter and conveyor of messages of hope. He’s also a worship leader, director, and producer whose musical giftedness became apparent as a young boy in the church choir. Through the years, Harris has provided backing vocals in musical productions and for other artists; even so, you can still find him in his hometown, singing and serving in ministry. You can also find him collaborating with hometown friends Luther Barnes (“Victory”) and Wanda Barnes (“Begin Again”) of gospel’s legendary Barnes family. 

In our GMF Q&A, Harris talks about his experiences working alongside the Barnes family, the crafting of his signature sound, and, of course, he gives us a dose of hope from his songwriting catalog.

You are from Rocky Mount, NC, which is also the home of gospel’s renowned Barnes Family. How has your music ministry intertwined with theirs?

I was 13 years old when I first began singing with the Barnes Family. I was 18 when I started singing with F.C. Barnes & Company. For years I developed my gift through the mentorship of both Bishop F.C. Barnes and Pastor Luther Barnes. I also sang background for Deborah Barnes. I currently still sing background for Pastor Luther Barnes and the Restoration Gospel Choir. My sound, style, and musicianship have a foundation that was built from my time singing and being with the Barnes Family. And now, they sing with me. Wanda Barnes is featured on a song, Pastor Luther is featured on a song, and Pastor Luther’s daughter, Bonita, is also featured on a song on my album. Everything has come full circle.

You started singing in the choir as a young boy and realized you were musically gifted. What was the moment that affirmed this for you?

Yes, I started singing at a very early age and it was affirmed at a very early age that I was musically gifted at Mount Olive Baptist Church. I started directing the choir and leading songs. I learned to play the piano and when the church pianist was absent, I was called upon to play. I was just a young boy when my musical giftedness was affirmed.

Tell GMF about your latest music.

My single “Hope Is Alive” recently debuted in November 2021. It is an amazing song that opens with Handel’s “For unto us a child is born.” It ends with an intense musical proclamation for a life full of hope, joy, peace, and bliss because of Jesus. In the spring of 2022, I will release my newest single, “It Will Work Out.”

You write, produce, direct, and sing. How would you describe the Tevis Harris sound?

The Tevis Harris sound is inspired by Luther Barnes, Anthony Brown, Kirk Franklin, and James Fortune. I absolutely love and appreciate their giftedness and approach to music. Anthony Brown is definitely my favorite. The classical touch that he adds to his music production is incredible.

Take a title or lyric from your catalog and share a word of inspiration with the GMF audience.

I want to remind each of us that no matter where you find yourself in life, no matter the past mistakes or failures or poor choices, with God, you can begin again. Life is going to throw us curve balls and we will find ourselves in some of the most difficult and dark places and spaces; some from no fault of our own. Yet most will be because we’ve messed up and have fallen short. BUT we can begin again. This song (“Begin Again” from the album Keep Winning) was birthed out of the experience of having to begin again. 

Since I’ve written “Begin Again,” I’ve realized that the Bible is simply a compilation of stories that share begin again moments and experiences. These moments are filled with people living in their humanism, just like you and me, receiving opportunity after opportunity to begin again. God gives grace and pushes hope on us through His son Jesus Christ and in the word of God that encourages us to live in the freedom of new beginnings. He’s not expecting us to be perfect; yet when we fall, get up, dust yourself off, get better, begin again, and do better. New beginnings are just a part of life and a part of how God has instructed and constructed us to live.

Lamentations 3:22-23 says, “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is thy faithfulness.” We are going to fall and make mistakes, sin, mess up, fall short of the glory, and make poor choices; but God doesn’t want us to stay there in the mess. He gives us the opportunity and wants us to begin again. He wants us to repent for Him to only pour his forgiveness and love all over us. You can begin again!

2 Replies to “Tevis Harris on his full circle experience, his ‘sound,’ and the courage to ‘begin again’”

  1. Tevis Harris is an inspiration. His music and the impact he has had on our community and in our schools are to be commended. He is paving the way for other musicians to follow. What a great tribute to his success and to those who have inspired him. I know there are greater things in store for him.

  2. Great article, well written and spot-on with respect to the message of hope my friend and Brother in Christ, Tevis Harris, has always shared with those whom he comes into contact with. Walk in your anointing sir, and continue to embrace your gift-of-hope ministry through songs of Good News for the people of God.

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