an article by Dan Kimpel
It was virtually impossible to be a member of the songwriting community and not be aware of Harriet Schock as an educator, consultant as well as being a spokesperson for songwriters. But first and foremost Harriet is a Grammy-nominated songwriter with a career's worth of credits and a noted recording artist with four acclaimed albums. With Rosebud, her fifth release, she is showcasing the continuing evolution of the creative artistry that remains closest to her heart.
Schock's early Seventies debut, Hollywood Town, included "That Ain't No Way To Treat A Lady," which became a #1 hit for Helen Reddy. "I wrote a love song but everybody thought it was a militant feminist statement," Schock recalls. "On my album there were songs that were feminist statements and this didn't happen to be one of them. But women were taking new ground. I had a forum, airplay and was getting my feelings out there."
In this current age of million-selling female artists, "Women are coming from a more organic and honest palace," says Schock. "For writers who are trying to do that -- as I have always been -- it opens that door. Now that women are taking over with real messages it's being noted. Of course things that make money are always noted."
Songs in films have also played a key role in Schock's career. "That's what fed me for the last fifteen years between albums," she says. "I co-wrote (with Misha Segal) songs the New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking, songs for the animated film Secret Garden, the end titles for Delta Force II and 'First Time on a Ferris Wheel,' which has been recorded by over 30 artists -- for Berry Gordy's The Last Dragon." Recently, Schock completed a Universal film, The Real Life Adventures of Santa Claus.
Schock's Rosebud had a long gestation period. She explains, "In 1991 I met producer Nik Venet at a NARAS local Board of Governors meeting. I played him some things and he kept wanting to hear more. I thought, 'Wow he really likes them,' then I discovered that he just wanted to hear something that sounded like me. I had gotten into writing for the market rather than writing about who I was. He started talking to me about subjects he thought I should write about. These formed the songs for the first album of mine that he produced."
The album, American Romance, released on Venet's Godsdog label, garnered a buzz, some press, and built the momentum for his next venture, Evening Star Records. In 1996 Nik produced the first incarnation of Rosebud. Schock recalls, "The sound of the record was not what we needed. When Jeffrey Casey took over the label, we went back in to remix, and I overdubbed a piano track. We also cut a song called, 'I'm Going to Hold You to That,' and took off a couple of the other songs."
How does Rosebud relate to Orson Welle's film Citizen Kane? Schock responds, "Citizen Kane starts with a child in a field playing with his sled, then the camera pulls back to reveal someone signing adoption papers. In one moment this kid's childhood and all of its happy memories are gone. Nik said there's a Rosebud in everybody's life, either a time or a person, that's brought so much happiness that looking back on it through time or loss, you realize that's your source of creative passion. You can write about it or paint about that time and it will never run dry -- the Rosebud will always give you inspiration."
The Music Connection -- 3/29 - 4/11/99