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About Harper Grae
A vocalist and songwriter with strong beliefs and little fear of adversity, Harper Grae is an artist who has channeled the memories of a difficult childhood into songs that have made her a celebrated talent in country music. Born into a family plagued with personal issues, Grae's determination and faith helped her become a top student as well as inspiring her to use her talents for music. Grae first won a nationwide audience as a contestant on a reality talent show, but after settling in Nashville, she won acclaim from critics and fans for songs like "Dear Daddy," "Bloodline," and "Monster," dramatic country ballads with rock accents that dealt with her traumatic past, while her clear and proudly southern vocals spoke to the resilience that helped carry her through.
Harper Grae was born Shanna Henderson in Montgomery, Alabama on July 4, 1990. Shanna's mother struggled with drug addiction and was an unpredictable parent. Shanna's parents divorced when she was young, and when her father remarried, he largely dropped out of his first family's life, and Shanna rarely saw him. Believing their mother was not up to the task of raising Shanna and her siblings, the youngsters were taken in by their maternal grandparents, Ann and Roger Harper, who helped raise the children alongside their aunt, Dianne Harper. Growing up in the small town of Reeltown, Alabama, Shanna had to live with the fact that many of her classmates knew of her parents' troubles, and she was sometimes taunted with the insulting phrase "crack baby." Determined to prove her tormentors wrong, Shanna applied herself and became a top student, while she also made the swimming, softball, and basketball teams, was active in student organizations, and embraced her love of music by playing tuba and trombone in the school band and performing in the show choir.
After graduating from high school, Shanna attended Auburn University in Alabama. Between her experiences in choir and her love of classic country artists like Johnny Cash and Hank Williams, Sr., Shanna discovered she had a gift for singing, and she decided to follow her passion by studying musical theater, with a minor in religious studies. She competed in a local singing contest called Auburn Idol and fared well enough to take home a $10,000 prize. In 2012, during her senior year at Auburn, Shanna auditioned for the second season of The Glee Project, a combination reality show and musical talent competition created by the producers of the hit TV series Glee. Shanna passed the audition and offered her take on pop hits like "Born This Way" and "Now That We've Found Love." She lasted nine weeks on The Glee Project before she was eliminated, long enough for her to make a strong impression with viewers. Shanna received her degree from Auburn in 2012, and she soon moved to Nashville, Tennessee in hopes of making a career in country music.
In 2015, Shanna released her first single, "Hell or Highwater," but by 2017, she had rebranded herself as Harper Grae, the first name in honor of the family that took her in and the last name an acronym for "God Redeems All Equally." In a songwriting session with tunesmith Pat Alger, Grae brought along a letter to her father that she had written years before but never had the courage to send. Grae and Alger adapted the letter into a song, "Dear Daddy," which earned airplay as a single and became the centerpiece of her debut album, Break Your Crowns, released by Grae's own Grae Area Records. Another track on the album, "Good in Your Goodbye," was popular on radio and streaming services, and the pop-leaning single "Wonder Woman" followed in August 2018. Just a month later, Grae released a four-song EP, Buck Moon Melodies, the title taken from Native American mythos that July is the time of the Buck Moon, which brings renewal and new growth. The EP featured two more songs informed by Shanna Henderson's youth, "Monster" and "Bloodline."
- Montgomery, AL
- Jul 4, 1990