keith harris (in studio)*Before Keith Harris became the Grammy award-winning drummer, song-writer and producer for the Black Eyed Peas he humbly played drums for a church in Boston, making a four-hour drive each way from New York to participate.

What seemed like an unrealistic job to others was actually a divine assignment to prepare him for his future, Harris stated during a candid Q&A with Executive Director Touré Roberts at the Artist Resource Center in North Hollywood. He explained that he had to learn early not to compare his path to success with that of his friends who seemed to be doing better than he was.

“We feel like we have to be at a certain place in life at a certain time, but you have to enjoy the ride,” said Harris. “Do things because you love it and the money will follow. I love to play drums. Getting paid to do it is sugar on top!”

While faithfully serving as a musician for the church, the pastor approached Harris and asked him to take a pay cut. Harris was devastated by the suggestion, and he began to ask God to explain to him why this was happening. He took the situation to God in an earnest prayer and asked for revelation. A week later, Harris received a call from Printz Board, musical director with the Black Eyed Peas, inviting him to join the group for a three-month tour. The catch? He needed to learn 15 songs in a few days time. Suddenly the four-hour drives Harris spent memorizing music for the church would now be an asset he would use to learn the music in time for the tour. The three-month gig turned into eight years as the once little known group blossomed into the powerhouse that it is today.

“Where you are is where you need to be because it’s setting you up for where you need to go!” Harris explained to the audience of aspiring entertainers. “Stay faithful and you will receive that PLUS more.”

Harris believes it is important that creative people run their brand as a business and develop a professional team with like-minded personalities. It all starts with you being the leader of your vision.

“You must be true to yourself, rooted to your faith and surround yourself with good people who will feed your spirit,” said Harris. “When you have a manager on your team he must know you and your vision so he will represent you in the proper way and be there in good faith to work for you…not the check!”

Roberts agreed with the importance of the preparation process stating the time will come for you to bless others with your work and when it does, you are able to enjoy the ride and reap its fruit because of the time you spent growing, learning and trusting in God to walk out the prophesy over your life.

“An act of faith will release the grace. It’s one thing to say that you believe in the dream that’s on your life, but sometimes your actions are actually saying that you don’t,” said Roberts. “Faith without the works is dead faith.”

The opportunity to work with the Black Eyed Peas allowed Harris to tour the world using his gift. However, he vividly recalled one of his most cherished moments as an artist, when a young woman sent him a message on years ago. The woman was having thoughts of suicide on that particular day, but she put on her Black Eyed Peas album and decided not to do it!

“It’s not about the music. That’s the vehicle to ‘hook’ people in to bring them to something bigger,” said Harris, who in that moment appreciated the power of songs to change a person’s mood. “It’s a great responsibility to have the keys to people’s feelings and emotions in your hand, which is why one has to know it’s about God using me to get His agenda across.”

Lastly, Harris encouraged the audience to study the lives of those whom they are inspired by, stay humble, have a good, down-to-earth personality and be proficient while developing yourself and setting your goals. Success is attained by following the 3 P’s:

  1. Prayer      – Do this consistently and faithfully.
  2. Practice      – Work on your craft on a daily basis.
  3. Patience      – Do not rush the tree to bear its fruit. Do not be discouraged, as one      gift will make room for the next one!

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keith harris (tuxedo)