Past the Press Release is an interview series featuring a new member of a professional Southern Gospel group. It’s a chance to look past the standard “excited to be here” press release comment and learn a little more about them. In years past, you may have met Paul Harkey at an Anchormen or LeFevre Quartet concert, but today, he is the newest member of Ernie Haase & Signature Sound. Let’s get to know him a little better!
Daniel J. Mount: What inspired you to want to sing Southern Gospel?
Paul: Well I grew up in church. It was one of those “every time the doors were open” situations. My parents are some of the most amazing people I know. My mother was the church pianist/organist so I grew up hearing all of the hymns not only in church, but also at home when she would practice. I did my first solo when I was around six years old. I got so nervous. I was supposed to sing the song through twice, but once through was quite enough for me!
It wasn’t until I went to the Homecoming Texas Style in Ft. Worth in 1995 that I truly fell in love with Southern Gospel music. That was when I first saw George Younce and the Cathedral Quartet. Not only did I know I wanted to sing, I knew I wanted to sing bass! It was the greatest thing I had ever heard!
Daniel: Has your voice tended toward the bass end of the spectrum since your teens, or is the ability to sing bass one that you discovered more recently?
Paul: I was classically trained in college as a baritone but bass singing was always the part I leaned toward any time I heard a quartet singing…which is still what you would hear if you rode around with me in my car.
Daniel: What bass singers have you studied (or studied with) to develop your vocal technique?
Paul: Of course, George Younce though I never got to meet him. Jeff Chapman has been my biggest personal mentor. He also happens to be a great friend. I have also had the opportunity to study from Tim Riley (Gold City) and Joe Brown (The Diplomats). All absolutely wonderful, and coincidentally, hilarious men of God.
Daniel: Glorious Day, releasing on April 2, is your debut recording with Ernie Haase & Signature Sound. What are some of your favorite moments on the project?
Paul: There are so many great moments! It’s really hard to choose just a few. All of the orchestration and instrumentation headed up by Wayne Haun is breathtaking! We did a live acoustic version of “Sometimes I Wonder” as well and it is quite a moment!
Daniel: Most of my readers have seen EH&SS at some point, but for some, it’s been a few years. How would you compare the Signature Sound live experience today to what it was five years ago? What’s new or different, and what’s the same?
Paul: Well besides the obvious member changes, I think that the goal is still the same…JOY! We all want to spread God’s love, hope, and joy to as many people as God puts in our path. Here more recently, if you come to a “Siggy Sound” concert, you will get an intimate look at our hearts and truly what we are about in this wonderful ministry with which God has blessed us. Your spirit will definitely be lifted and there will be a song in your heart!
Daniel: Thank you!