Harrison Stafford was born in 1977 and grew up in an east bay suburb of San Francisco, California. He attended regular public schools and also spent time in Synagogue studying the Torah and learning Hebrew. His parents have a deep appreciation for the love of music and music played an important role in the daily life of the family.
For reasons even he can’t fully explain, Reggae music and its’ history touched him at a very young age and sparked a love of the rhythm and culture of the African Diaspora. Still in high school he began to wonder why Reggae music, coming from a relatively small group of poor black people, was such a powerful voice for equal rights and justice, and he longed to be a part of that worldwide struggle.
After graduating from high school, Harrison studied jazz at Sonoma State University where he formed the fusion Reggae group Groundation in 1998. Groundation has since become one of the leading conscious bands of the underground music scene having released eight albums of original music and participated in countless world tours. Harrison continues to be a driving force behind Groundation both in his role as lead vocalist and in his creative ability to develop exciting new music.
Drawing on his personal research and his travel experiences in Jamaica and Africa, Harrison created a college level course titled “the History of Reggae Music”, which he taught at Sonoma State University from 1999-2001. The course was unique in that it took students who maybe just recently heard of Reggae music or only knew it from the popularity of Bob Marley and helped them appreciate the music on a deeper level; helped them understand how the music and message really defines who we are and where we stand in this time.
From 2000-2012 Harrison produced a documentary film on the history of the Rastafarian movement and Reggae music; entitled “Holding on to Jah”. The film features exclusive interviews with the who’s who of Reggae legends including The Congos, The Abyssinians, Ras Michael, Brother Samuel Clayton, Pablo Moses, Israel Vibration, IJahman Levi, Countryman, and Winston McAnuff among many others. Holding on to Jah was a collaboration with his long time childhood friend, director Roger Hall, and is currently in contract negotiations for the publishing rights to secure its world-wide release November, 2015.
Harrison continues to write music and tour with Groundation and to get involved in other projects that help spread the music and the message. He recorded a jazz influenced album call “Rockamovya” in 2008 which was a collective featuring members of Groundation along with Horsemouth on the drums and Grammy nominated Jazz guitarist Will Bernard. Harrison also began solo works including a studio release (Madness 2011) and a live DVD/CD (Throw Down Your Arms 2012) under the name “Professor” which focused on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and featured legendary Jamaican musicians Leroy “Horsemouth” Wallace on the drums and Errol “Flabba Holt” Carter on bass. In 2016 “One Dance” was released under the artist name ‘Harrison Stafford’ featuring personal songs in a straight ahead reggae fashion performed once again by the Jamaican legends who worked on the “Professor” projects. Tours throughout USA, Europe, and Brazil followed pushing the “One Dance” album to worldwide acclaim.
Today Harrison is gearing up to release another project this time a unique collaboration with a French Dub pioneer Brain Damage. The album titled “Liberation Time” is set for an October 20, 2017 with European tours to follow in October and November. Back in his home based in Northern California Harrison has a new crew of musicians from the reggae and jazz worlds set to perform a select few concerts featuring Groundation music along with songs from his solo works.
Looking ahead to 2018 and the launch of ‘GROUNDATION; Next Generation’ with a studio album to be released in the Fall and tours to follow. The future is very bright and promising for Harrison Stafford and all his works to come; for fans and followers sit back and enjoy the musical fruits!