Graduate produces top album on Billboard charts
Sept. 5, 2013
David Harris, a 2008 Composition and Music Technologies graduate, has had a great month – an album he produced is sitting atop the Billboard charts.
Harris, who goes by the professional name of Swagg R'Celious, has shepherded singer K Michelle's album, "Rebellious Soul," to the No. 1 slot on both the R&B and the R&B/Hip Hop lists. And he is firm in his belief that his achievement can be traced right back to LaGrange College.
"I have always been a person with big dreams, concepts and an idea of a work ethic, but I lacked focus and organization," he said. "My education at LaGrange College and the nurturing environment of the music department helped me develop some of the skills that have helped me reach my success today."
Music professors saw something in the young student that he didn't know was there, he said.
"(They) were very good at cultivating and promoting individuality in the way I heard music," he said. "They helped me create the music I wanted to create, believed in me and helped foster my creative development."
Harris said he is particularly grateful to Lee Johnson, Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Music, Dr. Toni Anderson, Coordinator of the music program, and Dr. Mitch Turner, Professor of Music.
"They became my family, a home away from home. I could always call on them for help or advice. If it were not for their belief and investment in me, I wouldn't be where I am today."
Following his graduation from LaGrange, Harris earned his graduate degree at New York University. Today, he is the in-house producer for Oz Studios in New York City, a producer/songwriter and CEO of his own company, Progressive Musik Group LLC.
Harris is quick to credit God for "the gift of music He has given me and the many opportunity to share that gift. I am also very thankful to both my parents, James and Carolyn Harris, for teaching me the value of dreaming and always striving for excellence."
He believes the lessons he learned about himself at LaGrange will serve him throughout his life and career.
"Professor Johnson always pushed me to be the best leader I could be and to always go with my creative gut," he said. "Dr. Anderson pushed me to explore things that I may not naturally be comfortable with, always trying to find ways or classes to push me out of my comfort zone.
"Dr. Turner was that dude who made me think on my toes and helped fine-tune my work ethic."
Johnson said he is very proud of his former student.
"He is a wonderful man and a tremendous example of what can happen after studying with all of us here at LaGrange College."
Harris said producing a hit album has been amazing.
"This experience has most definitely been exciting and a learning process for me," he said. "It is also a testament of where hard work and dedication can get you in life. I strive to be nothing less than the best at what I do."