Born on October 28, 1969, in Pomona, California, Ben Harper grew up in a musical family and developed his craft as a singer-songwriter and guitarist. Known for his guitar-playing skills, soulful vocals, live performances, and activism, Harper taught himself to play the guitar as a child and eventually grew to love playing his trademark Weissenborn lap guitars. After getting into hip-hop for a time, he immersed himself in the sounds of the blues, studying the music from figures like Robert Johnson. The result of his hard work and studies was an invitation to go on tour by iconic bluesman Taj Mahal, with whom he performed on television as well.
Throughout his career, Harper has released about 12 regular studio albums and has won the Grammy Award three times: for Best Pop Instrumental Performance and Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album in 2005 – which featured the Blind Boys of Alabama -, and Best Blues Album in 2014. His albums are known for their social consciousness, such as his debut Welcome to the Cruel World, and genre fusions, mixing disparate categories like blues, reggae, folk, soul, classic rock and alt-pop. Harper’s lyrical themes are fueled by his experiences growing up with a mixed-ethnic heritage and experiencing racial prejudice.