The 2013 Country Showdown Finalist Suzanne Harper is continuing to pursue her dream and is planning to fly out to Nashville, Tennessee this weekend to record an album with John Carter Cash.
Harper, a San Diego native, was sponsored by KHTS AM-1220 for the 2013 Country Showdown. She performed at Santa Clarita Valley venues including the Keyboard Galleria and Concerts in the Park.
She was contacted by managers last year for a contract, she said.
“We were in Nashville in January to play some showcases. My manager, Vicki Hamilton, who worked with Guns and Roses, Mötley Crüe and Poison, ended up doing June Carter Cash’s last album with her and she kind of got to know John Carter Cash,” Harper said. “She asked if we could take a tour of the Cash cabin. We met John Carter Cash and he ended up coming and watched one of our shows. He approached us and said ‘You guys are unbelievable. I would love to produce an album for you guys.’”
Carter Cash, a Grammy Award-winning producer and the son of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, asked Harper and her band to come out to the Cash cabin in Nashville, Tenn. to record an album, the second album in total for the band.
“It was pretty neat to showcase in front of someone so important and for him to respond so positively,” Harper said. “We’re really excited.We have been going through all of the songs we have and have been finding best material. It’s really neat to work with Johnny and June’s son. It’s pretty cool and pretty unbelievable.”
Harper and her band — her husband Ross Harper, electric guitarist Eric Bird, drummer John Harper and bassist Marsha Staub — are leaving Saturday to record between 10 and 12 songs for their album over the course of about two weeks.
Harper hopes the album will be out this summer, she said.
Harper and her band crowdsourced on Indiegogo for the trip and raised more than $10,000.
“We are so thankful to everyone who donated and made it possible for us to go. This is a once in a lifetime, crazy opportunity. It blew us away to have that level of support. It was so touching,” Harper said. “If (Carl Goldman) had not believed in me for Country Showdown, I wouldn’t have made it to the Ryman where we impressed my manager. We’re so thankful for that opportunity.”
During the past two years since the 2013 Country Showdown competition, Harper and her band have been performing at various venues.
Harper was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, a rare inflammatory disease causing injury to the spinal cord with varying degrees of weakness, sensory alterations, and autonomic dysfunction, according to the website, and had to take some time off from performing.
She went through 12 rounds of plasma exchange to treat it, she said.
“It’s been a long process going through these treatments but it’s going well. I’m continuing to improve,” Harper said, adding that she temporarily lost the ability to move her hands and one of her legs. “I’m walking well now. Retraining my fingers to play guitar is kind of tricky but I got a lot of support and fortunately I can still sing. It’s just a matter of rehabilitation and time.”
Through the treatments and challenges that have come along her journey, Harper still works to show her daughters — Georgia, 7, and Evangeline, 4 — that they can follow their dreams no matter what.
“They’re a big part of our inspiration,” Harper said. “We want to show them that you can do what you’re good, what you love, and become successful doing that.”