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Photo by Tracy Hoexter

Featured Article

In the Swing With Roswell’s Own Karla Harris

Article by Kris Burnett

Photography by Cullen Smith, Tracy Hoexter

Originally published in Roswell City Lifestyle

Musician, vocalist and educator Karla Harris has been a Roswell resident since 2012. A St. Louis native, she and her husband John met at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, married after graduating, and raised two sons in the area. John's job as an industrial engineer with UPS took them from St. Louis to Portland, and then to Roswell, where they currently live with their beloved poodle. The pair now works together, as he manages booking and logistical planning for her many concerts and guest appearances.

While she has performed all over the U.S. and part of Europe, Karla's favorite moments as a performer include stepping onto the main stage at the Atlanta Jazz Festival in 2021 and participating in the 2022 Newport Jazz Party on the Oregon Coast. "I was singing a ballad with some jazz legends backing me, including drummer Lewis Nash, who has played on more than 400 jazz recordings," Harris remembers. "When the song ended, Lewis stood up behind his drum set and gave me a bow. It was a surprising and sweet moment, and a great honor."

An artist-in-residence with Kennesaw State University, Harris teaches Applied Vocal Jazz and loves working with aspiring singers. "These students are so passionate about this uniquely American art form," Harris said. "Recently, one of my students performed for a special event at Cobb Energy Centre. He absolutely nailed it, and I could see on his face he had realized a dream.

“I also love to witness the camaraderie that grows among my students at Kennesaw,” she added. “The world of a vocalist is unique, so we aim to foster an atmosphere of total support for each other.”

When she is not performing or teaching, you can find Harris at one of her favorite spots in Roswell including Madrid Spanish Taverna, VAS Kouzina, Brookwood Grill, From the Earth, Table and Main, The Vick, Lazaro's, Roswell Provisions, Rojo, Oli+Ve, Findlay Rowe, Lilly Sage, and Deep Roots. Her favorite activities include walking – especially in her neighborhood and Leita Thompson Memorial Park, yoga, and reading, and even though it may sound like work, she loves playing the piano and singing at home. As she notes, "While technically it’s practice, most days it feels like essential self-care."

Karla is not only a talented educator, songwriter and musician, she has an incredibly soulful voice. Do yourself a favor and get tickets to her upcoming concert in Roswell on February 24: “Swing and Things” with Atlanta’s own Joe Alterman Trio at the Roswell Cultural Arts Center.  

  • Photo by Tracy Hoexter
  • Photo by Tracy Hoexter