How X Ambassadors' Sam Nelson Harris Got His Groove Back (Literally)

12 November 2021 | 10:00 am | Tiana Speter

"I'd been writing a lot, and making a lot of music...but I hadn't been performing. And I missed that so much. So, when we started to prep for the video, and I started to get into my body in that way...just: oh my god! I cried!"

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CONTENT WARNING: This podcast contains discussion of mental health. If you are suffering from any of the issues that have been discussed or need assistance, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636. 

A musician, a composer, an actor and now a podcast creator: Sam Nelson Harris from American pop rockers X Ambassadors has many strings to his creative bow.

Already firmly cemented as a creative juggernaut for his work as a creator, from penning the track Sucker For Pain from 2016's Suicide Squad to working in Lizzo's powerhouse debut album Cuz I Love You, Harris has steadily worked to stamp the X Ambassadors name as a group effort in the musical realms. And now armed in 2021 with a brand new release, a third full-length X Ambassadors outing titled The Beautiful Liar, Harris has simultaneously now also branched out into the land of podcasts, with an accompanying audio drama series also titled The Beautiful Liar detailing a gripping coming-of-age-meets-superhero-origin story, as well as a heartfelt accompaniment to Harris and his brother and bandmate Casey Harris' experience growing up devouring supernatural radio dramas.

The road to a podcast was uncomplicated in terms of concept; The Beautiful Liar itself embraced both the Harris brothers’ real life experiences, including Casey’s experience having been legally blind since birth. But despite the inevitable hurdles both have traversed and overcome in the lead up, The Beautiful Liar, both podcast and album, offers a raw and relatable insight into life in general.

With the phenomenal Emily Hampshire of Schitt’s Creek and Chapelwaite fame onboard the podcast train with the Harris brothers, both voicing the integral role of Shadow and as an executive producer, The Beautiful Liar at-times comedically explores darker thematics like anxiety, grief and despair through the lens of the teenage protagonist Clementine. But the evolution of the Shadow character coupled with the entire podcast and album experience also unlocked some heavy creative and emotional doors, as Harris himself explained on today's episode of The Green Room podcast.

"This voice in Clementine's head of Shadow..." Harris mused to The Green Room host Tiana Speter. "You know, [Shadow's] all of her fear and all of her anxiety that is there to protect her!

"I've had to come to terms with this, my own anxiety and my own fear and's there because my brain and my body are like: 'let me protect you! I wanna protect you! I wanna help you!" Harris paused and laughed. "It kinda comes from a place of love! Even though it's very destructive, and can be totally the opposite of what you need."

While Hampshire's take on the the character of Shadow straddles a delicious line of comedy and darker moments, the visual iteration of the character also leapt from the mind of Harris and The Beautiful Liar album and onto the screen, appearing as a dominant figure in the band's accompanying music video for the single My Own Monster. And while Shadow gleefully tried to steal the show, it was also Harris' sparkling dance moves dancing with the "monsters" in his head that caught the attention of many - and showcased a lifelong creative passion for Harris in the process.

"I really do just love being creative in general," Harris explained.

"I have recently been loving dancing again. I did so much theatre in high school and college. And even after college, I was doing theatre and a lot of that movement stuff, and a lot of that dance stuff that I learned came from that world. But I'd never really focused in on it, and taken time. 

"So, for this music video...I trained with this incredible choreographer named Genna Moroni as my movement coach to prep for tour and everything else too. She's been so great to work with and...I'm a dancer now! I feel like I can confidently say that, the amount of work I put into it. And the way that I'm moving onstage now is different, it just feels good!

"I did it in the middle of the pandemic because I'd been writing a lot, and making a lot of music...but I hadn't been performing. And I missed that so much. So, when we started to prep for the video, and I started to get into my body in that way...just: oh my god! I cried!

"In our first session I was like: I'm sorry, I'm losing it a bit here!" Harris chuckled. "It just feels so good, I forgot this is part of who I am!"


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The Beautiful Liar podcast, featuring Emily Hampshire and accompanying the X Ambassadors album of the same name, is available exclusively right now on Amazon Music. Episodes will be available on all podcast platforms from next Wednesday 17 November, with new episodes dropping weekly (PT time). Grab a listen to the trailer here.

To catch the full chat with Sam Nelson Harris and host Tiana Speter, you can listen below, over at the Euphony site, via YouTube, Spotify, Apple Podcasts - or wherever you usually get your podcasts from.


Need more music, film, TV and comedy in your life? Check out all previous episodes of The Green Room here. And did you know you can also watch episodes of The Green Room too? Head here to check out some of the recent videos.
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