Truth be told, she holds on to early comparisons to former Fleetwood Mac lead singer, Stevie Nicks. Harkes’ soulful lyrics, her music delivery and, perhaps, her light-hued locks, has had people comparing her another double-threat. (Nicks has long been known as a dancer during live performances, and is recognized for her contributions to fashion, as well.)
“The first music I remember listening to was Fleetwood Mac,” said Harkes. “I loved the harmonies. I loved everything about it. … I was born in 1977. Clearly these albums were before my time. I’d just like to state that [for the record],” she said, as she laughs some more.
Jackson — again with the sports reference — was a rare gem of an athlete who excelled at two professional sports. He would often be asked as to which he prefered, and obscurely referred to one as a hobby over the other. Harkes said she loves both music and comedy — and doesn’t want to choose.
“I love music,” she said. “It provides for me. I feel very blessed. I mean, I work really hard and it just blows my mind that I’m able to do it [for a living]. The comedy is way harder. I don’t know if it’s because it’s still new to me still. The excitement is so fresh. I get nervous, and I enjoy that.”
“They each have their pros and cons,” Harkes said. “I wouldn’t say I love them equally. I love them much differently.” With music, she said, she sits down and dives into the music. No interaction with the crowd is needed. However, she describes comedy as sometimes “terrifying,” because she’s not able to hide behind anything. The interaction between performer and audience is vital to the quality of a show. “It’s like every few seconds, someone’s standing on your chest.”
“With the comedy, you need the audience and you need the attention,” said Harkes. “It seems like I’m putting myself in a precarious situation, because I’m already an attention-starved individual.”
It’s January, and Harkes has her schedule planned out for the entire year. She’s the regular host of the all-female comedy show “Chicks Are Funny” at the Funny Bone in Crossgates, in addition to the hundreds of shows to which she travels. There is no time to reflect on her progression, but she said she sets goals with each coming year; one of which was performing last year at Carolines on Broadway in New York City.
“I don’t ever like to tell people my goals,” said Harkes, “and I’m the only one who knows if I fail them.” But, just as she did when she quit her day job, she’s taking the opportunities that come to her. Only this time, the opportunities are getting much better. Before she was able to establish goals for 2017, she was already accepted to perform at the Boston Comedy Festival. And on television, she was asked to appear for the third season of Hulu’s “Laughs TV.”
“The things I didn’t expect, the things I didn’t anticipate I would get, I got them,” said Harkes. “I don’t know. Sometimes it’s throwing so many things up onto the wall and seeing what sticks.”
This article was originally published by The Spot 518. is property of Spotlight Newspapers in Albany, N.Y., and appears as a special to NYSmusic. TheSpot518 and NYSmusic work in partnership to provide readers with in-depth coverage on the local music scene in the Capital District and New York state, respectively. For more, visit TheSpot518.com.