Ben Harper

Photo: Nicolas Guerin/Corbis

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Ben Harper
Singer-Songwriter

As a single parent, my mom was stretched pretty thin taking care of my three brothers and me. We lived by humble means. But when each of us graduated from middle school, my mom cobbled together enough funds to take us on a trip. I picked New York. Imagine going from a small town like Claremont, California, to Manhattan. It was like visiting the future, especially at night when it's dark, and the city transforms itself into this glowing, mysterious planet all its own. The sounds, the scents, the taxicabs, the smoke rising from the street—it was all overwhelming in the best way. As my mom and I headed back to Claremont, I remember thinking, "What am I going home for? I've got to get to the rest of my life!" —As told to Crystal G. Martin
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