Shelley Otis

Harpist, Arranger, Pianist

Shelley Otis on SoundBetter

I'll play anything on the harp! I'm equally comfortable improvising, reading music, or playing by ear. I love arranging music for the harp for any genre, whether it's pop, classical, or world music. I also play piano and sing backup vocals. English, Español, Francais.

I can help you with:
-studio harp recording
-studio piano recording
-arranging music for the harp or string ensembles
-live music for events
-I'm located near Boston MA but can do long-distance recording work, as I have an electric harp that can record parts directly into a computer.

-I perform music for more than 140 weddings and private events per year
-Discography/studio work:
What Cheer Movie (composed and performed the harp part in the score for this film)
Cavern of the Heart (album by Andi Flax)
Crossover! (album by Steve Tapper and John Tyson)
Windborne (solo harp album)

Send me an email through 'Contact' button above and I'll get back to you asap.

Interview with Shelley Otis

  1. Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.

  2. A: I spend most of my time playing harp music for weddings and events (and yes, with all the coordination involved, especially for weddings, it's a full-time job!) I work with my clients to find just the right music for their occasion, and enjoy the artistic challenge of adapting any kind of music to the harp.

  3. Q: What type of music do you usually work on?

  4. A: I tend to play a lot of popular music on the harp, as that is what my clients usually want, but I enjoy other kinds of music too, and writing my own music. I enjoy just being creative and finding what sounds good on the harp.

  5. Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?

  6. A: That the harp always sounds soft, sleepy, and classical. There's a lot of different sounds that you can get out of the harp, a lot of different moods and vibes, and it can really be quite rhythmic and energetic.

  7. Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?

  8. A: This past year I was hired to play music for a wedding reception dinner with a violinist and cellist. The bride was planning to put an iPod on for the dancing portion of the reception but then she decided she wanted us to stay and play the dance music. I almost told her that string trios weren't the most likely thing to get people onto the dance floor, but instead I added a percussionist to the mix and wrote out string arrangements of dance songs (like "I Gotta Feeling" (Black Eyed Peas), "You Are the Best Thing" (Ray LaMontange), "Everything" (Michael Buble), etc. I wasn't sure how it would turn out, but at the wedding, after dinner they all got up and started dancing to our music. I felt a real sense of accomplishment, both in that I was able to help create a fun atmosphere that people were enjoying, but also that I got to do it with my harp, an instrument that typically isn't used for dancing.

  9. Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?

  10. A: Um...I'd take a tarp, a knife, a flint and steel fire starter, a mess kit, and a bucket for collecting and saving water. If I could put my Hennessy Hammock inside the bucket and it would still count as the 5th thing, I'd bring that too. It's been on trips to 3 different continents with me so far and is by far one of the best pieces of gear I own. Musically, my gear consists of a small battery-powered Samson PA (great for outdoor weddings that don't have easy access to electricity), a Bose L1-Compact system, 2 Electrovox speakers, a Fishman pre-amp/DI box, a multi-effects pedal for my electric harp, and an H4n recorder, but I don't think any of them would do any good on a desert island, unless there was an outlet to plug them in?

Wild Horses

I was the performer and arranger in this production

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