Over the past three years, I have had the privilege of working alongside this phenomenally eclectic, humbly talented student at our campus radio station, and he is more than worthy of a profile spotlight. Integral to the creative fabric that ties the unabashedly unique creatives together here in Charleston, Harrison “Daddy” Tucker will be more than missed following his graduation this May. If anything is to be drawn from this article, know that there is no doubt in my mind that Young Metro trusts homeboy Harry.
At A Glance: Harrison Tucker, Senior Arts Management major, Japanese minor from Summerville, SC.
Meredith Wohl: Tell me about your interests growing up and if you feel as if they’ve influenced what you like to do now.
Harrison Tucker: I think growing up, I was really into animals – like I watched a lot of Animal Planet and really liked bugs, you know? My dream was always to go to Australia and shadow Steve Irwin in the zoo he worked at. And then I really got into Japanese robots, in watching TV and things like that. And then, it wasn’t until middle school that I got into music, like into “dad rock” with bands like The Who, and that progressed into an interest in British indie music. In my senior year of high school, I really got into music and movies.
MW: Do you think that slow progression of interests influences what you’re interested in now, or have you rebeled against all of that as you’ve grown?
HT: No, I think having as many influences as possible is best. Rejecting things that shape you is never good – doing that is like rejecting a part of what made you. It may not be the coolest or best thing, but it still shapes who you are. I just moved from interest to interest because I like learning about new things. When I got a computer as a kid, instead of just watching porn, I would be on Wikipedia reading random articles all the time.
MW: It’s no secret that you’re a part of the theatre scene on campus. What brought you to start writing screenplays and getting involved in that arena?
HT: I was always into movies, but I really didn’t know what I was talking about at first. There’s a screenwriting class at CofC, but you have to take a playwriting course as a prerequisite first. So, I took playwriting very reluctantly but I didn’t enjoy it – I took theatre classes because it went toward my Arts Management major, but I really wasn’t into theatre. But, in taking the class, I got really interested in playwriting and theatre. I was so interested in conceptualizing things for the screen that visualizing scenes for the stage was also really cool. I don’t know, I find a really interesting juxtaposition between all of the technology we have to use and the simplicity of the bare stage where you can have everything fall. The stage is like this weird holy ground, in a sense.
MW: What has your experience with theatre at CofC been like?
HT: Not a lot, actually. I knew people who were in theatre, but it always seemed really clique-ish, no offense to theatre people, but you do become so close in this field because you do become such a family and a community working with each other. Even though I took theatre classes, I always felt like an outsider. I would write stuff on my own, typically. But then, this year, my senior year, I started going to a lot of productions and actually helping out with Center Stage. Then this semester, I submitted my own play and it was read for Center Stage, which was cool.
MW: Tell me about the reading of your play. How did it feel?
HT: I’ve never had anything that major read before – it’s over 100 pages, I wrote five drafts. Anything that you put so much energy into you can’t gauge its success on any previous work. I had never had anything read in public before, so I was really, really nervous. You always assume with a new passion that, “Oh, I’m not going to be good at it.” A big fear of mine is failing at something I’m passionate about. You see people go through that all the time – they love something but, no offense, they suck at it. I was just so nervous going into the reading. I had people come up to tell me that it was just as interesting watching me react [during the reading] because I had a pad and pen I was taking notes with and I was just biting it and beating my head with it – I was just so nervous. After the reading, just hearing all the positive feedback…. I think a lot of people enjoyed it. It felt like a deep breath after it was over. It felt good, like good encouragement for the future. I’m the kind of person that’s not very confident going into a lot of things, but once I have that one thing that happens, I’m much more confident about it. I feel like that’s true for a lot of people. It’s like when you go to a party and you don’t know anyone, but then you meet someone there that you know and you can go crazy.
MW: So, fashion – right? You definitely have your own remarkable style. How did you come to find your personal aesthetic?
HT: I used to dress really bad, actually. Really, really bad. I just didn’t care. I remember, though, because I grew up in a Christian home, I went to youth group one time and I got this teen bible… It was made to look like a magazine and everything and it was probably filled with stock photos, but still the kids were just really cool in it! I don’t know why, but that’s what really got me to pay attention to what I wore. I wouldn’t even read the bible stuff – just imagine Teen Vogue, but it’s a bible! Like, with girls hanging out and partying and stuff, and they dressed really cool and looked like they were having fun. I went out of my way to wear a shirt and pants like the kids in the magazine bible wore them, and my mom was like “Oh, you look really nice!” After that, I started paying attention to what I wore. Dress like what you think is cool. I try to pick pieces, here and there, just to put them together.
MW: Are there any people, alive or dead, that you try to exemplify when you dress?
HT: Ummm… I mean, I’m not going to dress like Kanye West, because I can’t rock that, but I think some of the stuff he wears is really cool. New Kanye, definitely not old Kanye – I’m not going to be rocking a pink polo, but the effort he puts into his style, I take from. I like Shia LaBeouf’s fashion a lot, actually. I like Robert Pattinson a lot, too. And, Drake sometimes! I like Drake’s dad’s style.
MW: Drake’s dad style is ICONIC.
HT: Yeah, definitely! I like that a lot.
MW: I also know that you love cooking. What are some of your favorite things to eat and on the flip side, what are some of your favorite things to cook?
HT: Whenever I go out to eat, I like to get things that I personally couldn’t make or couldn’t get anywhere else. Even if its just a Mom & Pop diner, I always want to eat what I either couldn’t find at another place or replicate myself. But also, if we’re just talking food, I like eating weird stuff. Pork tongue, knuckles, and tendons – weird stuff like that. It all goes back to when I was younger. I really loved watching Anthony Bourdain – he really inspired me to try all sorts of different stuff. I love food that has thought and care put into it.
Making wise, it fluctuates. This summer, I was really into making pasta sauces that would take like two hours to make. You can just drink a lot of wine, listen to a lot of music and make that. I think now I want to start making curries, but in college its all about making quick and easy things in a pan. So this summer, I want to take my time with making fun foods. I also love grilling, which is what I love about summer. It’s super easy and super fun. I actually wanted to be a chef for a long time. But, now cooking just just fun for me. I don’t want to mix up what calms me down as a career, because that would probably stress me out. I definitely want to perfect my knife skills and master some Southern dishes. When I move out of the South, I’d love to be able to share those with friends from other places.
MW: Let’s switch it up a little bit. In this scenario, you can travel to any place at any time with anyone. Where would you go and who would you take with you?
HT: Honestly, I would love to travel around with Anthony Bourdain. I really connect to him. I was also really into punk music growing up, and we are into the same kind of books. I feel like he’s a low-key optimist but he acts like a pessimist, which I do a lot. I think it would be really fun to vibe around with him. I also feel like it would be cool to live out the whole “Midnight in Paris” dream – everyone kind of yearns for that time, when things weren’t as good as we think they were, but it would be amazing to experience those art centers. Like New York City with the beat generation or Paris with the Lost Generation. Times like that.
MW: Do you feel like that kind of environment is what is being fostered in Charleston right now?
HT: I think we’re kind of going toward that. For a while, the art scene here served as a midway point, where artists could get their start and then move on to a bigger place. Or maybe it used to be a place where more wealthy people could enjoy art or survive for longer times. But I think now there are more young people, especially college students, who are focused on the arts. I think it’s growing, and there’s definitely potential for that. You saw something similar with the Pop Up scene for music in Charleston, and the poetry scene. Those communities are thriving, and the interconnectedness is so important for the art community’s success as a whole.
MW: Last question… What is one word that describes who you are?
HT: You say a deep word and then you’re that person… One thing I would say to describe me is that I have real desire to learn or experience as much as possible. I want to experience as much as possible! There’s just so much good stuff in this world, and I see as much of it as possible. I want to eat as much, or read as much, or learn about so much because there’s just so much to experience.