American Homes and Gardens® Making Beautiful Music Together

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Making Beautiful Music Together




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Gold Line

Making Beautiful Music Together!

A Personal Finance Story by Rufus Harris and Denise Strong-Harris

American Homes and Gardens Magazine

Financial experts agree that in today’s economy, having an additional income stream is not only wise but necessary.  Since 2003, Rufus Harris and his wife Denise have done just that.  

Rufus Harris

Making Beautiful Music Together

“At one point, Rufus and I were both laid off from our jobs,” Denise recalls.  “Rufus worked in IT on the data communications side and I worked in the video production department for a major cable provider.” "It was a very challenging time for us.  Unemployment compensation and the extra subcontracting jobs just weren’t quite enough.  To survive - to make ends meet, we had to draw upon other disciplines we studied when we were younger – skills in audio and video."  So, the Harris’s started a home recording studio incorporating video services and a record label to produce their own music and that of other independent musicians.  They now make music their business.

The Harris’ admit this didn’t happen overnight.  They had to first learn more about the business in general and that of music.  They obtained a DBA, opening a commercial account, and created a business plan.  They soon found that starting a home-based music business wasn’t as difficult as they thought.  It helped immensely that Rufus had a background in audio recording and Denise in video production.  Rufus had spent many years recording music for national and local recording artists. And Denise had 15 years of TV production under her belt.  She knew how to create voice overs and produce meaningful videos.

“Technology had changed so much.  Musicians no longer had to buy expensive equipment or depend on the big recording studios and record labels,” says Rufus.  “You could write it, perform it, record it and sell it.”  Today everything is affordable for those who are creative in this area. “We don’t own expensive sound consoles.  It is all about knowing what to do; having a reliable computer and appropriate software,” says Rufus.  

The Harris’s have recorded 3 of their own CDs and those of numerous artists.  Although, Denise is now working a full-time job, having that second stream of income has helped them survive. 

"Starting a home-based business is just smart.  Our music recording and production business has proven to be a solid source of income for us,” Denise says.  The couple has just released a new Happy Birthday to You song that they are hoping will catch on and allow them to continue to do what they love most - make beautiful music together.  For more information go to: or

Rufus Harris 1

American Homes and Gardens Magazine

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