March 12, 2009 / 4:35 AM / 11 years ago

Dhani Harrison preps for band's debut release

Olivia Harrison, wife of the late George Harrison, and her son Dhani Harrison arrive for the gala premiere of "The Beatles LOVE by Cirque du Soleil" at the Mirage hotel and casino in Las Vegas, Nevada June 30, 2006. REUTERS/Steve Marcus

DETROIT (Billboard) - Dhani Harrison could have started releasing records well before he was 30, but the small matter of being a Beatle’s son made him cautious about the musical career path. Now, with the upcoming debut release from his band thenewno2, he has embraced the inevitable.

“I did everything I could to not be a musician,” Harrison told Billboard.com. “I went to university (Brown), I worked as a designer, I competed in Olympic sport (rowing) ... and I ended up being a musician. It’s in the DNA, I guess.”

He and creative partner Oli Hicks’ first album as thenewno2, “You Are Here,” comes out March 31 after several “soft release” incarnations online. Harrison — who recorded with George Harrison’s band Travelling Wilburys and on his last album, “Brainwashed,” as well as collaborating with Jakob Dylan, Rooney and Wu-Tang Clan — said he brought lessons learned from his father to the project.

“I think I learned a lot about not buying into a lot of hype,” Harrison said. “I wanted to be a kind of faceless entity; I didn’t want to be Dhani Harrison and the Muppets or something like that. I don’t ever use my name for anything in terms of getting the music heard. My dad was always, like, ‘Be a musician but don’t be famous (because) you lose all your freedom’. He did a really great job of keeping me out of the press all my life, but I feel like I’m ready to do what I want to do, and this is it.”

Harrison is also looking forward to another release this year — “The Beatles: Rock Band” interactive game, which is due out September 9 and marks the Fab Four’s first offering in the digital music distribution realm. He’s been intimately involved in the project and promises that it will feature “stuff that has never been heard, never been released,” though he’s not at liberty to reveal specifics.

“I took the project to Apple and sort of convinced everybody to have a presentation,” said Harrison, who was used as a model for some of the game’s characters. “My job description is ... being enthusiastic. We’ve been working on it for the past two years. This is the first one that is going to be totally, historically accurate. It’s been a real headache, but it’s been the most enjoyable work I’ve done in my life.”

Editing by Sheri Linden at Reuters

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