This David Bowie-loving harpist has a wild link to Dave Chappelle


Erin Hill was 8 when she first saw a harp. It was love at first sight — just as it was several years earlier, when the Kentucky kindergartner caught David Bowie performing on TV.

“I was riveted,” she tells The Post. “I can’t remember what he was playing, but he had a guitar and looked like an alien!”

She wrote a college paper on his “Life on Mars,” and has since made a name for herself as pop’s go-to harpist, slipping in a Bowie song wherever she can, whether it’s at the Royal Albert Hall or Meghan Markle’s baby shower.

Hill will merge both passions on Oct. 30 at the Cutting Room, where she and her band will perform “Harp Oddity” — an entire evening devoted to the works of the Thin White Duke.

“I think the first Bowie song I ever learned and arranged was ‘Space Oddity,’ ” says Hill, who often sings when she plays. With its seven pedals and 47 strings — each of which can play three different notes — the harp is more than up to it, she says: “It’s an orchestra unto itself.”

One of her favorite Bowie songs, “DJ,” from 1979’s “Lodger” album, is also the most difficult to play. “It’s so complicated, and my feet are going crazy on the pedals, like I’m tap-dancing the whole song. It’s like you’re walking a tightrope.”

Not all her challenges are Bowie-related. She and her harp once hit the street outside Washington Square Park to shoot the Season 3 promo for “Game of Thrones.” Aptly enough, the shoot was in the winter, and while Hill wore a Jon Snow-like fur, her fingers were cold, her teeth chattered, “and we had to do it over and over!”

Erin Hill
Erin Hill

She’s had happier times performing with Cyndi Lauper, Moby, Josh Groban and Jewel. As for her three years touring with Kanye West, she says, “Offstage, I’d often be standing inches away from him, but he never said one word to me.”

Dave Chappelle, on the other hand, had plenty of words for her. And in a bit called “Pretty White Girl Sings Dave’s Thoughts” for “Chappelle’s Show,” he put them directly into her mouth. Among other things, Hill found herself singing about Comedy Central’s revenue — “revenue they don’t share with my black ass!”

After that show aired, Hill says, she got a call from her grandmother. “She said, ‘You did a very good job, and I know you only said those words because they made you do it.’ Right, Grandma!”

Erin Hill performs “Harp Oddity” Oct. 30 at 7:30 p.m. at the Cutting Room, 44 E. 32nd. St. Tickets $15



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Rachel Meadows

Rachel Meadows

Trending topics news writer who enjoys cooking, walking her dog and travel.

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