Hi Harper, so firstly give me some background into the project. When did it all begin?
The project began a couple of years ago when I met the production team Eagleye through a mutual friend at University. I put down some guide vocals on some tracks they were pitching to well-known artists at the time, and luckily someone at Sony Publishing convinced the guys I was worth keeping an eye on. A year or so later I had graduated Uni and was living in that bleak grey area, where you want to pursue music but also have to pay the bills; most musicians will know exactly what I mean! I was working my butt off in a high street shoe shop and selling most of my clothes on eBay to stay afloat, when I got a call from the Eagleye lads. They asked me what I’m doing with my life, I said, “absolutely nothing, help!” and from there they introduced me to ICU Label, a new indie label looking for their first artist. I signed to the label a few months later and my life changed dramatically for the better.
At what age did you start to realise that you were musically inclined, I know you mentioned you have an affinity with Bjork and Radiohead so were you quite aware of music growing up in the 90s?
I’ve always been driven by music, ever since I was that chubby four year old dancing to Michael Flatley’s ‘Lord of the Dance’ in front of the TV (there is a video recording somewhere… eek!). I was brought up listening to very contrasting genres; my Dad blazed his trance and techno in the car, whilst my Mum loved Skunk Anansie and The Cranberries. I realised I could hold a tune when I was about 8 years old. I took strongly to Celine Dion and could belt/wail every song from ‘Falling into you’ like no one’s business. When my Dad learned of this he took me to every karaoke venue he could find to show me off. It wasn’t until later when I studied Commercial Music at University that I fell in love with Electronica and alternative artists like Bjork. Being thrown into a class of thirty something students, each with a different musical style was the best thing that could have happened to me, as the diversity has shaped me into the writer and artist I am today.
Although your sound could be described as quite a crisp R & B you can definitely hear the experimentation. Do you find yourself drawn to the more experimental artists?
Well, it took a while to get to the sound I have now. I spent a long time trying and testing different subgenres within Pop music. This meant listening to a lot of different artists. Since absorbing so much variety at Uni, I knew the only way to find my true sound would be to explore my love for experimental music, whilst remaining a Pop artist. Sia is someone I respect highly for this. She has managed to create an identity within a world where pop music can be so over manufactured that it becomes bland like a boring magnolia wall with no originality. I guess I’m drawn to artists who produce something real, and by ‘real’ I mean true to their identity, whatever that may be.
You’ve recently released ‘Blood, Sweat & Tears’, tell us a little bit about the track and how you found the launch showcase at The Hospital Club, that’s quite a revered venue.
‘BST’ was written in about an hour at home in bed. A few days before a certain someone told me I wasn’t enough, and should he be presented with an “opportunity” elsewhere, he would take it. I usually don’t allow myself to get hurt like that (but I did), so I started writing a song, the words practically pouring on to the paper. I suppose it was my way of telling myself off for being so naïve. Performing it at The Hospital Club was quite intense for me, I felt completely overwhelmed. It was the first time I’d ever played it to a room full of people, but it was received so well I knew it was a powerful track. The venue was incredible also. I’ve played in many places across London, but the crowd there was one of the best and most supportive.
The video is absolutely stunning, so beautifully shot and very captivating to watch. Who did you work with on that? And do you as an artist spend time considering the art and imagery affiliated with your music?
The video for ‘Blood, Sweat, Tears’ was directed by Damien Reeves, with whom the ICU team and myself worked closely when perfecting the treatment. The lyric “Like water from the Sahara, I’m never pouring my heart out again” sparked the idea to film in sand, which lead us to film at the beach location of Camber Sands. When I write lyrics I use imagery quite a lot to tell the story, so brainstorming video concepts is a lot of fun for me, it’s like 2D becoming 3D.
You have a debut album planned for later this year, what can we expect from that release?
The debut album is full of emotion, power, rawness, energy and most importantly, purpose. I wanted to create a body of work that will resonate within most people like myself; people who have been rolling round at rock bottom and clawed their way back to the surface, people who are not afraid to stand up for what they believe in, and of course, people who quite simply live and breathe music. What I would love more than anything is to have an effect on people, boy, girl, young, old, it doesn’t matter, as long as people are playing my tunes and feeling something.
And finally, with festival season just around the corner do you have plans to play or attend any this summer?
I have always said to myself that I would never go to Glastonbury (even though it’s something I’ve always wanted to do) until I am playing there. It’s a dream dreamed of by many, but I’m keeping my fingers and toes crossed… one day! As for any upcoming gigs, I will be playing at the Great Escape Festival in Brighton, and have a few others in the pipeline awaiting confirmation. I love the festival scene, though I’m not a hardcore party goer, I am looking to head out to the Isle of Wight festival, as well as popping along to the local shindigs, SW4 and Lovebox.