Every Monday we will be bringing you an unsigned singer or band as part of our Independent Music Monday feature. This week, we caught up with unsigned singer HARRY find out more…
Where are you from and how did you first get into music?
Originally from Bow, London, and raised in Hornchurch, Essex, for as long as I can remember all I've wanted to be is a successful singer. I started taking music seriously at age 9 when I started guitar lessons, and songwriting became my favourite form of communication when I wrote my first proper song age 12.
Who were your musical influences when you were growing up and who are your influences now?
I've always loved Rock and Pop music. I remember being in infant school and seeing an advert for Robbie Williams on TV, and then begging my mum to buy me his album, soon my room was a shrine of everything Robbie Williams. I recall being so obsessed by his music and refusing to listen to anything else whilst I indulged every piece of music of his I could find. I've been like this with many artists since then. As a child, I used to play Singstar on the Playstation 2 and I think this is what taught me to sing in key. I used to love singing Avril Lavigne songs and my first performance in year 3 (aged 7 or 8) was her song 'Sk8er Boi', I even dressed like she did in the music video. Childhood had a big affect on my music taste, I used to play with Bratz dolls and still listen to the Bratz Rock Angelz album and I think it is a masterpiece. When I started learning guitar, I was lucky to have a sister who is 21 years older than me, and she took me to see my favourite band of all time, Green Day. Like Robbie Williams, I became obsessed with Green Day, except this time it stuck with me and was plastered all over the internet during my teen years, incorporating their song 'St Jimmy' into my stage name until I changed it to be just 'HARRY' as that is my real name, after all. At age 12, I found a pop rock band in a tent at my local town show called 'Dead Baby Birds' playing Green Day's 'American Idiot', this was the first time I took a shine to an unsigned band and followed them around to all their gigs. I have been very fortunate to have got to know the musicians from the Dead Baby Birds, who have now split up, and they played for me on the launch gig of my Debut EP 'Anaphase', which is out physically and will be on all streaming platforms within the coming months. From 16 - 20 (now), my musical influences have expanded with current bands like Panic! At The Disco, and solo artists such as Marina and the Diamonds, Tori Amos, Shawn Mendes, Dua Lipa, unsigned artist Megan Landry, Lana Del Rey, and PC Music producer Danny L Harle. Of course, I am very much influenced by bands like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Clash and The Hollies thanks to my parents who grew up in the 60s and 70s. I also take inspiration from classical music by artists such as Ludovico Einaudi, particularly since I have been teaching myself piano.
How would you describe your sound?
I would describe my sound as indie/modern pop rock. My music is often played live on just an acoustic guitar or piano, but it really comes to life when it has a backline of instrumentalists. I am often compared to artists such as Panic! At The Disco, Tori Amos, Marina and the Diamonds and Lana Del Rey.
My Debut EP 'Anaphase' is a mix of indie and modern pop rock - the single, 'Accessory' being the most pop orientated on the EP, Anaphase being the 'heaviest', Glass Mask taking influences from funk/psychedelic bands like Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and Time being the slow rock song.
What is your latest single called and what was the influence behind it?
My latest single is called 'Accessory' and it is a feminist anthem. The song is modern pop/rock, and lyrics come from my perspective, in an unfulfilling relationship in which I felt like an object. Setting the mood for the lyrical entity, the 'vocals straight line the lyrics, right between the eyes, drums roll and snap at the track, and the bass confidently moves the song through its paces' - Tobi - MusicHourUK.
The music video for 'Accessory' is set in a futuristic household based on attitudes residing in the 1950s. It opens in a kitchen coloured blue and pink, blue as her sorrow and pink as an illusion, the homemaker wears a satin blue dress and apron and husband in a pastel blue suit reading a newspaper titled 'The Daily Moan'. She is seen washing a cup and complains to her husband about her place in his life. He ignores her words, engrossed in the newspaper. In the chorus, she is seen taking washing down and the husband is still indulging in his newspaper. Unbeknownst to him, she has found some knickers that she doesn't recognise and becomes suspicious. It flashes back to the kitchen when the wife packing her husband's lunch, in which she finds a picture she doesn't recognise. Now conscious, the homemaker finds out she might not be the only one.
The music video was a family affair. I produced, filmed, directed and edited the video, my mum made the set and clothing, my 14 year old niece choreographed the movements and dances, and my boyfriend played the antagonistic husband.
The single, available on all streaming platforms, comes with a B Side, アクセサリー, Accessory in Japanese! My Japanese tutor, Mathew Bonnon, translated the song for me and it was one of my favourite goodies I put in the mix.
What’s your local music scene like?
I am lucky to have the London music scene and Essex music scene on my doorstep. Each music scene has its own perks.
There are loads of open mics in London where I have met some amazing artists and made some good friends. I even set up my own gig company when I did a one year uni course after completing my A levels last year, called Sugar House Sounds. We put on two very successful nights last summer at The Workshop and Zigfrid Von Underbelly in Old Street.
In Essex, I find the musicians really support each other. There is a competition for unsigned artists and bands called Undiscovered Live Music Project featuring some amazing talent from Essex and outside. My first time entering, I won in February 2018, and am now the Undiscovered Solo Winner 2018. Even if you don't win Undiscovered you still gain some valuable insight to how others hear your music, gain a plethora of contacts, and even before I won the final I had some great radio interviews from local radio stations. Thanks to Undiscovered, the recording of my EP was sponsored by them and they are also filming a music video for another single to be released from the EP.
What do you have planned for the next 12 months? Any albums or festivals?
Now the EP is done, I am working on my debut album. It will feature 12/13 all new tracks, and the single for that is already complete. I'm looking forward to recording music videos for the 3 other tracks on my EP. I play throughout London and Essex every week and also like to play Winchester, Cornwall and as far as the music will take me! Just follow my social media to keep up on where I am. This Monday 9th July I'm playing at The Yard Bar in Soho and more of my public gigs will be available on my social media.
Is there anyone you’d love to collaborate with?
There are so many artists, both unsigned and signed I'd love to work with. I think my dream would be to work with producer Danny L Harle on a track, and to write I'd love to work with Marina and the Diamonds... or of course my adored Green Day.
Any funny stories surrounding your live performances?
Every time I play, it has become ritual to play a song I wrote about a girl who went to my boyfriend's uni and wrote him poetry on Valentine's Day - true story. It's called 'Stop Sending Poetry to my Boyfriend' and I can't wait to get it produced as I think it's one of my best works, and always gets a laugh from the crowd.
What is the one thing that you want readers to know about you?
I am everything I put into my songs and art. My songs are open to interpretation, though most of them are about things I've experienced or stories I've been told. Music lured me in, but at heart I think my best forte is writing.