Harper brings her emotions to the club
Her Drake cover has over 25 million views on YouTube – now Harper is back with her own music. We caught up with the Wales-born singer-songwriter to talk fashion, passion and what’s next.
If you’ve been out dancing recently, chances are you’ve heard one or two of Harper’s songs. Now her blend of electronic beats and pop melodies sung in her uniquely soulful voice is turning tracks like ‘Blood Sweat Tears’ and ‘Animal’ into sleeper hits in clubs around the world.
Growing up in Caerphilly, Wales, Harper listened to all the chart hits, making up dance routines to the likes of Destiny’s Child with her pals. After leaving school, the natural next step was to move to the city to pursue music as a career.
That journey began in earnest when she moved to London at 18 to study music performance at university. “It was great,” she tells us. “University is the place where you meet people that you wouldn’t normally meet. I met some of my best friends there.” It’s also where she first linked up with her production team, leading to her being signed with ICU, a local indie label.
Now, seven years later, Harper’s learned a thing or two about life in the music industry. “I’m in the studio pretty much every day,” she explains. “I’m really lucky to have that access, but some days can be really head-wrecking, painstaking.” And her fame is spreading much further than merely the clubs of London, too. A cover of Drake’s One Dance with YouTube sensation Conor Maynard went viral in April, clocking up over 25 million views. But it’s her own songs, written with her production team and full of her raw emotion, that are pulling in new fans from around the world.
“I’m quite a confident person in many ways, but when it comes to voicing or expressing my personal feelings, I get a little bit scared,” she reveals. “Especially if it’s something I feel angry about or that I’m keeping inside of me – songwriting is a good release for me.”
You can feel that emotion come through in ‘Blood Sweat Tears’, the video for which was released in April. “I think it has to be a passionate process, because otherwise what are you singing about? Then it’s just words, isn’t it?”
So what’s next for her? “I’d like to work with some big producers. I think Diplo and Major Lazer are incredible. I love dancehall music – I’ve been going to the Caribbean since I was really young, so it feels like a second home for me, and the music is ingrained in me somewhere. I’d love to experiment more with my music, while retaining that pop melody and vocals.” We predict big things for this star in the making and in the meantime, you can watch the film from Harper’s H&M photoshoot here on H&M Magazine. And look out for Harper’s new EP too, released in the coming weeks.
LOCATION: London – Harper was born in Bristol and raised in South Wales. She moved to London aged 18.
WHAT: Singer and songwriter – her most recent single, Blood Sweat Tears, got 200,000 YouTube views in its first two months. The Blood Sweat Tears EP was released on 8 May 2016.
HARPER’S STYLE TIPS
BLACK IS THE NEW BLACK
”Black is my standard go-to. It’s very easy – when you run out of ideas, always go for the black number. Some black stilettos with a little black dress – you can’t go wrong. It’s just cool.”
I always like monochrome looks. I love a white tee, a clean, fresh-off-the-hanger white tee. And then some really cool jeans, whether skinny or baggy. That combo looks good on everyone.
INVEST IN DENIM
It’s worth investing in a good pair of jeans. For me, I’ve got big hips and a small waist, so the best thing is something that cinches in my waist and pulls everything up and lengthens the leg as well. A nice high-waisted pair can give a certain illusion of length. For the baggy jean thing, my tip is to buy a size bigger and then just turn them up at the bottom. A great look.