The former fashion model turned sultry songstress is a rising star in the making. Harlea has already made a dent in the new music world with her first two singles, ‘Miss Me’ and ‘You Don’t Get it’. Her latest tune, ‘Beautiful Mess’ is set be released this week, and it’s clear that this talent isn’t going anywhere. Her accompanying music video, set in the California Desert will feature friends, and poets, Greta Bellamacina and Robert Montgomery – both of whom will be the stars.
We chat with Harlea about her musical inspirations and how Beautiful Mess came to be:
So let’s talk about your new single, Beautiful Mess, could you tell me a little bit about the creative process behind the song and how it came together?
When I was working up in LA, some producers said, “Hey we’ve got this track and we’ve tried it with multiple people and we’re just curious what you think of it.” Nobody could kind of figure it out if that makes sense, and so I sang it and I felt a very pure kind of connection to it although the production on it was kind of nowhere near what I wanted. So I sort of took it on as a little mini project. It took a long time but we got there in the end. It’s a strong song in that it has got a strong beat to it, and has quite powerful lyrics. When I sang it, I felt like I was charged.
You have a new music video coming out in August, which is set in the California desert. Is there a particular reason why you chose California as the setting for your music video?
When I was thinking of what to do for the video, it really just came to me one day, I was sitting down thinking ‘what can we do, what can we do,’ and you know, that process never works, when you just sit down and think. I just had this vision. I collaborated with artist and poet Rob Montgomery – and he’s done these beautiful sculptures, and their work was just popping in my head.
I was in California at the time. I just saw the remote wilderness, and this amazing beautiful artwork really beautiful work, with a sort of distinct meaning and setting them on fire, and graffiti on the wall in this rundown town. To me, it just really highlighted a ‘Beautiful Mess’. You know that is a ‘Beautiful Mess.’ It’s pulling from all of these different Beautiful messes. Visually it’s quite striking.
You’ve featured artists and poets, Greta Bellamacina and Robert Montgomery in your new video. What roles did they have?
They played themselves. They were playing themselves in a relationship. They clearly have this passionate relationship and you can see that with them in their poetry. It really transfers in their art, the passion that they have for each other and life. They’re basically just being themselves, creating beautiful art.
Would you say ‘Beautiful Mess’ is more about relationships?
The song itself, yes is first of all about the relationship aspect. However, I do think that you know, it can really mean something more. Which is why I want the music video to just seem more than one track mind. When you look into it, you can really see that.
Do you feel like relationships, and love in general, are the focus of the inspiration behind your music?
Whenever I am in the creative process of a song, I really feel it you know. And the emotion of the music translates. I feel them with my friends a bit. I feel really geeky, so I guess maybe that’s why I just get drawn from those feelings with my music or a song like a Beautiful Mess. Yeah, I never really even thought about that.
Who are your musical inspirations?
When I was a teenager, the music that was really present in my life were the Arctic Monkeys, Stevie Nicks, and Amy Winehouse.
There definitely is an element of Amy Winehouse in your singing, did you draw a lot of inspiration from her when writing that song?
I wouldn’t necessarily say I drew that inspiration from her, but it’s just the kind of music that I like. I definitely didn’t sit there and think “Oh I’m gonna pull this from Amy Winehouse.” It’s sort of ingrained into who I am.
You also worked as a model, has fashion influenced your music style or image in any way?
Kind of. I think music and fashion kind of go hand-in-hand and I’ve had a huge passion for fashion! So you know, I’ve always been into fashion designs and music. So I guess in a way it’s influenced me. You’re kind of around a lot of these people and you get used to music from all around the globe when you’re working with different teams modelling because you get people from all over the world and you’re listening to music in the studio that you’ve never heard of. Yeah, I guess you could say in that sense I was exposed to music that really kind of tickled my taste buds and maybe that’s just who I am as an artist.
So what made you want to make the career shift into becoming a musical artist? What made you decide to move on from fashion and go into music instead?
When I was actually modelling music kind of found me in a weird way. Through my agency a guy approached me and asked me if I was interested in doing an audition for a musical project and at the time I was 16 and I was like “Well I mean it sounds kind of fun” and what a way to kind of kill time in between jobs so I said “sure” I never wanted anything to come of it other than to just be pure enjoyment of singing and music and the experience. From there it really just kicked off.
If you could collaborate with any other musician today who would they be and why?
There are so many great musicians out there, I tell you who’s really caught my eye is, Tom Walker. I don’t know why but I tend to gravitate to his music, especially when I hear a track from him. I always say, ‘Who is this’ and it always happens to be him. One of my favourite tracks from him is playing dead, he’s just got a real grotty dirty voice, with a lot of passion and power behind it. I like it.
You’ve got quite a similar voice in that it is quite – there is a bit of a sultry grotty-ness to it too. I can definitely see that as a really good combo between the two of you
Yeah, maybe that’s why I sort lean towards him. We compliment each other.
Pre-order Beautiful Mess here