HARLOE is a singer/songwriter hailing from Queens, NY (based in LA now). She has written music for Kelly Clarkson, JoJo, Charlie XCX, Britney Spears, among many others. She recently signed to Roc Nation and released her own EP, Rivers Run Dry. HARLOE took some time to answer questions from WRSU Music Director Bennett Rosner last week. The two touched on Quarantine, music in the age of Tik Tok, and Big Time Rush.
Some of the questions have been edited for brevity and clarity.
With so many artists in self-isolation right now, the music that is going to come out of Quarantine is almost a silver lining to an otherwise despondent time. How has your time at home interwoven with your writing/composing?
Its been really great actually overall! In the beginning, it was hard to get a home studio really up and running, especially for collaboration online. Now with Zoom, its been really helpful.
As an artist who writes for bonafide superstars such as Kelly Clarkson and Britney Spears, what is more valuable for creating new sounds for established artists? Collaboration or perceptual isolation (aka, being alone from the influence of other musicians)?
I think it just depends on the artist, but for me, collaboration has been really great because merging your perspective with another perspective will actually create something completely new. So, that’s been key for me.
Do you believe that natural space is a key element of musical elevation? Kanye West and John Mayer both found inspiration during creative low points in the Midwest, for example. Where do you find your creative juices best flow?
I find that my creative juices flow everywhere differently, but I love working in. It gives me a chance to isolate from my normal routine and takes me away from my daily life, which creatively opens up a [new] world.
So, Drake just released his new song “Toosie Slide,” which is already huge on tik-tok and wherever else dance videos can be made. As someone who’s been well acquainted with these types of collaborations, such as yours with musical.ly in 2017, where do you see this trend going both in terms of your career as a songwriter and as a producer for other artists?
This is huge now, as we all know. Social media is everything, and the dancing has taken it to a whole other level. So, I think that now when you can really get fans hooked on your song because they can interact with your song, its gonna get even bigger and better.
Is the instant shareability of the modern pop song a boon to artists or a bust? Can a song lose its core identity, and furthermore, its longevity, because of what it’s associated with?
That’s a really great question! I think that it depends on the song. If a song is really amazing, it stands the test of time and it gets a boost because of the shareability.
This brings me back to your public career as HARLOE. The songs on Rivers Run Dry are indebted to a lot of 90s R&B, but brim with the dense fills and ad-libs of modern precision pop. What new conventions do you hope to trailblaze with your EP?
I just hope to continue to share a new perspective on a sound that we may have heard before. I hope to trailblaze the idea that you can bring something retro and twisted into a totally new way, and its not boring or dull.
Since the EP is the world’s introduction to you as a musician, what elements did you aim to highlight the most about your artistry?
I would love to highlight that I have a special perspective with a lot of musicality! That’s really what I’m looking for. Also, really fun hooks that people can remember, sing along, and relate to.
Now that you have a gold record to your name, a grammy nomination, and major label support, what are you manifesting for 2020?
I’m manifesting love. Like, love for everything that I’m a part of and [for] this world. We just need this healing right now. That’s what I’m craving. [Also], once we’re all healed to be able to put out more music
Totally unrelated, but you were writing a song with Kendall Schmidt from BTR way back when. Did anything ever come of it, and if so, what is the name of the song, and why is this not listed as your foremost co-writing credit?
Haha, I have to look into all of that, and I will totally get back to you…
Don’t worry HARLOE, we’ve got you covered:
HARLOE’s new EP is available to stream on Apple Music, Spotify, TIDAL, Soundcloud, and Amazon Music.
Interview conducted by Bennett Rosner.