Harpa is a United Kingdom, Nottingham based singer and songwriter who is well versed in the arts of rock and contemporary pop sounds. Harpa has recently released an original single titled “Hollow”. Which talks about the cost of loving someone with your entire being and knowing the consequences and not being able to stop yourself. We had a few questions and answers with her where she talks about her creative process, inspirations and about the release. Below are exclusive details on Harpa and her new release.
What’s your official stage name and how did you choose it?
Harpa. My last name is Harp, and at the time I was studying mediaeval Iceland at university. Harp in Icelandic is “Harpa”, which I really liked the sound of.
When did you decide to pursue music as a career?
Pretty much when I arrived in Nottingham for university in 2017. I thought. “Well, I’m in a big city now, I may as well make the most of it.”
How would you describe the music you typically create?
Heartbreak ballads with an edge. Heavy rock has always been my favourite genre, so I like to incorporate a rock element to my otherwise very sorrowful songs. Typically, there’s quite a strong narrative too, so they’re more like poems.
Who (living or dead) inspires you as an artist and why?
Tricky question. I have so many musical influences. In terms of my vocals, I would say Amy Lee from Evanescence inspires me. I fell in love with her voice from a very young age; her voice is so beautifully melancholy and rich, and so expertly controlled. I definitely aspire to obtain that level of vocal control! Other than that, people like Tamino and Jeff Buckley inspire me in terms of their interesting lyrical narratives- the way they tell a story through song. It motivates me to make my songs more complex and intriguing.
What’s your creative process like?
I’m often reflecting on a situation when a line or a word pop into my head. I write it down, and let what I’m feeling flow out of me. If it doesn’t come freely, I save it for later. As I’m writing, I usually play around with a melody; I don’t play any melodic instruments, so I usually just start singing and find what sounds good. I will probably cry a little, sit with the words that I’ve written, and reflect on my feelings about the situation. When I have a full song, I present it to my manager/pianist/producer who refines the melody and creates any riffs or intros. Sometimes we change the melody completely, but typically, I’m right in the first place. I’m not super involved in the production part (yet!), so I can’t comment on that. I’m presented with drafts which I give feedback on: change this, I don’t like this instrument, this sounds cheesy, etc etc. But my producer and I have been working together for a long time now, so he knows what I like!
What is it about music that makes you feel passionate?
Music is very much therapy for me, be it writing or listening. I think music is a language, and when it speaks to me, it tells me what to feel, when to cry, when to feel elated… I suppose that’s why I loved heavy metal so much when I was younger. I was filled with so much anger as a child, and those booming drums, sharp guitar sequences and raw, screaming vocals allowed me to express that anger- allowed me to feel it in its entirety, and to finally face it. In the same way, my own music allows me to face my sadness. Music simultaneously allows escape, and offers no place to hide. I could drown in it for hours.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given in relation to music?
When I first came to the studio, my (now) manager told me something like: “When you’re out there, be humble, don’t be a diva, and respect others. When you’re in here [the studio], I want you to be the biggest big-headed bitch you can be. Own it, and believe you can do anything. Because that’s the only way you’re going to get behind that mic and sing at 100%”
Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of music?
Yes! I’ve been strength-training for about two years now, so that takes up a lot of my time. I love to paint when I can, too. And learning new languages.
What has been the high point of your career so far?
Playing the Bodega in Nottingham! I went to my first gig in Nottingham there, and have been to so many since, so playing there myself was an absolute dream come true!
What musician would you like to collaborate with?
It has to be Amy Lee. I think I would die.
Do you think you could get any better as a musician? And if so, how would you achieve that?
Definitely. Though my voice is stronger and more controlled than ever, there’s always room for improvement. I’d love to be able to do vocal runs, whistle notes, and my breathing technique could use a rejig. In terms of my music, I’m really just getting started, and still finding my sound! But I’m improving every time I write a new song, so I’m excited to see how I develop.
What is the new release about?
Hollow is about the cost of loving your entire being… the anguish of feeling yourself falling again, knowing the price you will have to pay, and being helpless; unable to stop yourself. It’s about a vicious cycle of pouring yourself into someone, leaving yourself empty, and somehow finding the will to do it all over again. Hollow asks “if this is the cost of love, or at least loving in the only way I know how, then do I want to feel at all?” It longs for the tranquility of being unable to love.
Who and how many people worked on it?
Just myself and Mike (Co writer/Producer/Manager)
What are you working on next? Any future plans or projects in the pipeline that we should look out for?
A few things: we’re finishing up the EP, working on a video for Hollow, and trying to squeeze in as many gigs as possible.
If you had one message to give to your fans, what would it be?
From the bottom of my heart (body and soul), thank you for supporting me. Keep being you, keep being wonderful, and I’ll see you all very soon!