For this Dreaminisfree Introduces I feel blessed to share with you an interview I did with Harry and The Chicks; an artist who very recently featured on release her latest single 'Snakes in the Streets'.
Not only is it a fantastic song it also has a serious message, highlighting the issue of the harassment of women in the street.
Having been on the receiving end of this unwanted treatment myself, I wanted to give Harry another platform to talk about the important work she does with ‘SafeUp’ as well as get to know the artist a little more.
How would you describe your sound to someone who hasn’t heard your music before? I would describe my sound as optimistic pop music with purpose. I try to keep things light hearted with my song writing, but particularly with the latest release 'Snakes in the Streets', I highlight a major problem I and many other women are faced with daily in our society, street harassment and catcalling. I don't want my music to be miserable, I'd rather it be frank and still danceable. I love lyrics with purpose with a fun production. Who’s been your main influences in music?
I love pop and rock music. My big sister influenced the music I liked growing up a lot. I loved bands like Green Day, Morningwood, Shinedown, Halestorm and Black Stone Cherry; the rock list could go on forever. She's 21 years older than me so I always thought what she and her friends listened to was so cool, and it made me sad I couldn't have been a teenager/ young adult in the 1990s. Through my own listening on YouTube growing up, I loved Avril Lavigne and would watch her music videos, and fan made versions of them that were made using The Sims. Then I found Marina and The Diamonds just before she released FROOT, and that album changed my life. I thought she was inside my head! It was such a relatable album, especially songs like 'I'm a Ruin' and 'Weeds', as I was going through my first proper break up at the time. I've also enjoyed listening to indie artists and my favourite unsigned artist is Megan Landry, an artist from Ottawa, Canada, whose DIY music videos with interesting production and unusual lyrics helped inspire me to become the artist I am today. Artists like Megan and Marina, show you that you can do what you put your mind to and that your demos don't have to be perfect, you can ask for help when you need it. More recently, I've been listening to a lot of Katy Perry, Griff, Rina Sawayama and Danny L Harle. Which artist or person has inspired you most, in your career so far? I think Katy Perry. She is a chameleon in pop. The colourful clothing and visuals matched with her poptimistic sound is addictive. Her music videos are out of this world and something I hope to achieve. Katy Perry is a true artist. She's a musician, songwriter, creative director and businesswoman, a master of her craft. I've been following her since I was a kid when her first album came out. My favourite album by her was probably Prism, but I think the song that blew me away most was Chained to the Rhythm. The music video was resplendent and the message was strong and cleverly written. Your latest single ‘Snakes in The Streets’ deals with street harassment, online bullying and feelings of anxiety. It’s a difficult subject and opening up like that and being vulnerable took real courage. Did it feel cathartic to write this song? Yes, it did feel cathartic, probably the best word for it. I was struggling a lot with sleep paralysis at the time. I was having nightmares about events that happened years ago as a teenager, when I had people I knew following me and checking up on where I was all the time. Sometimes they would make harassing group chats giving out my phone number to complete strangers; it's a quirk I still get anxious about even though it was so long ago. Then in the present day, I was catcalled 14 times on my way to and from the studio when I was writing the song, almost like I manifested it, and the street harassment wouldn't stop. I've had it all my life from all ages of men, even when I was 14 walking around with my mum. I would say it's worse today. It highlighted a major issue women have faced in this society and I want to make a change. The music video is basically a show reel of events that have really happened to me in the last year, re-enacted. It can be an uncomfortable watch to warn viewers.
I also understand you’re working with ‘SafeUp’ to raise awareness of street harassment. Do you have a message for anyone who’s had this type of experience? It's not your fault ever when this happens. 'SafeUp' is an app that can help you feel more comfortable walking home alone. It's a community of women who walk with other women, the guardians can either talk to you on the phone or they can even meet you. There is an option in the app also to phone the police. I want to stress that you can use this app anytime when you are walking alone, you don't have to be being approached or harassed, it's there to make women feel more comfortable on the streets.
I’ve seen a lot of positive press around ‘Snakes in The Streets’ and you were even on BBC Breakfast on International Women's Day. Did the reaction surprise you? I had no idea I was going to be on the TV on BBC News at Breakfast! My dad woke me up screaming 'Harry you're on the telly!' That was truly a big moment, especially standing talking about street harassment in our capital. I also spoke to the Metro and MyLondon about my experiences with street harassment and the single and it being there for everyone to read is, I hope, raising awareness to the general public and helping other people who have experienced similar things feel less alone. Also being featured in Wonderland was a massive moment for my career, on a music related note. I'm very pleased with the reaction it's had so far - especially when people have complimented my music video as I directed and edited it and filmed it with my friends. Are we going to have new music soon from Harry and The Chicks? Yes, I have new music in the works, once this campaign is over it's onto the next. My sound is a bit darker lyrically than before, although you've already seen that with Snakes in the Streets.
And finally are we perhaps going to see you on tour in 2022?
I'll definitely be playing more live shows, let's see where this music takes us!
Thank you for having me!
Harry and The Chicks
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