H2Z: Hi, thanks for taking the time to chat with Hear 2 Zen, what have you been up to today?
HB: No worries at all! Thank you. Today I have been preparing a little surprise for my girlfriend as we are celebrating our 5-year anniversary tomorrow and I’m sure she is expecting something nice! Apart from that I have been arranging a cover of Seabird by the Alessi Brothers. They are a pop-rock duo from the 70s. I am obsessed with this song anyway. You should check it out!
H2Z: Tell us about yourself, how long have you been performing/creating music for?
HB: I have been playing guitar and songwriting since I was a kid. It has always been a peaceful place for me and I feel a real sense of achievement in the process of writing songs. I have been performing for a couple of years now. Well, my first open mic was at the end of 2018 and I recorded demos with a producer at a similar time. It took me a long time to get the courage to perform, I had a lot of songs stashed away for years and years!
H2Z: Who are your greatest inspirations? Why?
HB: The artists who first inspired me to get into songwriting were probably Bob Dylan and Stevie Nicks. Bob Dylan taught me that things don’t have to be overly complicated. He sequences words with music in a way that enables him to sing with conviction and convey a message. Obviously, lots of his songs were written about political crisis relevant in those times and became anthems for civil rights movements. I think that really inspires me. Also, I draw a lot of inspiration from Stevie Nicks. She is an extremely metaphorical writer and often refers to characters in mythical tales in her lyrics.
H2Z: How do you create music? Are you lyrics/story driven, or does the music/melody come first? Explain your process.
HB: Normally I have a whole lot of lyric ideas and random words stashed away. Sometimes there is half a song there or an idea for a chorus. When I first started writing, I would write a whole song and then try and fit it to a melody. Now it’s a bit different though. It’s just trial and error. I have both melodies stashed away, and words and then it comes down to putting the puzzle together with music.
H2Z: What has been your greatest challenge so far in performing/creating music?
HB: The biggest challenge so far has just been the hump that I needed to get over from being a writer to a performer. I was nervous starting out, so it was lucky that I got heaps of encouragement from my friends and family, to get out and show my songs to people. You feel very vulnerable, but it’s also so rewarding.
H2Z: Tell us about your new release, how did it come about?
HB: Mary is a narrative-based song, describing a lady who is living a suppressed existence with a neglectful husband. She then finally finds the courage to leave and discovers a new lease of life. I was going for a sort of “liberation” theme, that it’s never too late to leave your comfort zone and strive for something you deserve. That’s the message that I hope that people resonate with. It came together from observations I made of people on public transport, from New York to Perth. The first verse came like a stream of consciousness, and then I turned to my trusty notebook to put the rest of the puzzle together.
H2Z: What advice do you have to artists who are just starting out?
HB: Well I would say, if you have a few songs and you’ve never performed them, go play them at your local bar. Don’t wait around. The more experience the better, you also meet up with like minded people. The first time will always be your worse, but it goes up from there!
H2Z: Tell us your favourite Zen practice.
HB: I don’t meditate as much as I should do, but I would say my favorite Zen practice is probably practicing mindfulness. Just trying as much as possible to live my life in the now and focus on the present state rather than focus too much on the past or the future.
Find Harper Bloom on Facebook