Newly signed Curb Records recording artist and Jonas Group Entertainment-managed, Harper Grace, is a Texas native with dreams the size of her home state. The rising Country star’s initial experience in the spotlight came at just 11 years old when her first public performance of The National Anthem didn’t go as planned, but now after her journey took her to the American Idol stage, she now calls Nashville home and been making waves on her aptly titled “Redemption Tour”.
Following the release of “Sparkle”, the autobiographical “Oh Say Can You See” which is a letter to her 11-year-old self and latest track “Down In My Hometown”, Harper made her first visit across the pond to perform at Song Suffragettes in London at the stunning Bush Hall, where she took some time to hang out with us before the show and give us an insight to the next chapter of her redemption story.
Welcome to London. “Thank you, I’m so glad to be over here as I’ve never been here before.”
Have you been out of the States before? “I have. I have been to Uganda in Africa and I have been to Belgium because that was literally where our layover was.”
Ok, Uganda isn’t typically the sort of answer you hear from people and was not what I was expecting. What were you in Africa? “My family and I used to be full-time missionaries, now we do part-time missionary work in Uganda. I have been able to go four times and the last time was just a couple of months or maybe a month or was it just a few weeks? It has been few weeks where I have been on so many flights.”
I had seen on Insta that the last couple of days before you came here you were out in the wilderness in Utah, it looked really pretty where you were. “Yes, it’s super pretty. Within the last couple of weeks, I have been to Uganda, then to Memphis, back to Nashville, Utah, back to Nashville for three hours and then I hopped on a plane here to London.” Was that like a writing retreat you were on in Utah? “It was, there were ten of us all together for two nights. We wrote fifteen songs, we stayed up all night long and it was a lot of fun. My creative brain was on cloud nine and it w was thriving so it was great but not as much as I’m thriving out here in London though because I’m already telling people that I want to move here. It’s beautiful here.”
Well as you are here, you are going to sing us some songs tonight aren’t you? “Yes, I am. I’m going to sing three songs and one of them is actually going to be something from that Utah retreat so it’s brand spanking new. I have never done it live before obviously and I’ve also never played it because I just learnt it tonight so we’re going to hope for the best on that one.”
Have you heard from other people that over here is a good place to be trying out new stuff? You know, where the audience is slightly different here and deemed to be more attentive to what they are like at home and to be honest a lot of people coming, probably won’t know a great deal about you anyway. “I’m excited to see how the audience reacts, I am so grateful and think it’s so cool that there is a country audience here. Getting to see how it reacts with everybody and hear if any people have anything to say afterwards as I’m just kind of testing it as it’s a brand new song so, it will be fun to see what happens.” Whilst we have been talking about a brand new song, you have also put three songs out this year. I noticed that you wrote all of them with Alex Kline who people over here may have come across her songs before from where she has worked with Tenille Arts and Tigirlily Gold but how did you first start working with her? “My publishing company actually set that up and right off the bat, Alex and I got pretty close. My songwriting sessions are like therapy sessions because I don’t go to therapy, I just talk to the Lord and write music. It’s funny because most people in Nashville know absolutely everything that is going on in my life and with Alex especially “Oh Say Can You See” was a song that we wrote that talks about a very deep part of my story. Having an established relationship with her and getting the chance to pour out every part of me to her as well as Scott Stepakoff who was a writer on all of those songs too, it’s finding that inner circle within Nashville. They were actually part of the camp in Utah with me and a bunch of my other friends too.”
You mentioned “Oh Say Can You See” and as I’m a big Cowboys fan, I have seen my share of when things don’t go to plan on a sports field in Dallas. That is a very personal story and something you have decided you want to talk about so when you knew this was something you wanted to write did you that you had to be really comfortable with the people you were writing it with and what was it about those guys you felt were to right people to be able to open up about it with? “I think at that point I had known Alex and Scott for a handful of months where we had written probably six or seven songs together. Like I said, I had opened up a lot about what had been going on in my life and had already written songs that were very personal but as I was driving to Alex’s house that day it just hit right. I had tried writing “Oh say Can You See” many times but it had never hit right and that day before I got there, when I was driving in the car that this was the day where it was going to come and we were going to write it. I remember getting there and sharing the story which they obviously knew because they knew me, then Alex started playing this piano part and I just started humming that chorus and we wrote that song in less than an hour. It was the fastest song that I had ever written before Utah trips, in Utah we write a song in thirty minutes but until then that was the fastest song I had ever written.”
When people go through an event that has such an impact in a way that isn’t positive, many people would try and hide from it or repress it. However, you are trying to own it and accepting it is a part of your story which later took you to Idol, onto a record deal in Nashville and now your sat talking to me in London where things have come around and things are working out in the end. “Oh my gosh, I mean writing that was definitely a stepping stone of closing a chapter in a sense, especially having it written to my younger self and kind of leaving it like that. As well as it closed a chapter of kind of trauma in my life, it also reopened a stepping stone to grow in confidence and boldness when I step into this Redemption tour where I went back out and sang the national anthem all over again. I think it made me brace for what was about to come with having a song like that, being able to release it and being able to tell the story because I always wanted to share that part and I had in conversation with people when they ask where did you come from or how long have you sang? I wanted so badly to have a song that captured that as well as the overcoming aspect of it for the encouraging portion of the listener. I’m glad that it came out the way that it did and the Lord allowed that song to write itself and the opportunities like you said that happened afterwards. Going to Nashville, being on Idol, signing the record deal and this last year has just been incredible which I get to end with this amazing trip to London, I really couldn’t make it any better.”
You’ve obviously written all of these songs in the last couple of days, so are we building towards some sort of extended release and is there a rough timeframe that you can share? “yes, I have a brand new single that will be coming in April and it’s called “Break it like a Man” so I think for now we are going to keep rolling singles and just see how they do, then work towards an album. I’ve written something like four hundred and eighty songs in the last two years so we’re ready to just keep them rolling but I’m excited about this new one. It has some edge and some horns into it so just kind of changing up the production and making a new little statement so it will be fun.”
Then lastly, coming back tonight and playing with Song Suffragettes, how cool is it to be a part of this over here where you and Brooke (Eden) get to fly the US flag alongside some girls from over here? “Oh my gosh, it’s so exciting to just be able to bring a piece of where we come from and bring it out here is such a blessing. Being able to be out here and meet everybody is exciting and I love it. My favourite thing to do is to talk and share stories, Song Suffragettes in Nashville is at The Listening Room and I think that is one of my favourite places to play because people come to listen, they want to know the behind the scenes of how you write a song and what is going on.” This has been so much fun. I really hope that you have the best time over here, it doesn’t rain here all the time so fingers crossed you get to have fun being a tourist. Have you managed to see anything yet and is there anything you really want to try and check out? “We went to the palace which was gorgeous and I loved the men in their fuzzy hats. We also walked by The Ritz, we didn’t get afternoon tea there because you had to book it but we did get afternoon tea somewhere else, then we walked around Piccadilly Circus and I went into a store. It was a brand store and bought some earrings but we’re going to Camden tomorrow to check out the markets too so I’m very excited about that because I LOVE SHOPPING!
The latest track “Down In My Hometown” from Harper Grace is out now through Curb Records and is available HERE plus you can keep up to date with Harper by checking out her WEBSITE or following along with her socially on INSTAGRAMTIKTOK & FACEBOOK. You can find more information on upcoming Song Suffragettes shows in Nashville HERE or you can stream the shows live on YOUTUBE (along with checking out a huge amount of past content) and you can find plenty more exciting content and news of their upcoming line-ups on INSTAGRAMFACEBOOK & TWITTER.
True country music is honesty, sincerity, and real life to the hilt. Garth Brooks