Upcoming folkster Harper Bloom (otherwise known as Hayley De Pledge) has announced her debut single Mary, a gorgeous, empowering romp about taking control back over your life. Harper Bloom has also announced a moving clip to accompany the release, directed by David Hansen (notable for his short film Anija).
For fans of Alex The Astronaut, Courtney Barnett and Paul Kelly, Harper Bloom’s Mary is a wonderful example of brilliant Australian songwriting from beginning to end. Deeply personal, affecting and sweet, Mary shines with acoustic guitars, driving percussion and Harper Bloom’s wonderfully unique, gentle vocals. Working alongside Benjamin McCarthy (G Flip, Thelma Plum, Megan Washington) to bring Mary to life, Harper Bloom is sure to impress with this brilliant single as she explains more.
How has the build-up been leading up to the release of Mary?
The build up was a lot of fun. I was playing the song at shows around Melbourne as a solo or duo and I was also rehearsing a lot with my new band to get ready for the launch show. Then we played one support show in March as a full band and then Covid-19 kicked in which was very sad! A lot of work and preparation went into the music video too, and I had been teasing out little sections- so I think a lot of people were keen to see the full video. I also had the song in my back-pocket for a little while and had been playing it live for a long time. So, it was exciting to finally put it out in the world so people could stream it. I have been really humbled by all the support and love for the song so far.
Was the process of making your single as much of a challenge as you thought?
It wasn’t a huge challenge lyrically as I had a pretty clear direction of where the song was going. Most of the words for the song were already written in my notebook over time. I just had to mold the right phrases together. If I felt like there was a phrase missing, I’d just catch a random train somewhere and write down things that I saw or heard. Usually that would bring in another element to the song or inspire a line that fit. I was lucky to work with an amazing producer called Benjamin McCarthy. His addition of the keys and the driving drum beat made the song super uplifting.
Sonically, how would describe your music?
I would say it is indie-folk with sprinkles of electro-pop and lyrics that time has been spent on. My voice is quite husky and very Australian too, which I think aids my music in having a strong story-teller type vibe to it!
Who would you consider to be the biggest influence on your music and why?
Lyrically, I would say Bob Dylan and his ability to take observations from the world around him to convey thought provoking messages about society in his songs. Musically though I would say the Beatles and their ability to push out catchy hooks and finger style melodies that resonate with people. I admire that they can create extremely uplifting music with meaning and their music got me into finger picking.
Best piece of advice you have been given?
I have read a few great quotes that have really inspired me, as well as advice from my parents. I guess something that has really stuck with me is a quote by Anne Larnella Hood. She said “My advice to you is to give it the rocking chair test. Imagine you are 90 years old sitting on a porch and rocking in your chair as you reflect back on your life. Will you regret doing this or not doing it? Pick the decision you can live with.
What is the Harper Bloom life story?
Well this could take a while haha! I will do a little short summary. I have gone down a few different avenues, but I have always written songs on the side. I played guitar and tennis throughout school. Then after school I worked as a beach lifeguard in WA. I also lived on an island off the WA coast working on a beach there. So, I was definitely a bit of a beach bum for a while. A few of us who lived on the island were musical, so there use to be a lot of fun nights jamming and busking. It’s also where I met my long-term girlfriend, who loved me despite my gender and confirmed my theory that people fall in love with people! I did a fair bit of travelling and then studied a degree in Nutrition which took a few years. Then I started doing open-mic nights in New York and Perth and now I am in Melbourne!
Are you looking to tour more broadly?
Definitely. If I have the opportunity in the future, I would love to make the transition to a full-time musician and start touring world-wide with artists that I really admire. It is something that I am working towards. I think it would be a really rewarding and enriching experience to perform live and connect face to face with different communities around the world.
What’s next for Harper Bloom?
I am going to release my second single called Walk My Way in a few weeks’ time, in early June. I am currently in the works with David Hansen on a music video for the second single so that is exciting- he directed the Mary music video and is super talented. Then my whole EP will come out later in the year, probably around August!
What are you looking forward to most once all this covid madness is over?
I was supposed to do my single launch show early May, but obviously that has been postponed because of Covid-19. So, I am looking forward to doing my single launch, but it may end up being an EP launch, depending on when restrictions are dropped. I would also love to go on an east coast tour with my band promoting the EP. It would be great to do a show over in Perth too, so my friends and family can see me play live again. Apart from that, I am just going to keep writing away and hopefully fill up a book of songs that I am proud of 😊.
Interview By Rob Lyon