Harriet, an English singer and songwriter, chats with Kevin Cooper about her musical inspirations, what is on her live rider, the release of her latest album The Outcome and her forthcoming 2023 tour of the UK.

Harriet is an English singer and songwriter, known for her eclectic and vast vocal range.

Moving to London and risking everything to make a career in music, in 2016 she released her eponymous debut album, Harriet, which was an album all about female empowerment. That theme is continued into her second album, The Outcome, which was released this year to critical acclaim.

Whilst busy promoting her latest album and her forthcoming tour of the UK, she took some time out to have a chat with Kevin Cooper and this is what she had to say.

Hi Harriet, how are you?

I’m very well thanks Kevin, how are you?

All is good thanks for asking and before we move on let me thank you for taking the time to speak to me today.

It’s my pleasure.

I have to ask, just how is life treating you?

Life at the moment is great, thanks for asking. I’m counting my blessings at the moment. It feels so good to have a new album out and to be going on tour!

Before we talk about your latest album The Outcome if I may I would like to take you back to 2016 and the release of your debut album Harriet. It received rave reviews. Were you happy with the album?

Yes, very much so. It got me an audience, and for that I’ll be forever grateful (laughter). It’s really special when as an artist; music you’ve made that you love connects with people. It makes it all worth it. I’ve been performing songs from my debut album live ever since; Afterglow being one of the big favourites amongst my fans. That one is always a bit special when we play it live.

Please don’t shoot me but why a seven-year gap until the release of The Outcome?

Well, we lost about two and a half years due to the pandemic, which caused many other new artists, including myself, to lose momentum. It’s a tough game we’re in. And my first album took about four years to pull together. There are so many moving parts aside from the album itself that have to be considered. But now felt like the right time. I’m so happy to finally be here, with The Outcome out in the world.

I have to say that I’ve been playing The Outcome to death for a couple of weeks now and I love it. Are you happy with it?

I’m thrilled to hear this Kevin, thank you so much (laughter). Yes, I am delighted with how it turned out and very proud of every moment on the record. It very much feels like all the parts of me, stitched together. It’s quite a colourful album, I’d say. It’s a mixture of different feelings and moods.

Where did the title come from?

The moment I wrote The Outcome the title track, in Stockholm with Pär Westerlund, Jocke Olovsson and Jörgen Kjellgren, I knew it had to be the title (laughter). The message of not being so concerned about the consequences in life felt like a great mindset to get myself into to make the rest of the album. We picked this very early on in the process.

I have to say that, in my opinion, Real has a definite Fleetwood Mac (Dreams) feel to it. Was that your intention?

It wasn’t actually, but now you mention it, you can hear so many of those 70s influences in this song; probably more than some of the other tracks on the album. I love the mood of Real; it’s so romantic and trippy. I’m so looking forward to playing it live with my band.

I love Burn and feel that the vocals really do work together. Did you originally consider it to be a song as a duet or was it something that developed in the studio?

I knew I wanted to have a duet on the album, and as Burn is such a comforter of a song, it felt fitting to have another singer join me on it. I was over the moon when Indian artist, Nikhil, D’Souza, agreed to feature on it. I am a huge fan of his music and voice. When he starts singing in the second verse, it’s like he is putting his arm around me, telling me it’s all going to be alright. I love how it turned out (laughter).

I currently have four go to tracks; they are Burn, Real, Not In Love and Heartbreak Holiday. Do you have a favourite track on the album?

It changes constantly actually. But at the moment, it’s I Think Of You. I go to another place when I sing this one and it means more to me now than when I wrote it. It’s funny how songs can do that, take on new meanings over time (laughter).

From writing to recording how long did the album take you?

Combined, I’d say it took a couple of years, but the process was spread out over several. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow. I can get frustrated and impatient, but what will be will be, and it’s all been so worth the wait for me. I hope others feel the same about that.

They say that you should never believe your own publicity but just how does it make you feel when you are constantly being compared to the late Karen Carpenter?

(Laughter) It’s a huge compliment. Karen was very special and touched a lot of people with her voice and music. If I am able to do this at the fraction of the level she did and continues to, then that is a privilege. I have found many fans as a result of this connection, so I have no bad feelings about it at all. I loved The Carpenters growing up, along with a lot of other artists from the 70s.

Whilst I was listening to the album I wrote ‘this is most definitely a feel-good factor / summer album’. Would you agree with that?

Yes. I hope people feel good when they listen to The Outcome and that it helps them get in touch with different parts of themselves. I learnt a lot about myself making this album, so I hope that listeners might learn something new about themselves too with it and ultimately feel less alone in whatever they are going through.

Who has inspired you along the way?

Making the whole record in Stockholm has meant I’ve been very inspired by Swedish artists including, of course, ABBA (laughter). I also discovered a wonderful artist called Laleh, who wrote Some Die Young on my album. We initially recorded it as a separate thing, but I loved the track so much that we decided to put it on The Outcome. Generally, I am hugely inspired by artists such as Carole King, The Eagles, The Mamas and The Papas, Christopher Cross etc. So basically anything that came out in the 70s (laughter). It was such a great era for music. And more recently, Kacey Musgraves is a big influence of mine. I love how she combines contemporary pop-country with some of those more classic, retro sounds.

Are there any thoughts on your next album as yet?

Yes, there are. I have written a few songs for it already in fact. There won’t be so long a gap between The Outcome and my next record (laughter). We are halfway there, I’ve been doing sessions predominantly in Sweden as I love it there so much, but we shall see.

Are you always writing?

I’m always jotting down ideas and recording little melodies, so yes. I like to get a bank of ideas together before going into the studio and collaborating. I have a few different things I’d like to try for the next record.

Where would you like to see yourself in five years?

It would be great to have another record out and be touring more, perhaps outside of the UK too. To be able to keep making music I love and connecting with people through it is all I want to do really. I would like to perform in some bigger venues down the line. I love old theatres and opera houses; a tour of those would be fab.

You are about to tour the UK. Are you looking forward to that? I am hoping to come along to the Birmingham Symphony Hall in order to review the show and take a few photographs. It is such a wonderful venue.

I can’t wait to take The Outcome on tour. I don’t think songs really come to life until you play them live. I can’t wait to hear what everyone’s favourite is (laughter). It’s been a while since I did a full-band tour, so it’s all a mixture of daunting and exciting.

Testing your memory, what was the first record that you bought?

It was probably a Britney Spears or Ricky Martin album, on CD, from Woolworths (laughter). Oh the memories, what a time (laughter). But it could also have been an Ella Fitzgerald vinyl I picked up from a charity shop. I wanted to be both her and Britney growing up (laughter). Quite an eclectic mix of music was spinning around in my house when I was growing up.

Who did you first see performing live?

That would have been Sir Paul McCartney, performing his Back In The World Tour at the NEC in Birmingham. I was about 13 at the time, I think. And my mum still has the T shirt (laughter). It really was awesome.

What was the last song or piece of music to make you cry?

Funnily enough I am not a huge crier when it comes to music. But I cry at everything else. However, the song that has most affected me recently would be At 28 by Hannah Grace. She is absolutely wonderful. I hope that she becomes a big star.

Being nosey, what is currently on your live rider?

Ginger tea and honey which all of the singers out there will fully understand. Some salted nuts but no peanuts and some good quality black coffee, bitter dark chocolate and a glass of dry white wine for after the show. It’s not very rock ‘n’ roll unfortunately (laughter).

On that note Harriet, let me once again thank you for taking the time to speak to me today, it’s been a pleasure. You take care and good luck with the forthcoming tour.

Thanks Kevin, I really did enjoy that. You stay safe and make sure that you come and say hello when we get to Birmingham. Bye for now.