“Cos you’re a mountain, I don’t mind,
How you keep so grounded,
I want you to be mine, to be mine.”
The Australian-born artist started his music career at the young age of 13 by busking in his hometown and performing in local pubs. He moved to London three years ago following a brief stint in Paris and shortly after released his debut single ‘Epilogue’. His debut charted internationally and was included in the Top 20 of the indie music iTunes chart.
Despite touring and performing at sold-out crowds at venues such as Omeara, Harry still busks in central London showcasing his original music and drawing in crowds with his ear-catching melodies and infectious personality.
Tell me about your new single ‘Mountain’
‘Mountain’ was written a long time ago. It took me years to feel like I was ready to record it and do it justice on record. It was written at a time of extreme guilt, torments of romance, lust and how it can all get confused with what love really is. It’s when someone’s loyalty and trust are gone, but somehow they can still be as grounded as ever.
Walk me through your writing process – do you need to be in a particular place or mood?
I usually write best when it’s a spontaneous flow. I won’t have written for what seems like months but is usually only a week or so,hen all of a sudden I’ll feel inspired and everything flows out. I’ll be at my desk or on my bed with my guitar, everything comes all at once, and I’ll just pour it all onto a page.
Who or what is inspiring you musically at the moment?
Right now, my band is. In the past 7 months of working with those guys, I have developed an enormous amount, both as a musician and a person. They’re some of my best mates and the hardest working people I’ve ever met, which inspires me to be the best musician I can be.
Is there a particular message or theme in your music you would like to get across to listeners?
To feel everything, whether you like it or not.
What do you miss most about Australia and what do you love most about London?
Sometimes I miss the calmness of where I’m from in Australia, the golden hour where everything is still and touched only by the sun. But funnily enough, the thing I love most about London is the hustle and bustle. If you don’t dive into the London music scene head first and swim with everything you’ve got, London will chew you up and spit you out. But that’s why I live here and have always wanted to live here. I love it.
Who were your musical influences while growing up
Springsteen was a massive one, I felt like the Born in the USA record was written for me in my last few years of school, especially born to run. INXS was also a massive influence – my mum tells me I frolic around on stage like Michael Hutchence, so I put it in my bio! And of course songwriters like Bob Dylan, Marcus Mumford, and authors like Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck.
Which artists and songwriters do you admire?
David Le’aupepe of Gang of Youths is one of my favourites, and I’m getting to play the same festival as them this year, which is CRAZY. Justin Vernon too, among others. A lot of my favourite songwriters have the same in thing in common; poetic, timeless lyrics that don’t lose their resonance with the passing of time – in 50 years, people will still get it. That’s why the greats of the last one hundred years are still greats because I can listen to, say, The Folsom Prison Blues record and dig it as much as people did when it was released. That’s what I want to achieve in my songwriting – to write timeless lyrics I mean! No one can write a record that comes close to Johnny Cash.
What movie or TV series would you love ‘Mountain’ to be played in?
I’m really not sure, to be honest, I only really binge TV series when I have time and I don’t have too much of that right now.
What are your highlights from the last year?
The biggest highlight was definitely supporting my friend Adekunle Gold at the O2 Indigo in June, and then in December selling out my biggest headline show (at the time) at The Lexington. At midnight I turned 21 and my family was all there. I’d promised myself when I was younger that I’d sign my first deal before I was 21; backstage after the show with all my family, close friends and manager there, I signed it 15 minutes before my birthday. It was a real moment for me.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
That I am clumsy as hell on stage, I constantly kick over amps and almost fall over. It’s not rock n roll, it’s just me being uncoordinated!
If you weren’t in music what else do you think you would be doing?
I don’t have an answer for this, there’s nothing else and for as long as I can remember there’s never been anything else. My high school principal sat me down in her office once and asked me the same question so I’d have a plan B, and I told her the exact same thing – there’s only music.
What are your favourite places to busk in London and is there anything special you do to capture the crowd’s attention?
My favourite place is Brick Lane, it’s such a vibe and people are always so chill there. I wish I had as much time to busk as I used to when I first moved to London. As for grabbing people’s attention, I yell really loudly just before I play. If you come to a show you’ll understand what I mean.
Two words – CARAMEL SHORTCAKES
What’s next for Harry Marshall?
I want to be touring as much as possible, and making and releasing records. It’s all I’ve wanted for so long, it’s all finally starting to happen and I couldn’t be happier.