Interview: Harrison Walker Lets Us In On The Origins Of His Sound

The Wycombe born artist kicked off the year with ‘Shoot me down‘ and has plans to release more in 2021.

With a sound that is both matter of fact and melancholic, Harrison Walker tours ear buds with a hint of optimism in song while also tackling the veracity of relationships and the complex traumas that come with them.

We sat down with the singer/producer to find out more about his sound and commute into the music world.

How did you start in music and when did you know that’s what you wanted to do?

So how I started creating was very interesting and spontaneous. I only started music around 5/6 years ago so relatively recently compared to a lot of artists. It came from when I was in my first year of sixth form and a friend of mine asked me to ask my brother if he could sing on one of her tracks, as my brother is in musical theatre. From there it kind of fell out that I could sing and I’d do it. No one really believed me at first as no one had heard me sing so I jumped on the track and then I just loved being in the studio and then wrote my first song a few weeks later! As soon as I wrote my first song I knew this was definitely the world I wanted to venture into full time.

Where are you from and what influence do you think it had on your music?

I’m from High Wycombe which is a 20/30 minute train out from London. To be totally honest I don’t feel where I came from gave me any influence, I got most of my influence from my family and personal experiences. I moved to Southwest London when I was 18 and that’s when location definitely played a big part, I started creating the sound I have today and finding what suited me best. London was great for creativity because of the diversity and different lifestyles that people bring to the table, I love it there. 

How would you describe your sound?

Super tough question! I get this all the time and my go-to answer is contemporary R&B/trap. However my sound definitely takes influences from so many different genres so it’s hard to pinpoint a particular one. 

What’s your first memory of music and how do you think it inspired you?

My very first memory of music is listening to Michael Jackson on REPEAT for months. My family and I absolutely loved MJ when I was young and he was playing all the time. I mean in terms of how this inspired me need I say more than Michael Jackson haha?? His tenacity, presence, flare when he wrote, sang and performed were all mesmerising and I definitely took a lot from him when growing up. 

What’s your favourite album right now and of all time and why?

Love this question, get super excited sharing artists I listen to. My favourite album right now is ‘punk2’ by ‘Blakeney’, the production on the track especially drew me in. He’s such a young artist but his creativity is off the scales, plus his melodies I find incredible and take a lot of inspiration from this album. 

Favourite album of all time is ‘The Blackest Beautiful’ by ‘letlive.’. This is very contrasting to the music I make myself but I take a lot of influence from the metalcore scene because I grew up with it from my brother, I absolutely love bands like this but this album in particular was incredible. I was drawn to it by his lyrics mainly but also Jason Aalon Butler’s presence when he performs, he is crazy on stage and I think it’s awesome so if you’re into this music check these guys out! 

‘Shoot me down’ is an impressive single and sounds personal. What’s it about and what was the process of writing it like? You also produced it yourself and is that the case for your other works? 

Thank you so much! So the song is definitely personal, all of my songs either come from my own experiences or the experiences of someone very close to me that I have seen them go through. However, I like to leave interpretation of the song up to the listener. If it connects with them in a different way than intended then that’s still great. As long as my music can help someone get through a tough part of their life or is just something they can relate to then I feel I’ve done what I need to do. 

The process of writing for me is usually coming up with the beat and melodies first, it’s very rare for me to write lyrics prior to writing the song. I will occasionally write lines down that I think I can fit into something sometime or certain words that I want to integrate but I never write full songs before I’ve got the melodies. The timeframe for songs is also so weird too, I will sometimes finish a song in half an hour or two months! ‘Shoot Me Down‘ was pretty quick though, I wrote and produced this in 3 days. 

I produce everything now, my previous releases ‘Judge Me’ and ‘Lust’ were co-produced with other artists as this was when I started production properly. I currently have 4 songs ready to go in the year which were all produced by me solely! 

Do you produce music for others?

I don’t currently produce for others but I really want to get into it. I would love to create different genres and work with new musicians, hopefully helping them get to a further point in their career

How would you describe your work as a whole and do you have any new material in the works?

I would describe my work mainly as eclectic, I definitely stick to a similar style but the genre wavers between a few. To be honest, I just make music that I like, I don’t overthink too much about staying in a particular genre to fit the market or whatever is viral right now. 
Yes! Like I said in the last question I’ve got 4 ready to go but I’m working on another 7 currently to be released throughout the year so I’m going to be releasing a lot this year and I can’t wait. 

What do you love and hate about the industry right now?

I love the diversity of the industry at the moment, there are so many different genres and so many people experimenting with their sound. I think this is dope because they’re coming up with sounds and music that I couldn’t even dream of so it definitely helps the creative process and just listening to new music is amazing. 

What I hate about the industry right now is a tricky one, I wouldn’t say I hate it but I find it difficult how on top of social media you need to be. Especially now with coronavirus the only way musicians can put themselves out there is via social media but it definitely takes a toll on a lot of people and is very hard not to compare yourself to another’s journey when mindlessly scrolling. Plus I just love gigging live so much because of how personal it is compared to socials so I miss that a lot! 

Is there anyone you want to work with at the minute?

So many artists out there, someone who’s pretty high on my list of people I want to get in contact with is ‘Santino Le Saint’. He’s a super upcoming artist and his music is dope so definitely check his stuff out. I’d be so happy if I ever got to work with him. 

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