Harry Young, young Scottish singer-songwriter, will release this Friday his EP 'Cocktails & Dreams'. In his debut EP, he balances perfectly folk and pop music (with some interesting jazzy influences). We cannot recommend enough to give it a spin. We had the chance to get an exclusive interview with him to find out a little more about this forthcoming EP and about his story too (of course!).
First, thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview. Now that everyone can stream your debut EP, how are you feeling?
Amazing! Just before I released it, I was really nervous but also really excited. So much time and effort has been put into the project from so many different people and you just don’t know before you release something if people will like it. Fortunately, everyone seems to have really enjoyed it, which means a hell of a lot to me. It definitely makes me very excited for the future to see everyone enjoying this release so much. I am very excited for its release on to iTunes/Spotify (August 19th) and to take my promotion of it up a notch. Hopefully the future holds lots of exciting things!
How did you get into making music in the first place? Was music always a passion to you?
Music has always been a passion of mine. I started playing piano when I was 6 and everything probably stems from that. I started writing songs when I was only 11. I think I was about 15 when I first realised that it would probably be me who had to sing my own songs. I couldn’t really sing all that well so I spent a number of years honing my voice and working with various very talented and helpful vocal coaches. I will always be as much a music listener as a performer. I find music to be such a powerful and beautiful thing and I consider myself very lucky to be able to be following my dreams.
Who are your biggest music inspirations? And is there an artist you’re particularly looking up to career-wise?
For me, John Mayer is my absolute favourite both as a songwriter/guitarist and as a live performer. He is an absolute inspiration. I don’t think there has ever been an artist who has achieved such successful cross genre diversification in the albums they release. Aside from Mayer, Paulo Nutini is amazing and, being Scottish, he is an obvious inspiration. Jack Johnson is wonderful as is Jason Mraz. Benjamin Francis Leftwich is someone who I have been listening to a great deal lately and, funnily enough, he releases his second album on the same day as I release my EP.
I heard some very cool jazz/soul influences in this EP in the arrangements and your vocals. Do you listen to jazz/soul music a lot?
I love jazz music and soul music. Before becoming a Mayer fan, I had never really listened to either genre at all, but the fact that he has mastered each genre, particularly soul music on his 3rd album Continuum, led me into listening to it. Something I’m very grateful for is that my inspirations consistently inspire me to learn more and become a better musician.
Let’s talk a little more about the debut EP ‘Cocktails & Dreams’. Was it clear upfront that Cocktails & Dreams would be the title track?
Yeah, I mean it’s a track I’ve had for a while and, as an overarching theme, it just seemed like such a cool concept. I didn’t know what I was going to call the EP and ‘Cocktails and Dreams’ seemed like such a cool concept that I could apply to the song, the video, the press shots etc. It felt like a concept that people could engage with and, so far, that seems to be the case. Also commercially Cocktails and Dreams is a good track because it’s a good length for radio and its lyrics, I think, are very relatable. As we started up in the studio with my producer Mark, immediately Cocktails and Dreams and Lazy Days were, what we felt, the stand out tracks.
Can you tell us a bit more about the inspirations behind the EP? What are, for you, the underlying themes of this EP?
I would say the main theme for the EP is youthful exuberance you know, being young and enjoying yourself, not worrying too much about the future and enjoying a certainly quality of life whilst you know you can. The songs I feel are all accurate for 90% of people who will be listening to them and that’s a great thing. The songs I love are all songs I can engage with at some level! I actually lived in Manchester for a while and I wrote half of the EP down there. I was having probably a little too much fun partying too much. I could see there were people around me doing the same and I guess it all started from there in terms of the inspiration for the lyrics of the title track.
Would you say the whole EP came together naturally? Or did you hesitate between some other songs?
There were two very clear phases of recording. Originally I went in with my producer Mark and did 4 songs: Cocktails and Dreams, Lazy Days and two others that didn’t make it called ‘California Dreamin’ and ‘Starstrukk’. They are great songs and I imagine we will see them come out in a future release of mine, particularly ‘California Dreamin’. We just couldn’t get it right so I went back a month later. We did ‘Beauty Queen’ and then finally ‘Confidence’. Looking back, it did come together very naturally. We didn’t force it or rush it out. We waited until we had the set of songs we felt all fitted in with each other before we released it. I was really conscious of wanting to create something that felt complete and whereby all the tracks complimented each other and felt inter linked.
And you also have a music video for the title track! Who had the idea for the video? And how long did the filming take?
The idea for the video was from a discussion I had with my videographer Carrick. We actually only took about 6 hours to film it and a day or two to edit it we needed the turnaround to be that quick with everything coming up to ready for launch!
As a young singer-songwriter, what is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
The best advice I have ever received in regards to recording music and writing music is ‘sometimes less is more’. The best piece of advice I have received in regards to life and my career as a whole is that, in reality, the most important thing is to enjoy the journey and not to get so caught up on the destination. Love the journey and the destination will take care of itself.
Last question: What song/album do you have on repeat right now?
I have two songs on absolute repeat just now.
1 . Gold Snafu by Sticky Fingers: It is an Aussie band whom I think will be very shortly one of the biggest bands in the world
2. Hard To Read by Daywave: It is an absolute brilliant song of Day Wave’s most recent EP.
Thanks a ton!
Thanks for having me!
What a great convo! You can already stream the entire EP on Soundcloud. It is out everywhere this Friday!
Listen to Harry Young's new EP Cocktails & Dreams
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