We conducted a lovely interview not too long ago with Jessica Harper, an up-and-coming singer-songwriter based in Los Angeles, California. During our wonderful conversation, she talked about life, her most memorable musical moment, and the greatest obstacle she had to overcome.
Jessica Harper – “Rainy Day” music video
Where are you from and what is life like growing up there?
Jessica Harper: I’m originally from a small town in Missouri. It was safe and I knew everyone around me. However, that safety also translated to the music I was making. In both my artistic and personal life, I did what was expected of me: be interesting enough to be known, but blend in enough to stay palatable. I didn’t allow myself to take chances and push the boundaries of who I was and what I wrote until I got out. I’m grateful for my upbringing because it powered my need for autonomy over every decision I make, my need for freedom.
Who are some of your musical influences?
JH: Tom Petty and Taylor Swift are the reason I started writing. This is a lot more apparent in my previous releases than it is now. I still write a lot of folky singer-songwriter material, but lately have taken a plunge into edgier pop, disco, and even some hip-hop! Recently, I’ve been learning a lot from Lady Gaga, UPSAHL, and Ashnikko.
When did you realize that you wanted to become a singer?
JH: I’ve always been a singer. It was never a choice; it’s an integral piece of who I am. It wasn’t until eighth grade that I committed to it being my career, though. Growing up, I didn’t know any pop stars or professional songwriters to look up to, so it took a while to see that it could be my full-time job. Still, when I came to that realization at 13, the only music careers modeled for me were in opera and musical theatre. So, I went to a boarding arts high school to study opera. I spent my entire first year there looking over my shoulder at the singer-songwriter program. That was the first time I saw others doing what I wanted to do. I switched majors sophomore year and never looked back on being a pop singer.
How would you describe your sound?
JH: My sound is finally coming out of its teenage years – trying new styles and personalities every few months. I’ve started to land on something really fun that I can’t wait to share with you guys! It’s going to be a lot darker and more commercial than my previous work (think Billie Eilish with the drama and expressiveness of Lady Gaga).
Which artist would you like to collaborate with?
JH: I love working with my friends! They are some of the most talented and coolest people I’ve met, and I’m grateful that they’re right in my backyard at USC. Venturing out, Charli XCX is someone I’ve been digging a lot lately. Getting into more electronic hyper-pop would be a lot of fun!
What’s the greatest obstacle you had to overcome?
JH: I had an eating disorder for a long time, specifically bulimia. Not only did that overtake my entire thought process in day-to-day life, but the act of it put my voice at risk. That’s what ultimately pushed me into recovery. The risk of sacrificing my career and love for music isn’t worth any temporary satisfaction.
What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
JH: One of my teachers, the legendary, Patrice Rushen, always tells our class, “Plan your work, and work your plan.” It’s simple, but reminds me of the dedication it takes to succeed in this industry, especially whenever I get caught up in thinking creativity and a good song is all I need. If I want anyone to hear my music or care, a lot of work goes into putting it out there and getting in front of the right people. There’s no such thing as an overnight sensation.
What would you say is your greatest accomplishment?
JH: I’m more focused on the process than the final product. I love making music, and every day that I get to do that I consider it a success.
What would you say is your most memorable musical moment?
JH: My first show back after the quarantine was the most fun I’ve had on stage in a long time! Something about a hiatus made it all the more special 🙂
What advice would you give to an aspiring singer?
JH: Explore every style and genre possible! You never know what your niche is going to be until you’ve tried it all.
Decades from now, when people mention Jessica Harper—what will they say?
JH: They’ll talk about range. One day, I’ll write a Country song for another artist to sing, and the next day, I’ll be scoring a film. I want my career to be vast.
What are three things on your bucket list?
JH: (1) International tour, (2) write for Dua Lipa, and (3) design my own fashion line. Big dreams, ha-ha.
Do you have a favorite quote or motto that you live by?
JH: I live by the Law of Attraction: “like attracts like.” When I stay positive and give myself to others, the same positivity and nourishment come back to me.
How can people get in contact with you and where can they go to hear your music?
Thanks for a great interview, and as an honored guest, is there anything else you would like to say?
JH: Watch out for me in the next few years, big things are coming 🙂
Jessica Harper – “Rainy Day” single
We recommend adding Jessica Harper’s “Rainy Day” single to your favorite contemporary-pop playlist. Also, let us know how you feel in the comment section below. Mel Blanc’s famous catchphrase, “That’s All Folks!” Thanks for reading another great interview on Bong Mines Entertainment – the hot spot for new music. Furthermore, always remember that (P) Positive, (E) Energy, (A) Always, (C) Creates, (E) Elevation (P.E.A.C.E).