Harley Black – TMG Artist Spotlight

By | May, 28, 2015

TMG is pleased to announce another fresh artist interview from Brooklyn’s own, Harley Black!

Check her next Friday, June 5th at 10pm at Black Bear Bar!

Harley Black is a NYC based singer, songwriter, guitarist, and producer.  Born and raised in NJ, she has been a musician since before she could talk.  Memories of curling up and falling asleep in her father’s saxophone case as a small child remind her that music has truly been her home for as long as she could remember.

In October, 2013, she called it quits on her previous band of 4 years, in order to embark on a new project and a new sound all her own.  What’s been born is truly an extension of her soul.  The Harley Black sound is pure rock n’ roll, recalling influences from the 60’s and 70’s.  Evidence of the bands her parents played for her as she was in her formative years (acts that became her idols) now bleed onto the Harley Black page.  Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty, Pat Benatar, Joan Jett, Carol King, and Sheryl Crow have all found their ways into the heart of Harley’s writing.

Harley strives to promote passion, truth, honesty, and integrity.  Her debut EP, “Rebel Town”, released in September, 2014, was written and produced by Harley, and recorded in Brooklyn, NYC.

Here’s her exclusive interview with TMG!

1. What’s your bands name? Where’d the name come from?

 Artist name is Harley Black.

2. The Yellow Collar Collective is all about the daily grind musicians go through to perfect their craft, what has been your biggest struggle and accomplishment as a musician?

My biggest struggle has been balancing earning a living / having a day job and continuing to pursue my passion and craft as a musician — there are only so many hours in a day and being an indie artist means writing, producing, recording, booking shows, hiring and firing band members, running rehearsals, reaching out to music industry people and just hustling to get the name and music out there – all the while holding down friendships, being a good daughter and sister, having a successful love life and earning money to pay for rent, recording and my serious music habit!

 3. What other instruments can you and your fellow band members play?

I sing and play guitar, my band mates can do it all, most are trained musicians and multi-instrumentalists – but the instruments you see them playing in my band are their primary instruments

4. Why’d you start making music and why specifically did you choose your genre?

Music chose me, not the other way around – I’ve even tried to forget about it and live a “normal” life but making and performing music is in my DNA and I HAVE to do it to be me and to be happy.  It just is.  If I’m not on a stage singing at least once per week I feel like I’m going crazy, having withdrawals, and I’m just generally cranky!  Music is my addiction and my drug.  In terms of my genre, its just what comes out naturally — I stopped trying to “write a hit” or impress the A&R guys and when I just did what I wanted to do without listening to every know-it-all, these songs and this type of blues rock with pop in it just came out naturally — I always had an attraction to artists like Sheryl Crow, Taylor Swift, the Black Keys, Melissa Etheridge, Grace Potter and now ZZ Ward — these girls are gritty, they are tough…independent – they write, sing and play guitar, I love that and I love a GREAT song.

5. Do you have any memorable musical experiences that have shaped who you guys are?

A few years back with my old band I did a VH1 Save the Music artist showcase at the Highline Ballroom with some celebrity judges – we made it to the finals and won the whole thing – but during those shows – the venue was slam packed with over a thousand people – sweating and jamming out to songs I had written and produced — in those moments I truly knew I had to do music for the rest of my life — there is no other feeling like that in the whole world – no mountain I could climb thats high enough – no roller coaster fast enough – no country far enough to give me that same feeling as performing on stage to a large venue full of people — imagine what playing Madison Square Garden would feel like!

6. Have you ever released any albums or are working on any now? Any special projects? 

Yes, our latest EP is called “Rebel Town” and its available for free on my website at HarleyBlack.com

7. Do you collaborate with other artists? Inside and outside your genre?

I wish I did more!  I’m certainly always open to a co-write.

8. What venues and events have you performed at in the past five years? Which has been your favorite?

I’ve played a lot of shows in NYC in the last 5 years- just about every indie venue — one of my favorites has to be Rockwood Music Hall because of its small size and amazing energy.

9. How do you acquire shows and promote yourself? Do you have any recommendations for other artists?

Turnstyle helps me!  My recommendations for other artists would be to treat your marketing game like part of your day job – its just as important as writing and recording – and yes — its all hard work but its better to put yourself out there as best you can and maybe get denied from some opportunities, than to regret never trying at all.

10. Do you have any mottos?

Live in the Present.

11. What artists inspire you?

 ZZ Ward, Phantogram, Fleetwood Mac, Sheryl Crow, Taylor Swift, The Black Keys, Bonnie Raitt, Alicia Keys, Beyonce!!!!

 12. What’s next for your band?

New Recordings and a video! Bigger and better shows!! — CMJ in the Fall !!?? Dan holler at me.

13. What do you do when you’re not listening to or making music?

Cycling, hiking, running, swimming, road tripping, working on my business woman hustle.

14. What’s your favorite song right now?

I couldn’t get enough of Phantogram’s “Fall in Love” last summer and now that its summer again I’m still obsessed.   Also that new Tove-Lo song “Talking Body” is sexy as well — I like her – she writes a catchy freaking melody – I love that raspy voice – super hot.
Check out some of her songs below!
Thank you to Harley Black for doing this interview! Looking forward to her show June 5th at Black Bear Bar!