Harleighblu | Approaching soulful clemency with 'She'

Transmitting an idiosyncratic style and persona is British soulstress Harleighblu from Nottingham. Projecting her distinct jazzy vocal abilities across the world from festivals to gigs to top charts hits, Harleighblu keeps on pushing her musical voice with her latest album collaboration with Bluestaeb called "She" set to release on October 11th.

Characterised as 'the new queen of hip-hop and soul' by MistaJam after her first release 'Let Me Be' Harleighblu is keen to keep her raining title as she keeps releasing new music. "I would kind of say I create hip-hop and soul with sprinkles of RnB and jazz, all the good stuff I think. I believe with this genre of music you have to have strong vocals or something distinct to stick out." Grasping on strong female inspiration Harleighblu admires powerful authoritative female music figures helping her develop on her authentic sounds. "My inspirations keep changing, there are four main queens for me Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Lauryn Hill and Amy Winehouse, if I had a kingdom they'd be right at the top of it. They all have this edge, a beautiful distinct soulful tone Amy is another one and I think its really important in this genre to have that".

Not only do strong female artists inspire her, but Harleighblu also takes huge influences from her personal life which is recreated in her music "My mum a super song amazing woman who raised me on my own so I'm obviously going to take all my energy from females and female empowerment. I think i do draw from my own life experience like my song 'Queen Dem' where I say 'this is for the women who drink too much, this for the women who are single mums, who raised their kids just as strong' everything I say in my music is me, its who I am as an artist I mean it all and I wear the hat for it."

Born and raised in Nottingham Harleighblu outlines the high demand in musical interest from the city. Being one of many authentic and successful artists from Nottingham she applauds the scene and will keep supporting Nottingham bread artists. "The music scene in Nottingham is really across the board, there are a few cities in the UK London being the home and hub of everything but Nottingham is also one of them. There's so much here, loads of artists. One of my boys that I'm supporting, Liam Bailey, Natalie Duncan there's loads of different styles of music coming out of Nottingham too, for example, Sleaford Mods, Jake Bugg... I think everyone for Nottingham is a bit rugged, we are all a bit rough and ready and we all respect each other and each other's artistry and creativity."

Touring internationally around Europe over the last 5 years Harleighblu has projected her authentic jazz and soulful sound across the board, finding fans from all areas of the world including France, Asia and more "France took a weird liking to me, heavily supporting me. There was one stage I wasn't playing as much in the UK as I was in France and there's something special about that, they really understand jazz, soul and hip-hop music over there, their roots lie very sturdy in those genres and they are the second-biggest consumer of hip-hop music in the world, they just instantly got my music and I haven't stopped playing there since." Holding festival shows under her belt including Lollapalooza in Berlin and Croatia's sunny Outlook festival "Stepping on that stage and playing out the songs you've created, getting a reaction from people, singing, loving it and feeling empowered by what you're saying, that's the real shit. I love playing Jazz festivals too, I've supported people like Charles Bradley, I opened up for Stevie Wonder, Gregory Porter, Joss Stone." Harleighblu is now eager to demonstrate her latest creation to her worldwide audience.

Releasing the taster track "Queen Dem" from the upcoming album "She" on September 4th both Harleighblu and Bluesteab give an insight in whats the come from their creativity "The song came from a really inspiring poem I read by Janne Robinson called 'This is for the women who don't give a fuck' and its a famous vial poem and it breaks it down saying 'this is for the women who drink too much whiskey, stay up late and have sex like they mean it'. It blew me away whilst reading it so I took that format for what she was trying to say and I turned it into a personal extensive version like 'This is for the women who look too hood, for the women who look too good'. So it was Jan's poem that really inspired me to think ok where can I take this and throw some 'gehttoness' into it." Already hitting nearly 100k streams on Spotify Harleighblu music is speaking for itself "I've never done numbers like that before so I know it must be reaching people. I've had messages from south Africa, Columbia, America, Germany, Spain supporting me and that's off the top of my head just from the last two weeks".

Back and forth travelling from Berlin to the UK Harleighblu has worked closely with hip-hop beatmaker Bluestaeb to create the album collaboration called "She" "With this album I felt so strongly about delivering deep into the whole female empowerment and uplifting, writing about getting cheated on. It's like turning lemons into lemonade, I wanted to be explicit and write about exactly what I want. I'm talking about things that maybe I have not dared to speak about, I feel like I've had enough life experience now that I wanna just say this is how it is, this is how I feel." The album consisting of 13 tracks all handcrafted and produced by the artists themselves the creative collaboration is on track to jazz up the worldwide charts "The song 'Present' where I explicitly outline what happened when my ex-best friend tried to sleep with my ex-boyfriend, its a true story so I break it down, how it happened and the consequences of it after it happened. I swear and cus in it, its one of the most explicit songs I've ever written but I felt it and it gets the emotions out after it happened, those feelings have gotta go somewhere."

Promising plans and dates ahead of schedule Harleighblu is preparing for a huge europian tour next year ahead of her and Bluesteab's collaborative release 'She' "We are hoping to do a huge European international tour, key dates in the UK and key dates in Europe. Even though the album isn't out yet we have some amazing little dates booked like House Of Vans, Belgium, supporting Children of Zeus but once the album drops then we will be sending out dates for the big performance."

"We get so dragged down as women, you're too fat, you're too thin, your too pretty, not pretty enough. There's always something dragging women down, so I just think fuck you lot! Let's uplift ourselves as women we need more of that!" - Harleighblu 2019

Photography by Izzy Clark and Georgia Slack

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