Q: “I’ve Got A Secret” is very beautiful! I love the way your vocals truly lay all your emotions out on the table. What was the inspiration behind this track?
KAREN HARDING: Thank you so much! ‘I’ve got a secret’ was written during early pandemic lockdowns in Melbourne, Australia.. It was a time that so many of us were spending so much time sitting on social media.. both through consuming and through sharing the highlight reels of our lives. For me, during this time, I had a lot of time with myself to reflect and there was a sense of so many people, including me, not sharing the full vulnerabilities of our experience, which in this time had so much more effect than it would in normal times, because we were not seeing people.. social media and the internet were our connections with the world. The track highlights the ‘secrets’ that we are holding close to our chest and speaks to the fear of finally ‘coming clean’.. in allowing someone to come in and share in those vulnerabilities. Writing this song was a way of allowing me to express the way I was feeling at the time, through the amazingly therapeutic art of song.
Q: Music has been a part of your life since you were a child. Do you remember a pivotal moment when you decided you wanted to fully immerse into being a musician?
KAREN: This is a very interesting question for me. On one hand, I could have never imagined my life without music.. however, I also never really saw music as a career path for me. I always played piano, sang and wrote songs.. but it was for me.. not so much something with an intention of sharing. I spent my life working through so many careers.. studying social work.. working in administration.. studying accounting.. becoming an accountant and then a manager.. I always played music, but never thought it would be anything more than a tool for myself. It wasn’t until Covid began, and I had time to reflect, that I decided to share my first track with the public, for the first time.. When I began receiving responses to the music, I realised that by not sharing, I had been preventing others from experiencing their own experience of my music.
Q: If you could collaborate with any artist (dead or alive), who would it be?
KAREN: I would absolutely love to collaborate with the great Leonard Cohen.. although I’m pretty sure I’d just be watching him do his magic.. I am obsessed with his incredible storytelling artfulness in songwriting.. and the words he spins together through his lyricism.
Q: Walk us through your writing and production process in making “I’ve Got A Secret”.
KAREN: Originally, ‘I’ve Got A Secret’ was written purely on my acoustic guitar.. I was sitting on my couch and just expressively playing and singing whatever decided to emerge.. This song came out as a mirror image of the way that I was feeling at the time. It was quite a while later that I took the track to my incredibly amazing producer, Joshua Hennessy, along with the other tracks on the EP (all written during the same period). Josh has a way of creating true magic and beauty when he works with me on my songs.. He can share with me in the vision of how I feel when I create the song, and brings it to a whole new level of storytelling.
Q: The Covid-19 lockdown has affected everyone’s creativity differently; some lost their motivation, while others were more inspired. How has the lockdown affected the way you create music?
KAREN: Lockdowns were an incredibly difficult time for so many people. For me, it certainly had its challenges, however, when it comes to my music and creativity, it completely changed the whole way that I view music.. it gave me the chance to really get in touch with what I was feeling and to express with my art of music. The result is the sound that you will hear within the I’ve Got A Secret EP.
Q: What has been one of the highlights of your music career so far?
KAREN: There have been so many highlights.. there have been some great recognitions.. however, I think for me, the ability to truly be able to connect with people on the complete other side of the world, with different lifestyles and cultures, just truly blows my mind.. The fact that I can write a song and release it, and later that day, it could touch the life of someone.. anywhere.. that is a true highlight for me!
Q: Tell us about your upcoming EP “I’ve Got A Secret” and what listeners can expect!
KAREN: This EP is extremely raw and vulnerable for me.. the tracks were not originally written with an intent of sharing with anyone. The four tracks are all acoustic guitar based tracks, written with me and my guitar and express a range of feelings that were experienced during lockdowns. If you would like to hear the tracks, I am releasing one a month until the full EP is available in October.. or.. if you’re as impatient as me , you can purchase the EP in both digital and CD versions now at karenharding.bandcamp.com
Q: What would you say to your fans out there?
KAREN: Ultimately, if you have an interest in any area of life, follow it with curiosity.. explore.. because you’ll never know what you could find. Thank you for following my journey and reading this article.. I truly appreciate you.
Photo credits: Susan Bradfield Photography
Interviewed by Melissa Cusano
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