RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW AUSSIE ARTIST KAREN HARDING
Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
Introduce us to you and your musical history?
My name is Karen Harding. I’m a Melbourne, Australia-based singer-songwriter.
Music has always been a part of me, having played piano since the age of 6 and been singing since the age of 14.
I released my first single, ‘I didn’t realise’ in May 2021, and since that time, I have been on an amazing journey, exploring music in a whole new light. In that time, I have had the opportunities to collaborate with artists and producers in all different locations, different genres and different walks of life, as well as connect with so many different people. I absolutely love the journey!
The music industry is the hardest industry in the world to progress in, How do you feel you are doing?
In a lot of ways I don’t really feel like I’m within the ‘Music Industry’.. I think this is one of the benefits of the way the music world is now.. as an independent artist, you can make your own rules.. you can create music in your own way and find the people that will connect with it. Independent artists can pave their own direction, without having to conform to what they’re being told to do by a label or a big record company.
How we feel we are going depends on our own goals and for me, music is a journey of discovery of what is possible and of creativity. I am so happy with the direction that I am moving and what is unfolding for me within music.
I create music and people connect with what I create.. I continually grow with my music and discover new ways of moving forward, and that is so exciting for me.
I look forward to seeing what comes next in every moment.
How have your songwriting skills developed over time?
My songwriting is constantly developing. I have been lucky enough to collaborate with so many different people, everything from other singer-songwriters, an IDM producer, an Argentinian family of producers, a Hip Hop artist.. as well as had the opportunity to connect with songwriting experts and music industry experts through my online platform, Sounds On The Couch.
I feel that all of these experiences give me new insight and change what I can create.
Since my first release, my songwriting has definitely come a long way and I am looking forward to sharing some new styles of songwriting within the 2023 year.
I’m seeing a lot of debate about women not feeling safe at music gigs, any thoughts on what we need to do to help?
I have been really fortunate in this space when I have performed, and haven’t had a lot of trouble. That being said, I think it’s a broader issue than just at gigs. While a lot has changed over time in regard to women, that’s ok. there is still a huge societal problem where many groups of men do think it’s ok to diminish the power of women and to treat them as if they are there for one reason only. I see it all the time and have experienced it many times, whether it is out at a gig, in the workplace, or out on the street.
It is never ok to put any person in a position where they feel unsafe.. for any reason.. ever!
As you develop as an artist and develop using socials what ways do you get new ears on your music? Any tips?
This is constantly evolving for me and I am always trying new things.
I do share on socials.. my primary social channel is Instagram, however, I also share on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Within these platforms I privately connect with fans, I explore different groups and research what other artists are doing.
I also do a lot of sharing and exploration within Reddit, I do a lot of PR work around my releases, explore playlists.
I think the most beneficial thing for me, is that if I am wanting to achieve a new avenue of getting ears onto my music, and I’m not quite there in that particular area, often I will create that avenue myself and invite other artists to be a part of it.. The internet gives anyone the power to create almost whatever they want to!
This has been amazing for me because it empowers you to realise that you have control over what you are creating, it helps other artists too, and, often you will find that once you’re starting to grow in that area, and the growth is seen, often you are invited to where you wanted to be in the first place.
What’s your thought on Spotify’s monopoly on the music industry?
This is such a big debate at the moment.. I always find it interesting because there are just so many factors to this question.
Firstly, I truly believe that this won’t be the case for too much longer.. there is so much drive for change and history has shown that there is always a new technology or a new idea that trumps what currently exists.
That being said, the monopoly has definitely brought down the value of music, which is extremely challenging for artists. If it wasn’t for the change, many of the artists that exist today would most likely not be releasing music.. if they were accepted by a big label, they wouldn’t have the freedom in their careers that they have now.
What Spotify brought to the music industry, I believe was a huge gift of change.. however, now that it’s been brought, I believe that it’s time for refinement and development.
Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about.
I also love to create art. The other day I spontaneously decided to start and Etsy store to begin selling prints of my artwork and am going through the process of learning how Etsy stores work.
I think that the biggest thing that makes me stand out, is that my music is not designed to follow the latest pop trends.. it’s an exploration of what’s possible and I am sharing what I am feeling in the moment of writing the song.
It’s the vulnerability that people tend to connect with and I am so grateful for this.
I hear you have new music, what can you tell us about it.
I do! My latest release is a double single release, and the second half of my collaborative project with Argentinian producers, P&M Records.
The first single is ‘It’s Okay’, and it tells a story of self-frustration.. of believing that you should be somewhere, someone, or somehow different than where you are.. and then allowing yourself to drop it and let go in compassion for yourself, letting yourself know that it is truly ok for things to be exactly as they are.
The second single, ‘Greener On The Other Side’ features the Cologne Chamber Orchestra and was written when considering some big changes. It highlights the fears that come up with the change and questions whether what you imagine on the other side of change is truly the reality of how it is. Is the grass really greener on the other side?
What was the recording process like?
The recording process was really interesting, mainly because I was working with producers in another part of the world.
For ‘It’s Okay’ I provided the bare bones of the song to P&M Records. They then created a track based on the idea and then I recorded my own vocals. I loved this process because it allowed the song to be infused with the central American feel that it has.
For ‘Greener On The Other Side’ it was similar, but the songwriting was worked on with P&M Records, so I worked a lot more closely with them in the development. The track was developed and then The Cologne Chamber Orchestra recorded their part and finally, I recorded my vocals, which were included at the end.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?
I feel that the biggest learning curve was in the songwriting style of ‘Greener On The Other Side’. In the past, my songwriting style was very fluid, and when I provide an idea, normally, I would send a finished song idea. However, the style that we used for this song was a simple piano melody line, which was then developed with chords, then a track, and the lyrics were created at the end.
It was great for me to develop a little more structure around my writing and it will definitely help me in the future.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
I am so grateful for you taking the time to read this article, and for listening to my music and supporting me along my journey.
I can’t wait to share what the future holds with my music.