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Harley Mitchell

As the new year approaches, so does new music and one new artist to definitely keep an eye, and an ear out for is all around musician Harley Mitchell. Her name may sound familiar for SFL readers, as she and her band Day 4 were spotlighted in a three-magazine feature a few years back. Now, she has launched a solo project with her single “Here I Am” which displays her extraordinary talents of playing all instruments, bass, guitar, drums, and even vocals. This outstanding, catchy, metal, punk, rock anthem song is making a mark on the music scene through social media world-wide, and her video has already reached over 1.4 thousand views on YouTube alone.

Catching up with Mitchell, she revealed some details about the song, her music in general, her video and what fans can look forward to.

SFL Music: Your song “Here I Am” is phenomenal. It’s doing really well. What inspired it?

Harley Mitchell: Well, as you know I’m in Day 4. Like I said, I feel like we’re kind of on this unofficial hiatus just because of life. Heather (Curi) had the baby, and even while I was in the band, I always had lyrics and ideas that I wanted enough, but I didn’t want to do it with Day 4 at all. The fact that I’m able to play every instrument and I just wanted to use my own voice physically and then obviously emotionally. So, I wanted to have like my Dave Grohl moment of, I want to do it all myself and you know, speak my mind as you can hear in the lyrics. As far as the actual song goes, I like to say it’s like kicking the door of life down and it’s like literally, here I am and I’m gonna stand my ground and for anyone that I feel maybe doesn’t trust me musically, whether it’s just because of I don’t know, being a female musician or whatever the reasons are. It was a lot of that. So, that’s kind of how that all happened.

SFL Music: You’re working on a second song, correct?

Mitchell: I am, yes and that’s almost done. I actually just need a second verse. That’s really it, but the music’s there. I have a title. I have everything, so yeah.

SFL Music: What is the title or do you want to wait?

Mitchell: Well, I don’t know whether to wait or to say it. Say like oh, hear it here first, you know the title. I don’t know. I may want to wait, I think.

SFL Music: Yeah, that will cause people to keep their eyes open for your new song.

Mitchell: That’s true, yeah.

SFL Music: What inspires you when you write? Life experiences?

Mitchell: Yeah, a lot of the time it’s life experiences. I guess like they say, the best songs happen whether it’s from heartbreak or I don’t know, just anything else going on. That’s what it is for me. Whether its heartbreak or if I’m angry about something or sad. That’s where that comes from and I write and I have to let it out. I don’t really write when I’m happy to be honest. Some of my best songs have been written in like ten minutes when I’m really pissed off about something.

SFL Music: That gets the creative juices going, right?

Mitchell: Yeah, yeah.

SFL Music: What would you say made you decide to become a musician? Your dad was a musician.

Mitchell: You know, it’s something that was just in my blood, especially with playing drums. People ask, “oh, how did you learn?” I never had a lesson. It just happened and so you know, growing up and being around music. Listening to music. Then seeing my favorite band for the first time on T.V. Discovering Green Day when I was eleven. I saw the video for “American Idiot” and I was like, what is this? Who is this band? And from then on, I was like, that’s what I want to do.

SFL Music: Well, we’re glad you did.
Mitchell: Thank you.

SFL Music: You’re welcome. You are very busy. You’re in Day 4. You also play with Project X and Rubixx. How do you juggle all of that?

Mitchell: I don’t know, I kind of just do. I mean, as far as bookings and all that go, we all share a google calendar, but for me I guess, more emotionally so to speak, it’s been my life professionally gigging since I was sixteen. So, it’s just my life, and especially when the pandemic happened and things stopped, I was like well, now what am I doing? You question like, oh my God, what is my purpose? What is my identity because that’s all I know. I thrive in it. Whether we’re talking about what songs we’re learning if we have a rehearsal, what shows are next. It just kind of, I don’t know, it just happens. It’s that, and then I work everything else around it. That’s the priority in my life, so everything fits in like a puzzle.

SFL Music: You have your social media and YouTube. I think you have over twenty-one thousand subscribers?

Mitchell: On YouTube, yeah. I have thirty-six thousand on TikTok.

SFL Music: Wow! That’s amazing! What would you say to a new musician? How important is social media to establish yourself or do you think it’s more so playing live?

Mitchell: There’s a few answers for this. As far as social media, I think it’s important to have a presence because we’re all on there. I mean, you know, the first thing you do, even when meeting someone, you look them up, right? So, you have to be present you know, when the next show is so people can hear your music. There’s pros and cons to everything, but I know it’s helped me gain exposure around the world. People sign onto, like when I’m live on TikTok, I go live at all my gigs. I have people watching whether it’s from Canada, South America. I mean, it’s everywhere and its crazy. So, when my stats come in on Spotify or Apple Music, I’m like, who’s listening in this country or this country and I’m worldwide, so that’s really cool too. I think it’s important, but like anything else, social media can have its cons too if we’re on it too much. We’re scrolling all day (she laughed). The other thing is, where I’m at today is because of the covers. You get yourself known by playing covers. Not that I don’t want to say people don’t care about original music, but yeah, it is a little bit harder for people to come to a show and listen to original music and maybe they’ve never heard of the artist before and I know that sucks, but it is the reality. When we play music people know, they come out. They get to know you and then you say, hey, I’m releasing a new song and they’re like, “oh wow! You’re awesome already, but now I’m going to support you because I know you from the cover band” and it crosses over. So, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today without the covers, at all.

SFL Music: Is that what you would recommend to an up-and-coming musician?

Mitchell: Yeah, I definitely would. I think besides your original music, you should definitely cover a song or two that’s popular. It doesn’t have to be something that just came out on the radio. It can be a classic rock song. Even if you did your own spin on it. I know any time I see an opening band, they always throw in a cover or two because they want to grab the crowd and make you interested.

SFL Music: When we did the ‘in the studio’ three article feature, what would you say that maybe you took away from those sessions with Rob Roy and crew at Power Station that you use the most today?

Mitchell: Hmm, that’s a good question. I learned a lot being in the studio and the process of writing and recording and making sure that you know your parts ‘cause when you go in, you’re listening to a metronome a lot of the time. So, I would say that just the whole process of how long things take, and then the song may be done, but then you listen back and you know, maybe when you listen in your car, you’re like oh, well maybe the bass is too bassy or I could’ve done this part better or different. It’s almost like it never ends until your like ok, well I think we have like the best take. So, yeah, it’s a lot of that.

SFL Music: Are you working on an album? What can fans look forward to with new music?

Mitchell: I Know my long-term goal would be to have an album, but right now, it’s more realistic for me and not as overwhelming, I’m going to do one song at a time. So, probably some singles right now and yeah, I’ll eventually do an album. I have those big goals and my friend and producer who produced “Here I Am” he’s like, “we’re just gonna do one song at a time and before you know it, you’ll have those ten songs or twenty songs,” but he’s like, “don’t worry about all that right now because that’s a lot.” That’s like kind of daunting. So, he’s like, “we’ll just work on the second” and that really helps ground me too ‘cause I’m the type of person as I said, that’s like you know, we’re already talking about way down the road. He’s like “it’s too much. Too overwhelming.” So, I would say some singles right now they could look forward to and hopefully in the new year, you know with the holidays, life gets in the way and I haven’t had a chance to finish this next song, but it’ll happen. It’ll happen in the new year. I’m actually going in the studio next week to work on some stuff. I always say, the magic happens in the studio. It’s kind of like, yeah, I could work at home, but when you get out of that, I always end up leaving with more than I expected in the studio from myself ‘cause there had been times with “Here I Am” where I went in, and I’m like, I don’t even have anything today really. I’m kind of just throwing things at the wall, but then I leave and the songs done, for example. So yeah, it’s cool how that happens sometimes.

SFL Music: Are you going to release a new video with the new song?

Mitchell: Yeah, I’ll probably release a video. I don’t know what kind yet. I know this last time we did one in the studio because I wanted to showcase that I can do everything, and that people could see I recorded everything, but I don’t know what this next one will be. Yeah, I’ll most likely release a video. I think people like to see a little bit of a visual too, especially ‘cause I’m not performing live right now with my music.

SFL Music: Is that something down the road? You do play a multiple of instruments. Are you looking to perform with Day 4?

Mitchell: I would like to perform separate from Day 4 with my own music under my name. I’d have to find a couple more musicians to do the other stuff (she laughed). So, I’ll have to pick what I’m doing live. It most likely would probably be bass and me singing, so I would need a guitar player and drummer. Thank God I know so many people. Everyone’s supportive, so I know that won’t really be hard to find.

SFL Music: It is amazing that you taught yourself to play all those instruments. Did you go back and learn to read music?

Mitchell: When I was in fourth grade, I played the clarinet for a couple of years, so I can read sheet music, but as far as sight reading, that’s a little bit slow for me. So, I could tell you the notes that are on the staff, but if you put a sheet of music in front of me and say ok, we’re gonna play this right now, it would be very slow for me. So, when I learn a song, I Iook it up on YouTube or I listen and I learn by ear you know, tabs and what not. So, that’s how.

SFL Music: Is there anything else you want people to look forward to?

Mitchell: The biggest thing was like my song and then I will be putting out the next one soon in the new year. TikToks probably the biggest platform I’m on right now. So, TikTok my handle is HarleyMitchellOfficial. Instagram is @HarleyMitchell. YouTube, I’m pretty sure by now if they just search my name I’ll come up, but my handle is HarleyMitchellMusic on YouTube. Facebook HarleyMitchellMusic. I have a website harleymitchell.com, so everyone could look up where my gigs are and like when I’m playing with Project X or Rubixx, I have everything noted. So, it’s not just for my original stuff. They can find wherever they want to see me.

SFL Music: Is there anything else you want to add?

Mitchell: I know rock music’s coming back, but you know, I’m up against whats ever mainstream. So, that’s like pop, hip hop and I like all that stuff, but I know my song doesn’t sound like that, but I also don’t care. Like I’m not gonna conform. These are my feelings and what I write. It is what it is, so hopefully people like it. I always say, I don’t think anyone’s going to do a dance challenge to my song on TikTok like they are with the pop music or hip hop, but that’s ok. That’s not what it’s about. It’s very punk rock and raw.

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