Photo credit: Cynthia Harley
Iris Harley is a vocalist who has recently come to a lot of people’s notice after she released ‘I Love Your Vibe,’ ‘Trailblazer,’ and ‘Loud Love.’ With her warm voice, caring attitude toward fellow musicians, and the fact she is a rising star, gaining recognition, we at Platinum Mind felt Iris was a musician who deserved the spotlight on her, so Sammy caught up with her to find out more.
SS- Sammy Stein
IH- Iris Harley
SS: Tell us briefly about your journey in music.
IH- At the age of four, I first heard Nate King Cole on Christmas morning. ‘The Christmas Song’ was playing in my grandmother’s house, and I was mesmerised. I was drawn in by his velvet voice and remember walking over to the record player to see who was singing. This is a core memory and my introduction to the world of jazz. Growing up, I enjoyed writing poetry; it was a free, natural, expressive, and unrestrained place for me to inhabit. Throughout adulthood, I continued with poetry which led to songwriting. Although I have enjoyed singing throughout the years, I had no formal vocal training. In 2021, I decided to take a couple of singing lessons at the Glasgow School Of Music, to gain knowledge and confidence. The following summer I took a leap of faith and went in for my first recording session as a recording artist and found my voice!
SS: Your singles including ‘I’m Gonna Seduce You,’ ‘My Twinkle Toes,’ ‘Trailblazer,’ ‘I Love Your Vibe’ and ‘Loud Love ‘have done well. Will you be following these up with an album in the near future?
IH: I am excited to announce that my debut album will be released later this year!
SS: Do you find it easy to promote your music? Can you explain what it feels like to promote your creations?
IH: I decided to PR my first few singles to experience every aspect from writing the songs to singing, creating the artwork, and seeing it through to their releases. It was quite a journey to navigate, a lot of frustrations but also a lot of fun along the way. I have decided to work alongside a PR team from now on, however, to be able to focus solely on songwriting and recording.
SS: As a female artist, do you feel there is prejudice or expectations of women that male performers do not have or do you feel the field is even now?
IH: Historically and to date, there are expectations laid upon female artists to conform to an industry standard. This can also be age-related. I decided to ignore the noise and be myself, which is always best. I also believe women have staked their claim within the music industry. There will be room for dialogue about changes and growth for women working in music. We have our own voices and need to continue using them unapologetically.
SS: If you were to advise a young performer just starting, are there any lessons you might pass on?
IH: Gravitate towards ‘birds of a feather’ types of people; both musically and professionally. Put real investment into your craft and enjoy it! Store those lyrics away for safekeeping, you may bring them to life later.
SS: Looking ahead – what would you like to have achieved in say, five or ten years’ time music-wise?
IH: I hope to continue to develop a strong and loyal fan base, which is important to an artist. Would also love to travel the world, to soak up different styles of music. I have recently collaborated and hope to continue having future opportunities with artists from musically diverse backgrounds.
SS: Is it difficult to fit music in with other aspects of your life?
IH: Music is my passion and at the forefront of my lifestyle. It provides a lot of energy, creativity, and focus to other aspects of my life.
SS: How have you found supportive critics, editors, and people who appreciate your music? Have you targeted audiences or put your work out and hoped for the best?
IH: I actively targeted the right audience as I wanted to experience feedback, essential as a budding artist coming from critics and editors. Fellow artists have recommended my music to radio show hosts, which in turn has given me radio play. It has been incredible to hear how my voice, lyrics, and arrangements have made them feel!
SS: How do you find people to work with – producing and playing alongside?
IH: My spouse, with a background in music, has played a pivotal role in being my first and ongoing supporter of my desire to live out my dream of singing and songwriting. This has provided enormous energy in all aspects of my journey, which included finding the right person/producer to work with musically to bring my songs to life. I have been working with Gregor ‘G-Man’ McPhie, a talented professional musician, DJ, and producer based in Glasgow, who has been working in the music industry for twenty years. It was an intriguing experience; unfamiliar territory and I was eager to learn. Through that life-changing first session, my debut ‘I Love Your Vibe’ was born. There were a lot of ‘firsts’ that day and there have been many more since. I treasure them all.
Iris is an artist who supports other musicians, she is approachable and has a no-nonsense attitude that is commendable. On her journey so far, she comments,
“I have embraced every step of my musical journey, exploring and being able to find my voice. The dream has become a reality for me. I will continue to embrace and be excited to write, sing, and share my music.
Artists such as Iris pour in their contributions wholeheartedly and deserve to be paid fairly. Sadly, only a tiny percentage only get paid in real terms. As a recent example, SAG-AFRTA in Hollywood went on strike and took a stand on how they weren’t paid accordingly for their work. The optics around artists in the music industry now need the same conversation and action to be paid fairly for their works too. Artists do not get paid fairly for their works in terms of streams.
Music has its own language and facilitates a connecting space for humanity.