We caught up with singer, songwriter and all-round mega babe Harleighblu ahead of The Funk & Soul Weekender to chat musical inspo, fave gigs and what’s on the agenda for the rest of the year…
Tell us about yourself…
My name is Harleighblu (my real name) and I’m a singer/songwriter from Nottingham. I would describe my music as Hip Hop RnB with raw Soul and a bit of Electronic…
How would you describe your aesthetic and how does it inspire your music?
I am half Jamaican and I’ve had dreadlocks since I was about 12 years old. They are like a crown to me because of what they mean and represent.
I write all my own songs and I think that it’s important for artists too. I think I sing with a lot of heart and a lot of soul because of my experiences.
Who’s the coolest person you’ve met so far?
I’ve met some super cool people… Wu-Tang Clan were very cool (and scary! Lol). But the coolest of the bunch has to be Mr Charles Bradley. When I supported him in Paris, he grabbed my face and my hair when I met him and said “This and you child, are the reason I do this.”
What’s the best gig you have ever played?
That is such a hard question. I’ve played a lot of gigs. Probably the Jazz festivals we play when we’re in France and Switzerland. They are special, you can sometimes hear a pin drop when you play.
Who would you like to collaborate with and why?
Anderson .Paak because he’s releasing the freshest stuff from the new school that I’ve heard…also his style, his flow, his approach to songwriting is beautiful. The last time I got this obsessed with an artist was D’Angelo! And I’ve been listening to him since I was little. Ha!
Why do you think the relationship between fashion and music is so strong?
Because both are forms of expression. From what shoes you are rocking to what lyrics you are writing, you are expressing yourself and your uniqueness.
What’s your favourite music video?
I don’t watch loads of videos, I’m more of a listening to records kinda girl, but D’Angelo’s video for Brown Sugar is pretty cool.
Who did you listen to growing up?
Who didn’t I listen to? Lol. Rare grooves, soul, jazz, reggae…my mum’s record collection was a treasure trove. I eventually moved onto neo-soul and hip hop, everything from Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu to Nas and Wu-Tang.
Who’s your biggest musical inspiration?
It was definitely Jill Scott. Her first album “Who is Jill Scott” was all I played from age 10! Her jazz approach to neo-soul and her lyrical content was so fresh to me.
What’s your guilty pleasure, most played track?
Most played track of the moment has gotta be… hmmmmm…I do put on “Yes Yes Remix” by Slum Village a lot.
Last album you listened to all the way through?
Anderson .Paak – Malibu
What track gives you goosebumps?
Anderson .Paak – The Season/Carry Me
What item of clothing can’t you live without?
My black converses, they go with everything!
What items do you make sure you pack on your travels?
Headphones, phone, make-up, red lipstick, hair gel, cocoa butter, whatever book I’m reading, trainers, heels!
Who is your style icon and why?
I love the attitude, glamour and curves of Amber Rose, the shaved blonde hair and dark skin looks wicked! Plus she’s always got some kind of bright lipstick on which I love. She’s my curvspiration!
Where do you look for fashion inspiration?
Whenever I go to London, you just look around and it’s everywhere. London is always so ahead of things in my opinion.
What best describes your style?
Bold, classy and cute!
What’s your favourite fashion trend this season and why?
You sent me like 4 pairs of open toe sandals! It was like Christmas morning ha ha. I LOVE sandals with cute little pop socks…
If you could steal anyone’s wardrobe whose would it be?
Probably Erykah Badu, she’s always got this Egyptian Empress, Nubian Princess thing going on. I love it.
You can only wear one outfit for the rest of the year, what is it?
Black bomber jacket, a see through multi coloured crochet dress I got from Thailand, a black top and hot pants underneath and black Converse!
What’s your spirit animal?
Definitely a Lion
Who are you currently stalking on Instagram?
A boy probably…ha ha
What makes you laugh?
Watching Made in Chelsea…lol
What’s your secret addiction?
It used to be cheese but I’m Vegan now. I feel so hipster saying it but Nakd bars (oh no she didn’t…)
Who’s your celebrity wannabe wife?
Rihanna, she’s a beautiful, sassy boss type isn’t she. Bashan beauty!
What would your superhero power be?
If I could teleport to each gig instead of travelling that would be AMAZING
What was the first thing you did this morning?
Had a cuppa
Tell us something weird about yourself…
If the moment strikes and I have lyrics in my head I gotta get them out. No matter what I’m doing.
I’ve written a song about someone in bed next to them before…awkward turtle.
Who are you listening to at the moment?
What’s your song to get you ready for a party?
Kendrick Lamar – The Recipe
What has been your favourite place you’ve travelled to?
LA, they have a real hip hop feel over there. It’s embedded within their culture. I had a chance to hang at a hip hop party in Chinatown after a show I played in Hollywood and it was one of the best parties with the best music that I’ve ever been to. I love it there, also it’s so sunny ALL the time!
(…starts packing bag to move)
If you were a Spice Girl which one would you be?
Now, I’ve always been Scary! But I think deep down I’m more of a Baby Spice! Pink is still my favourite colour!!!
What do you love about Missguided?
I love the attitude, the variety and how on trend you guys are. I could literally spend all day browsing through your selection of clothes.
Where can we see you perform next?
The Soundcrash Funk and Soul Weekender in May, alongside George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic! I will be at the front dancing when they headline 😉
What’s on the agenda for 2017?
My latest single “Save Me” has just dropped. It’s taken from the ‘Amorine’ album which I made with Starkiller, a duo from LA – they’re really into their soundtracks and sci-fi, and this album is like a sci-fi film in musical form.
Then it’s more touring and my new album which I’ve already started recording in Red Bull Studios with an amazing German producer called Bluestaeb. I’m really excited about this project…it’s my best work yet. Stay tuned!
Wanna know more? Follow Harleighblu on Insta @harleighblu
…and listen to her tracks on Soundcloud: