Harmony Byrne on how her Mormon upbringing influenced her artistry

Gil Gilmour

“Being raised in a Latter-Day-Saint household gave me a lot of faith to pursue my dreams.”

Thanks to her lush vocals, folk and country-tinged melodies and sharp lyricism – which often delve into her mental health struggles – Harmony Byrne has been hailed as one of the most exciting (and relatable) new artists in the industry.

After the release of her debut single Demise Live – which she recorded in the woods in one take (love that) – the Australian singer-songwriter garnered a devoted fanbase with the genre-defying ballad Loving You is Lonely.

“Being raised in a Latter-Day-Saint household gave me a lot of faith to pursue my dreams,” she tells us. “I felt early on that gifts and talents are to be shared, so I gained confidence in thinking that my musical abilities would be of value to the world.”

To celebrate the release of her sultry new single, Good Idea, we spoke with Harmony about the importance of discussing mental health within her music, and how her Mormon upbringing influenced her artistry.

When did you realise you have a knack for singing? 
When my mum told me to stop yelling. And when I’d make old men cry at church.

How would you describe your sound? 
Raw. Honest. Emotional. Dynamic. 

You were raised as part of a Mormon family – how has your upbringing influenced you as an artist?
Being raised in a Latter-Day-Saint household gave me a lot of faith to pursue my dreams. I felt early on that gifts and talents are to be shared, so I gained confidence in thinking that my musical abilities would be of value to the world. I also felt incredibly suppressed, and unseen in a big family, so singing and performing was a place for me to be free and to bask in some much needed attention…

Harmony Byrne shot by Gil Gilmour

I love your new single Good Idea – what was the inspiration behind the song? 
Thank you. Well, I was working on a farm in Norway which had me reflecting on life. Same-sex marriage was legalised in Australia that year and I thought ‘yay!’ and I also thought, ‘Ah gosh, we have so far to go.’ It’s about the choices we make that can have an indelible impact on ourselves and others.

Mental health has been a recurring theme in your music – why is it so important for you to talk about?
We never really spoke about mental health growing up, which made me feel like it wasn’t allowed to be spoken about. But I want to encourage transparency and bravery for all people to speak about what goes on inside their heads, so we can learn to better support each other. I guess it reoccurs as a theme in my music because music is kinda like therapy and my creative way of processing my experiences.

Do you think artists should be more outspoken about mental health issues?
Hmm… I don’t think anyone should speak about mental health if they don’t want to. It’s a very personal thing. I hope, though, that artists feel like they can speak about mental health if there’s a safe space and that we support them in being open.

Can we expect similar themes on your debut LP? 
I guess you’ll have to wait and find out for yourself!

What can we expect from you for the rest of 2020?
Don’t expect anything so then even the smallest blip will be a surprise and you’ll love it! LP dropping at some point soon!

Watch the music video to Harmony Byrne’s new single Good Idea below.

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