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HARLI - Interview

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by Tema (subscribe)
Write because you want to, not because you have to.
Published November 15th 2018
With thanks to Oh Hello PR for the interview opportunity.

Image supplied by Oh Hello PR


The latest artist to break into the Adelaide scene is Mahalia Barr-Mashei aka HARLI. With a style that can appeal to a wide audience, through her smooth vocals, her relaxing and minimalistic style of electro / pop music, and relatable lyrics that are filled with deep and poignant meaning, it won't be a surprise to see her latest single Satisfied make its way to your summer / road trip / ultra chill playlists!

Born and raised in the Adelaide foothills, HARLI has grown in popularity in the music scene with her latest single Satisfied, which was produced and co-written by Universal Music Publishing's Liam Quinn and had over 5000 plays on Spotify and 18,000 plays on Soundcloud since its release in early 2018.

Having recently been nominated as a finalist for Best Electronic Artist at the SA Music Awards, HARLI is continuing to kick goals and accomplish successful milestones along her journey in her music career. Taking her musical talents with her, HARLI has not only performed solo, but has also collaborated with incredible artists, such as Guy Sebastian at the Thebarton Theatre in 2017.

I was fortunate enough to have an e-interview with HARLI through Oh Hello PR, where I learned more about the lady behind the name and how breaking into the music scene in Adelaide has treated her so far. Have a read of our exchange below:

Tema: So, who is HARLI?
Harli: Depends who's asking? Haha. I was born Mahalia, but from since I can remember people have called me Harli. I've been performing under my name Mahalia Barr-Mashei for years… but it only felt natural to release my original music from this year under HARLI. I honestly have been called every name you can imagine; bubbly, caring, happy, moody, blunt… you name it! I think there is a superficial bubbly side to WHO Harli is, but also just as shy and dorky at the same time. I am super ambitious, always have been. I have been had a determination with my creative energy and output and honestly just want to share that with the world.

Image supplied by Oh Hello PR, photography by BOEM HEAD SHOTS


Tema: What do you think about the music scene here in Adelaide / SA?
Harli: From the people looking in, such as those from interstate, I don't know if they would realise some of the incredible talent that comes from Adelaide. I actually sang on stage with Guy Sebastian last year! Adelaide is his hometown and look at where he is. I also studied music with Jess Kent, who is doing amazing things in LA, and what about SIA? So, yeah, Adelaide produces some mega talent. And we can't forget the Adelaide Fringe - the largest festival in Australia. The only thing that gets me down is that there is not a high demand of producers, managers and labels working from Adelaide - so artists tend to feel they need to go interstate to make something of their music career, which I don't think is the case.

Tema: How would you describe your style of music?
Harli: Emotive and lyrically driven. I don't fit in one particular genre, I never have. I've studied jazz music and contemporary voice, which is why I call myself a Pop/EDM/Indie artist.

Tema: What influences would you like to highlight, in terms of inspiring you to chase your dreams and break into the music scene?
Harli: My passion and drive for music is something that is out of my control, and that alone is the driving force of what keeps me chasing my dreams.

Tema: What does the creative process look like, with regards to coming up with the lyrics to your songs, the tunes that flow with it, and the general messages?
Harli: It always starts with a melody, and then the lyrics follow. The general message is based on a feeling or a theme, typically something that's personal to me - or an experience that I've lived.

Tema: Do you regularly perform at certain venues / gigs or are there any plans in-store in the future?
Harli: I've been performing at venues, bars, pub, weddings for a long time. I've also written, directed as well as performed in Adelaide Fringe shows for the past few years. One of the shows took over 12 months to produce, and it was a show that was shortlisted for an award. I've got bigger plans for my original music - releasing my EP in December and then launching my EP live in early 2019. There are big things on the horizon for the music that I've created.

Tema: What do you think has been challenging about finding your footing in the music scene in Adelaide / SA?
Harli: Adelaide is limiting, in terms of opportunity. As mentioned earlier, there is not really an established successful label that runs from Adelaide. A lot of the talented producers I know and have worked with have either moved to Melbourne or Sydney.

Image supplied by Oh Hello PR, photography by Neon Theory


Tema: Being nominated for the SA Music Awards, how does that make you feel?
Harli: Humbled! Very humbled. And because it's SA, which is my hometown! It's a great feeling to be supported by locals, because it reminds me of why I'm here.

Tema: What's different about your sound, compared to what's playing on the radio right now?
Harli: I think every singer has a unique tone. I like to think my tone and sound is refined, mainly because I've been singing for so long and have worked very hard to sound like me and keep the authenticity about who I am. If I think about what's on the radio right now, there is some amazing music in the world today! How I am different - definitely my tone and the style of singer that I am, meshed with the production has created something really cool.

Tema: What's the driving force behind your music?
Harli: Ambition - it's a creative force, almost out of my own control. It's something that defines my future and goals and keeps me going every single day. Whether I am planning something new, like a music video or writing something new. It's never-ending, because it's part of my DNA.

Tema: Where do you see HARLI in five years?
Harli: Content. All I ever want to be is content in what I am sharing with the world. Honestly what matters to me is that the response from the public with the music that I release is a strong positive response, and from that comes more success and much more exposure. Yes, I want to tour, be an ARIA charting Australian artist, have more people follow my music online, but what truly matters is that I am content in what I am doing, and being authentic throughout every experience and journey.

Follow HARLI on her social media platforms:
Instagram // Facebook // Triple J Unearthed // Spotify // iTunes // Twitter

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Why? Electro/pop will never go out of style!
When: Whenever you want to listen to music!
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