"That girl's got a voice". This is the type of reaction that UK-born recording artist Harlee would get any time she sang in front of people growing up in a small town in Cheshire, England. Today, this 17 year old is the newest signing to Steve Madden's record label, 5Towns Records.
Harlee has been singing and songwriting since age 11, when she began covering songs and posting them on her YouTube channel. At 12, she was performing wherever she could in cities like Liverpool and Manchester. By 13, she was penning her own tracks. And this summer, at 17, after years of honing her craft, she signed a record deal with 5Towns Records and released her debut single "Holding On". Already, Harlee's music feels both vulnerable and self-assured, which is rare for a new artist.
Steve Madden Music caught up with Harlee while she was in NYC to talk about how it felt to have her own song single out during our photo shoot with the singer-songwriter. We were also treated to an exclusive (and her very first) acoustic performance of "Holding On".
It only takes one listen to Harlee's debut single, "Holding On", to know she is very much a natural. The track itself-an upbeat, syncopated jam-is immediately danceable, but Harlee's vocals supercharge it. She delivers lines about the emotional turmoil of struggling with a transition period ("It hurts like hell to let go / That's why I'm holding on") with maturity and a bit of swagger; Her richly-textured alto is equal parts grit and grace.