On clear vinyl.
On a typically grey London afternoon in Autumn 2017, Honey Harper found himself in the Tate Britain, standing before JMW Turner’s painting The Decline of the Carthaginian Empire. The expression “found himself” is used intentionally here as its meaning in this scenario is twofold. Firstly, he quite literally found himself in front of the painting, registering his physicality in both this particular space and this moment in time and, secondly, he found himself awestruck and realized a new facet of his constantly evolving self-identity, the impact of which shaped his debut LP, ‘Starmaker’.
What may at first seem like disparate elements, Turner’s painting, or paintings, plural, as we’ll discover, and Honey Harper’s ‘Starmaker,’ are in reality intricately linked. Success and failure, love and melancholia, history and homage, beauty and the sublime, are all contradictions and themes which are not only present in both masterpieces, but central to their creation and existence.
Before moving to London, England in January 2015, Harper had only heard the name ‘Turner’ in passing. Born William Fussell in 1989 in Adel, Georgia (a small town near the Okefenokee Swamp) Harper’s family quickly relocated to Hollywood, Florida where he immersed himself in the arts more readily available in southern Florida: disco and country music. His father was an Elvis impersonator who introduced him to Waylon Jennings, Patsy Cline, and Hank Williams, and his mother watched ‘Grease’ with him every month introducing him to his lifelong style icon, Olivia Newton John. At the age of 10, Harper’s family returned to Georgia, this time to the suburbs of Atlanta, where he would spend his teenage years performing in both church choirs and punk bands. On the day of his eighteenth birthday, Harper left home, beginning his journey to become the Starmaker celebrated in his album’s title.
The name – ‘Starmaker’ – is inspired by the Joni Mitchell classic ‘Free Man in Paris,’ which is an ode to the stresses of having to play the game of the music industry. Co-written with his wife, Alana Pagnutti, the album is not a commentary on Mitchell’s words but it explores similar ideas about fame, fortune, and failure. “I’m the starmaker,” he offers. “These songs are primarily about my journey to create them. The album as a whole, is about my relationship with my wife and loved ones in the search of this success and fame.”
1. Green Shadows
2. In Light Of Us
3. The Day it Rained Forever
4. Something Relative
5. Tired Tower
6. Suzuki Dreams
7. Vaguely Satisfied
8. Someone Else’s Dream (ft. Austra)
9. Tomorrow Never Comes
10. Strawberry Lite
11. Starmaker (ft. Sébastien Tellier)