Interview – Jennie Harluk

Your first introduction to Calgary’s Jennie Harluk may be through the gorgeous covers you can find on her YouTube page, but don’t stop there. Considering she’s been at it since the age of 10, this singer-songwriter can hold her own when it comes to writing her truth (“they’re straight from some part of my life and heart!”) and belting it out like nobody’s business.

From the first note sung on “Blame It On Me”, I thought, “this girl’s got SOUL!” Who are some artists that moved you in this way growing up? Any newer artists now?

I grew up on country music and I think at my heart I’ll always have a bit of roots and soul. I loved Carrie Underwood, Faith Hill, and Shania Twain growing up, but as I began shifting gears genre-wise, I became really inspired by Julia Michaels, JP Saxe, James Bay, Lennon Stella, and so many others! I’ve also really admired Olivia Rodrigo lately for the vast variety of songs on her debut album. It gives me excitement and hope that genres are more fluid now!

Some artists have said that songwriting is similar to writing in a diary. Can you relate to that? Is there ever a limit on how personal you get?

I definitely think my songs are like a diary. It’s a funny thing because songs are always open to interpretation and people relate to them in different ways. I get extremely personal in my songs, but in a way that is more secretive or very discrete. Ways in which only I know are personal or certain metaphors that represent certain situations in my own life that are very deep, but to an outside listener they’d never know it was straight from my life! So it’s definitely a balance of making songs personal enough that they feel raw and true, but the extra mile comes in more of a secretive way that only I know about! It’s hard for me to write a song that I don’t relate to, so while some songs are very personal and some are lighter, all in all, they’re straight from some part of my life and heart!

Most 10-year-olds are just figuring out their favourite hobbies, but at that point, you were already performing! What was it that kept you motivated at such a young age?

This is an interesting coincidence because just the other day I watched a video of myself at 10 years old singing in my middle school talent show. After that show, my parents started to find me other places I could sing like at piano concerts, and by enrolling me in The Young Canadians for a year! I’m not sure it has ever been a motivation thing. It’s just like breathing and I always loved it too much to stop.

I came across some gorgeous covers on your YouTube page including Bruce Springsteen, Kelsea Ballerini, and Leon Bridges. What draws you to an artist/song to cover them?

It’s usually off the cuff when I realize a song is stuck in my head and so I sit down at the piano or with my guitar and fool around with it for a bit! I usually have to remind myself to record so I have something to post but the songs I choose are usually the ones that have been on my mind that day! I also have a thing for making fast happy songs slow and sad haha! So if I love a catchy song, I like turning it into a ballad and seeing what people think.

What are your plans for the next six months?

Continuing to write!

Connect with Jennie Harluk:

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