“My entire life, I used to be actually afraid to play my music in entrance of others,” says Harkin. “I didn’t contemplate myself a author, ever. As a toddler, I’d inform myself that if I need to be a singer, I’ll simply need to do cowl songs. Even enjoying guitar in entrance of individuals was bodily debilitating. I’d sweat and shake.”
Harkin, who lives in Fort Collins, says the trajectory of her life modified after attending a psychedelic retreat in Brazil in 2016, the place she participated in a plant medication ceremony. She drank ayahuasca, a conventional Amazonian psychotropic brew that’s mentioned to be quickly efficient and therapeutic for melancholy, post-traumatic problems, anxiousness and extra. Harkin was requested to carry out throughout the ceremony, and she or he says the worry she carried together with her for years started lifting from her shoulders. From that time on, the previous hair stylist began to pursue music once more.
“The expertise had a domino impact,” she says. “It opened up all of the songwriting and music for me.”
The 26-year-old musician, who performs the guitar, Native American flute, African harp, keyboards and banjo, began penning increasingly more songs. She additionally started paying to attend ayahuasca ceremonies, cacao ceremonies and yoga lessons in her hometown of Austin, Texas, desperate to additional her information of plant medication and proceed on her journey of self-discovery. Harkin says it was in these ceremonial settings that she felt protected and impressed to share her music — particularly, songs about therapeutic.
“Once I would carry out, feelings would come up, and I must transfer via them in actual time in entrance of everybody, which was laborious,” says Harkin, who attributes a few of her worry to having a troublesome childhood and being bullied at school. “But having this neighborhood of like-minded folks allowed me to reveal my genuine self, nurture my craft and actually let myself obtain consideration — one thing I had by no means felt positive I used to be worthy of earlier than.”
On her latest physique of labor, To Heal Her, Harkin chronicles her inward journey. The seven-track heartfelt EP, which is now accessible to stream, celebrates her self-discovery and empowerment from the previous three to 4 years. Stuffed with grounding lyrics, the folk-meets-tribal songs shed perception on the highs and lows of the vocalist getting reacquainted together with her true nature whereas inspecting herself via sincere eyes.
“We’ve got to go inward and look inside earlier than we will actually be there for others externally,” says Harkin. “I’ve additionally realized that when worry comes up, do what you’re afraid of anyway.”
With themes of nature, love and humanity, To Heal Her is texturally layered with soothing acoustic guitar, banjo, saxophone, flute and orchestral strings, with every composition fluidly nestling into the following.
“When scripting this EP, the songs got here in full kind. I’d get an inclination to seize my journal and let the songs pour out, which got here with full lyrics,” Harkin remembers. “I attempted to not meddle with the method, and if there have been some minor tweaks, I did them later and saved it minimal.”
Harkin greatest describes her fashion as folk-medicine music, whereas others have referred to it as “naked ft on grass.”
“I took my time to make this venture. I actually listened and went over the songs meticulously,” says Harkin. “It may take twenty instances of listening to a recording for an thought to floor, like including a concord layer, a shaker or one other instrument. I used to be attempting to fine-tune these little subtleties to texture my songs and add noticeable taste, which made them vibrant and energetic.”
Within the opening reduce, “All Issues Develop,” Harkin added an ‘Oooh’ and put some delays and reverb into the music to create an even bigger atmosphere. “With ‘I Noticed Myself,’ I enhanced it with some xylophone, banjo and tambourines,” she says, “and on ‘My Love for You,’ I performed a calabash — a squash drum produced from a hollowed-out gourd.”
Harkin says one of many major causes that she and her accomplice moved to Colorado final Might was to be nearer to nature and the mountains. “Dwelling on this state is an efficient hub for what I’m doing, as a result of it’s extra progressive than Austin,” she provides.
She says her want is to proceed to domesticate reside music in Fort Collins, Denver, Boulder and past. “Earlier than COVID, I did play some espresso outlets and breweries again in Austin, however now I’m specific about enjoying these sorts of venues and like to focus on ceremonial performances particularly, which continues to be a live-music setting,” Harkin says. “It’s only a totally different strategy to a conventional live performance; it’s reframing what that music expertise appears to be like like and bringing forth extra connection.”
To Heal Her is accessible now on all streaming platforms. For extra data on Haley Harkin, go to haleyharkin.com/music.