INTERVIEW: Sinead Harnett

From being self aware during this ultra-confusing time, Sinead Harnett has turned her deep and honest thoughts into a time capsule through song. 

‘Quarantine Queen’ hears the British singer-songwriter questioning if the end of the world is near with the pandemic altering how we all live. And through that she starts to reflect on her life, the mistakes she’s made, the things she’s never done, and questions if she has ever really learned to love. 

Continuing her RNB sonic, the song sways through this doo-woop styled production that is minimalist but perfect for the mood the song embodies. It compliments the stylings of her critically acclaimed debut album ‘Lessons In Love’ 

The rising star is one of the most hyped about acts in the UK right now, and with her sophomore record on the way, the whole world is going to get to know the artist she truly wants to be. 

I recently chatted to Sinead Harnett about the personal inspiration behind being creative during this time and writing ‘Quarantine Queen’, explored the self-shot music video and reflected on how she’s grown since her debut album ‘Lessons In Love’. Check it out BELOW;

THOMAS BLEACH: ’Quarantine Queen’ is a song that perfectly captures this moment in time and sees you exploring the concept of not knowing what real love is before the world ends. So how did you approach how you wanted to sonically represent this song and feeling?

SINEAD HARNETT: The chords came to me whilst I was trying to sleep! I then worked them into an acapella version, and once that was done I could hear the production straight away. 

Piano is my best method of writing because I find it the easiest instrument to work out chords on. I knew the bass would need to SLAP to bring the right vibe to this song. 

TB: Lyrically there are so many relatable thoughts you unravel throughout this song. My favourite lyric would have to be “The chaos has gotten to my head. Like water, it fills with regret” There’s so much strong imagery there! But what is your favourite? 

SH: Ah, thank you so much! Gosh, I hadn’t even thought of this. I guess off the top of my head my favourite is “The world needs some loving. There’s so much gone bad, didn’t know just how good that we had it”, simply because I really feel we all took what we had for granted, and have been abusing the Earth far too much. 

Most of my songs are addressed to one person, so to write about a time like now was super new for me and a good challenge. 

TB: With the state of this pandemic, you wrote and recorded the song yourself in isolation and then directed and edited the accompanying music video yourself. How different was this hands on approach for you compared to how you usually put together a release?

SH: In a way it was liberating because what other choice do we really have right now? I could either sit feeling rather stagnant and depressed, or try to make the best out of a terrible situation. 

For the first few weeks of lockdown I felt really sad and uninspired, and almost like a selfish person to even think of releasing music. It felt weird, and sometimes still does, to be posting things when all this sadness is around us. But, after a while I knew if I did nothing I wouldn’t be helping anyone or myself at all. 

My fans have been so supportive and I’m forever grateful for them. It’s been fun doing this one by myself and realising how much can be achieved that way.

TB: The music video gives a little insight to your quarantine experience with you candidly in your room. You pan out to some very inspiring and relatable random things in your room like a painting and a quote. Reflecting on shooting the video, what was one of the most surprising things in your room that worked with the vision?

SH: I planned it all out beforehand, but I guess the quotes were quite surprising. Cards I’d received from family had such relatable quotes on them, so that was a surprise. 

TB: I noticed some vinyls hanging on your wall in the video, what has been your go to soundtrack for quarantine?

SH: I recently fell in love with disco music and have been listening to a radio show called ‘Glitterbox’ which always lifts my mood. My biggest love affair is with emotional R&B so I often stick on a playlist I made on Spotify with all the heartbreaking bangers on there. 

TB: You’ve been working on your highly anticipated sophomore record which is due later this year. Reflecting on the release of your debut album ‘Lessons In Love’ and where you are at now creatively, what would you say is the biggest thing you’ve learnt about yourself artistically?

SH: I think through growing as a person, in confidence and I guess maturity, I’ve learnt about a stronger side of myself. This next album will have a more self-assured tone due to this. 

I, like so many others, really struggled with anxiety and depression when I was a younger adult, and didn’t even really know what those things were until I’d been going through them for years. So to have come out the other side excites me for where I can take the music now. 

TB: What is the most surprising thing that people are going to hear or learn about you through this new chapter of music?

SH: I hope them seeing that growth will be exciting! I hope it will help encourage others to believe in themselves too.

TB: You’re no stranger to collaborating with working alongside the likes of Disclosure, Rudimental, and MNEK. So what is it that you personally love about the art of collaboration and what it’s helped you find within your own artistry? 

SH: It’s just so fun to bounce off of another’s energy and crazy when you work with people you’re a fan of. I love learning how others work and learning from them!

TB: I think it’s safe to say that we are all missing live music right now. When you reflect on all the shows you’ve seen and experienced, what is one that has inspired you as a performer and an artist? 

SH: Oh I don’t know where the list ends! Frank Ocean, James Blake, Solange, Sampha, Beyonce, Christina, Jessie J, Jennifer Hudson and H.E.R. to name a few! All so captivating and mesmerising in their entirely own unique way. Watching performances is like crack to me *laughs*. 

TB: Let’s play a quick game of rapid fire questions! You ready? 

SH: YASSSS!

TB: A TV show I have been binging during isolation is…

SH: This Is Us!

TB: If I could have any superpower it would be to…

SH: To Apparate like Harry Potter and the rest of the wizard crew!

TB: A word I know in another language is…

SH: Amigo!! 

TB: My pre show ritual involves…

SH: Jumping up and down to hype myself, vocal exercises, and team hugs with the band.

TB: Pineapple on pizza is…

SH: Not okay! 

‘Quarantine Queen’ is out now!