Shelley Harland

Shelley Harland

Musical Discoveries: Please tell us a little bit about your background and how you were led to the Sleepthief project.

I was born in the UK and didn't really enter the music world until I moved to New York with my boyfriend, James, who was in a band called Stretch Princess. I was thrown into this beautiful world of creativity and I loved it! I began experimenting with a four-track and a guitar and found that I could write and compose songs quite naturally.

Before I knew it I'd written and recorded an album, had a manager, a publishing deal and was going on tour. I also began collaborating with other artists for their albums and it seemed to have a domino effect. Beginning with a collaboration with Josh Ryan I then went on to work with, Junkie XL, Pole Folder, Ferry Corsten, J-Punch, Rio Klein, Delerium, DJ Rap, Josh Abraham and even did some programming for John Cale (Velvet Underground) on his album Hobo Sapiens.

I met a fan of my music while I was on the Delerium tour, Darrin Brindle. We soon became very close friends, Darrin and his partner Mark have helped me with soooooooooo many things. They have been spreading the word online about my music and have got interviews for me, reviews, helped design my website, the list is endless. One of the interviews was with Musical Discoveries and that was how Justin found out about me. You can find the interview online.

Did you always know you wanted to be a musical artist?

Not at all. I was brought up in a very black/white--no grey area--environment. You go to school, get a job and start a family!! To try to "be someone" would definitely have been rocking the boat! But, I did have a little casio keyboard as a kid and and would sing infront of the mirror with a hairbrush which later progressed to karaoke nights! Luckily I met James who had been a musician all his life and fate took its course.

And what can you tell us about your musical and vocal training?

I have no musical or vocal training at all--it's all done by ear for me. (smiles)

Shelley Harland  

How would you characterise the song that you did on the Sleepthief album?

I always love working on music of all genres, be it ethereal, pop, acoustic, trip-hop, electronica, or trance, I felt like this was a great opportunity for me to work on a different kind of song.

Justin gave me the track and I wrote this one with james. I love the way "Desire of Ages" came together. I feel like it's a real journey.

Did you share any of the writing duties?

James and I wrote this together. (smiles)

Please compare the material to any that you have done on your own or with others.

I can't compare this song to any I've been involved with, it was a pleasure to sing.

And how was the project put together?

Justin approached me with the concept he had for his album and he had a particular track in mind for me which was already called "Desire of ages". He told me what he felt when making this track and we discussed that the meaning led towards the strength of love transending time. The music was very emotional to begin with so it felt natural that the lyrics flow with that feeling. I heard the vocal melody as soon as I listened to the track.

James and I wrote the lyrics shortly after, I love the layered vocals. When I sent the track to Justin he was excited and I sent him the vocal parts so he could mix the track.

  Shelley Harland

What kind of music do you find yourself listening to all the time?

I really enjoy a variety of music, one of my favorite artists is Morrissey, I love his voice and his honest lyrics; The Smiths, Depeche Mode, Radiohead, Bjork, The Cardigans, Milo, Daft Punk; I love classic disco and Motown, Jackson Five, Stevie Wonder, Frank Sinatra, Abba. And there's always a time for pop--Kylie Minogue, Beyonce, Madonna and songwriters, Joni Mitchell, Jude, James Harland-Wright. I'm a real mood person when comes to music, I love listening to latin music when I'm cooking, classical when I'm chilling, dance tunes when i'm getting ready to go out. The list goes on with no boundaries.

Do you have a career outside of music?

Music is my career but like most struggling muso's there's always an interesting collection of part time jobs along the way. Mine include, beauty therapist, nail technician, private detective and secretary to private detective in New York, restaurant host, hotel reception, and nanny. It all makes for good writing. (smiles)

What are your future plans as a musical artist?

To continue writing and recording, working with other artists as well. I'm working on getting a full band up and running which I'm excited about because most of my time has been spent writing instead of performing. In the next six months I'll be putting out an album called Sinking Shade which I've wanted to put out for a long while. It's the first songs I ever wrote and recorded all by myself and it's quite dark.

On the flip side the album I'm writing right now is quite different to any I've done before, it's more organic, guitars, uptempo. I've also been involved in a side-project for a few months and we'll release an album very soon. I have just begun experimenting with making music videos too so i intend to learn a lot more about it and keep trying to improve. I really enjoy editing.

I'm producing the next album for James Wright so I'm really excited about this as being my first "official" Harland Produced album. We've been working on a business that provides music for companies, film, tv, and other artists. The website is: You can get information here about James' up and coming album.

Shelley Harland  

What has it been like working the rest team on the Sleepthief project?

Most of the albums I've been featured on, I've either never met the artist or have met them long after the albums released. Because I work as a producer I usually record my own vocal and send the parts to the artist. This works out great because they don't have to fly me to where they are. It's quite a strange concept but it does allow me to work with people all over the world. I haven't met Justin--but i've spoken with him alot--it's a pleasure to work with someone so genuine.

How does it feel to share vocal work with some of the other artists on the album?

It's a real honor and definitely made the project exciting for me. I'm very picky when it comes to female vocalists and Justin has managed to get some of the best around the world. I admire his determination to see his vision through.

Do you think "image" has a role in promoting your music these days?

Definitely, image has always played a huge part in music and will continue to do so. I think as long as image accompanies a talented artist thats great, but when it's all about image and ten percent talent, it's a bit crap.

Has the internet brought you many new listeners, expanded your audience and improved your connection to the fans?

Yes, hugely. I'm very lucky people have been finding out about me from all over the world by word of mouth and the internet. You can visit my official website or find me at myspace.

More Shelley Harland:
Harland Salt Box Lane and Phoelar (2003)
Sleepthief The Dawnseeker (2006)

interview, review and HTML © R. W. Elliot 2006
images © Mark Eggleston and Harland Music 2006
Last updated 26 April 2006

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