Haroula’s vivid voice has the ability to take you on a unique musical journey – an element much needed in her genre. Her songs are smooth, but hard to put a label on. As she states on her myspace page, her music fits within the categories of indie, folk and alternative. Haroula (whose name in Greek means Joy) was born in Lincolnwood, just outside Chicago to Greek parents. The Greek-American singer/songwriter talks to us about her solo EP: Someday, her background, and her upcoming full album.
When did you know you wanted to become a musician?
I have always been a singer. But I love to write songs too. I have so many journals full of lyrics and poems that could be songs, for years now. I sang in choirs in junior high and high school, and an a capella group in college, had some bands as well…I played violin in the orchestra when I was young so I can read music, but I picked up the guitar when I was about 17. I thought I would be a teacher though – or that I would go onto graduate school or something. I never really thought I could do music professionally because no one had done so in my family or anything, but then I fell into a job after college at a recording studio when they asked me to sing for some commercials and then I worked there as a producer and sang sometimes too. I guess I always enjoyed music but didn’t fully realize I could do it professionally until more recently. Now it is the only thing I am focusing on and I haven’t looked back. It’s the only thing I’ve ever done where I don’t think about what other job I could be doing, so that’s a sign for me that I know I am in the right place.
Where are you originally from in Greece?
I was born in Lincolnwood, just outside Chicago, but my parents are from Greece and moved to the States in the 60’s. But now I have my Greek passport too. When I was living in Europe (in Madrid) for two years, I loved it so much that I want to be able to go back and live there again someday.
What is the inspiration for your music?
Stories I’ve read, places I’ve traveled, feelings I’ve experienced, things I observe all around me, the idea of potential or everything that could be but isn’t…films I’ve seen….Inspiration can come from anywhere really. Sometimes it comes from an emotion or phrase that can evolve into a whole song. Other times it is unexpected and comes from nowhere and becomes a song or musical composition. I like those times when it isn’t planned and it just flows out of me in minutes. There are times when the smallest and quickest moment of experimentation create a feeling for a song and that is cool too.
What is the word that most characterizes your music?
Wistful maybe? You tell me!
Does your Greek heritage influence your music? How?
I like to think it does. My mother has a beautiful voice and both my parents listen to music a lot. We would always have Greek music on in the house and I had to learn Greek dance when I was younger in school too, so I heard it in different contexts. I love the sounds of the bouzouki and the clarinet, and how Greek words are so specific. They can really tell a deep story and the phrasing and pronunciation sounds so interesting over the instrumentation in a lot of Greek songs.
When did you come to Hollywood and how do you like it here?
I moved to Los Angeles about two years ago and I like it very much. It takes time, but I like it more and more because I feel a sense of community the more time that goes on. There are a lot of talented and interesting people here, so that always keeps me inspired and helps me maintain the momentum for creativity.
Tell us a few words about your album.
Well, the EP ‘Someday’ is a set of five songs I wrote and released on my own last year. It was really fun to collaborate with my good friend on the artwork and be really involved in the production of it. I met some really good musicians throughout that process too. The producer and I would work on it sporadically at his studio in North Hollywood, maybe a day a week or something, so it took a few months to finish. One of the songs, the title track actually, was just licensed to a TV show last month and that was cool to hear it on TV.
What are your upcoming projects?
I recently finished a full album of 12 songs in Athens, Georgia with Andy Lemaster, a really awesome producer and musician down there. It was so much fun to be in a totally new place and completely creative space for weeks on end until it was finished. Now I am looking to send it to labels and stuff for a proper release so I hope that happens sooner than later….I have a whole bunch of new songs to record already and I am excited about going on tour. I am also working on writing and composing music for friends’ films and TV projects which is always fun and keeps me busy.