Without a doubt, one of the greatest joys of this job is the opportunity to discover new music on a daily basis. Giving out artist suggestions to friends, or listening to music passed onto me is always a fun and intriguing process.
In my search for emerging talent, I found a particularly interesting musician by the name of Harrison Brome, who’s raised in my home of Vancouver, Canada. At the time of discovery, Brome had only one track on his SoundCloud — the chillingly melancholic “Fill Your Brains.” It featured a distinct sound that was reflective of the somber landscape of our home, yet it possessed a unique style that is unlike others from the city.
This page is now decorated with three tracks, and with each release, the young artist has already displayed a more developed and diverse sonic breadth. The songs have garnered the attention of A&R’s from all over the continent who are eager to sign Harrison to a major label. Yet the 19-year-old singer-songwriter has prudently abstained from a record deal, opting to stay independent for now. He seems to possess a broad peripheral of his career as a whole with this well-calculated and confident decision.
Harrison tells me that he only discovered his unique talent by chance, when he completed his first composition around the age of 14, “I used to play around with some writing but I didn’t have much understanding as to how you actually structure a song.” The overwhelming support from that record helped him realize his talent and consider a future in music. He was raised to the sounds of Motown through his mother, “When I was really young I would always listen to Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding and Nina Simone. I feel that the whole R&B soul driven genre has definitely been a big influence on my sound.” His music tastes have shifted to more urban artists, citing “Power” by Young Thug and “Baby Blue” by Action Bronson as his current favorites.
Impressively, it only takes Harrison “about 4 or 5 hours to finish a song,” and from the track’s conception to the final product, the whole procedure is done almost exclusively by Harrison alone — a testament to his boundless creativity. So far, all his work have blended morose undertones with vibrant melodies. The resulting ballads are beautiful and tender, yet they incorporate a noticeable dose of subdued sadness. Harrison Brome describes his songwriting approach, “It’s not that I want to write about some depressing sh*t all the time. I just tend to make better music when I’m at my lowest” — perhaps a consequence of the gloomy weather which dominates most of the year in Vancouver. “The rain and grey skies for 6 months is kinda sh*t. I usually write the most amount of material during that time period though. It seems to keep me in the studio,” he adds.
Harrison Brome has employed a careful strategy leading up to the release of his yet-to-be-titled EP. His second song, “Midnight Island,” is an ode to Vancouver, written about his childhood quest of searching for a better place, only to find it in his home — metaphorically called “the tree of dreams.” And like his previous single “Fill Your Brains,” the music video’s narrative is congruent with the theme of its accompanying track.
Aside from being a muse, Vancouver also lends herself as a creative shelter to Harrison. The city is filled with friends who’ve graciously offered their assistance in various facets. “I’ve been thankful to be surrounded by such creative & supportive people who want nothing more than to help one another. It makes my creative process a breeze [...] I’ve got the best group of friends that are just down to support one another and so many of them are trying to make something of their own,” Harrison explains. Cast and crew of his two music videos have solely featured close friends of the musician.
The third track off the EP, titled “Pools,” is a stylistic departure from Harrison’s two previously released songs. However, while this is surprising to new-listeners, Harrison’s artistic progression is even more drastic when considering the multiple album’s worth of material he’s recorded in the past. “I’ve been cutting records for quite some time now so I feel like my style and sound over time has slowly been developing on its own.” In his five years of songwriting, Harrison’s heavy experimentation with his sound has organically lead to a genre-bending outcome, derived from his earlier folk, Motown, R&B and hip-hop influences.
Riding on the precipice of a major record label deal, Harrison’s burgeoning career did not come without significant sacrifices. Right before he was set to graduate, a confident Brome decided to drop out of high school to undertake a career in music full-time, proving his vast dedication to his craft. “Dropping out right before high school trying to pursue music sounds kinda crazy but I was dedicated and my family believed in me since day one. If I went back to school I wouldn’t be where I’m at now with my music. When my friends were going to school everyday I just spent my time making music. Most people thought I was making a huge mistake but that never really phased me,” he reasons.
The future looks bright for Harrison Brome. With his EP slated for release sometime this year, the young artist has already amassed a sizable online following — an impressive feat considering most of his promotion is done without large financial backing. Enjoy a HYPETRAK exclusive preview of his new track above, titled “700 Chilco,” and listen to his other releases on SoundCloud below.
Photography by Matt Bourne