Harrison has one of those voices you know you’ve listened to somewhere before. If you’re a dance music fan, you heard him at festivals a few years ago on David Guetta and Glowinthedark’s “Ain’t a Party” or “Earthquake” with Hardwell.
A rarity in the world of electronic dance music, Harrison both sings and produces – in the studio and in live sets – and has been leaving his mark in more ways than one.
These collaborations, plus work with Alok, Steve Aoki, Dannic, Knife Party, and Thomas Gold, have pushed him into the spotlight. Yet, Harrison is not just an EDM singer: Rather, as new single “Praise You” shows, he lends his vocals and puts together all of the rhythms and sounds.
Similar to “Tell Me Why,” his collaboration with Alok that reworked Bronski Beat’s classic “Smalltown Boy,” “Praise You” offers a unique and modern spin on Fatboy Slim’s seminal 1999 track that stands on its own.
Like other dance music producers, Harrison has looked to give other up-and-comers a leg up in the industry and, as a way to pay it forward, started his own label, Outlaw Records. We had a chance to speak with him about “Praise You” and his career to date:
Your latest single “Praise You” came out this month. Why did you decide to update the classic Fatboy Slim track?
I’ve always loved this track and wanted to give it a rework. When I first thought about doing this song, I didn’t believe that I would be given permission. Then when I looked into it, my management got it over the line, but it did take eight months.
How did you go about creating this track, from production to vocals?
I always start with the drums and build. I get a basic structure and melody, change sounds, then add my vocals, and really polish it up from there. I can normally spend up to three weeks on a track, but if it’s a really good one, I can get away with a week. Sometimes, you just have to let go and remember you loved it at one time and stop adding things and changing them.
How did collaborating with David Guetta help your career?
It did open a few doors like the Steve Aoki collab, but the rest I did off my own back. Working with Hardwell did a lot more for me.
You’re both a vocalist and producer, which is rare. Which did you get started on first?
Vocals got me noticed first – it’s easy for a DJ to feature an artist, as they have the first name and give no credit to the vocalist, and it doesn’t even show up on Spotify – then production, but I was producing dance music since I was 14. I just needed a way into the music industry.
How would you describe your sound as a producer?
Well, I used to be super EDM, but it just didn’t feel right so I guess I’m more of a Meduza-meets-Calvin Harris, and they had a musical love child. I kinda fit in that bit.
You have several collaborations with major EDM producers. How do you approach a collaboration as a vocalist versus as a producer?
I was making the backing tracks for almost all of my collabs, so I was giving big DJs my songs 100% done and they would just put their name on it and put it on the labels.
But, then my solo stuff, labels wouldn’t touch, as they said I had featured too much and was just a singer, but actually that was such a lie. I would ghost produce and give my songs away, as I wanted to make money to survive, so it was a vicious circle.
Thankfully, I’m known on my own right now and signed to Universal, but It was a really difficult time for me.
Like many EDM producers, you started your own label, Outlaw. Why did you decide to start your own imprint?
I just wanted to give people on the outside with no help a leg up. Yhat’s why I called it Outlaw. Unfortunately, it’s on hold right now, as I’m working on my own platform to be bigger, so I can put more tracks out on Outlaw – as videos and content and marketing.
It’s a big thing and with no shows and Covid – it’s hard to make content for it and create socially distant videos and so on, as well as the Harrison project on top.
What are your goals for your label?
Just to help younger guys get to a major and be noticed.
Many producers have been putting together and releasing new music while sheltering in place. What have you been up to? Should we expect any additional releases?
I have loads of new music coming and finished, but actually, I’ve spent a lot of time kitesurfing and paramotoring!
As a singer, vocalist, and label owner, where would you like to see your career go?
I don’t know. I guess we will see, but I’d like to have a number one in the U.K. before I retire.