An Interview with Harper Dhadde - 11/8/2020
Updated: Jun 15, 2021
Interview by Claire Liu - Illinois, U.S.
The work behind a song is strenuous and enormous, often divided among dozens of people experienced in writing, producing, or performing. For singer-producer-songwriter Harper Dhadde, it is her consistent work.
Harper Dhadde is an independent artist based in the suburbs of Chicago in Illinois. She took an early interest in music as a child, eventually learning to play multiple instruments (such as the piano, violin, and bass) along with regular vocal lessons. After finding an aversion to most traditional school subjects, Dhadde was sure in her passion and dedication to music for most of her life, though her journey of pursuing it was not quite as simple.
Through the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic which started in the spring of her senior year, Dhadde was able to regroup and focus more on her music in quarantine. She attributes much of her success to the release of her first song: "2009." Dhadde served as the creator of this song in its entirety, putting in the hours for writing, producing, mixing, performing, releasing, and promoting the single on her own. After taking this first step, she was able to release her first EP, "Low City," as well.
In regards to her songwriting process, Dhadde admits to being a bit of a perfectionist. In her digital audio workspace she has files upon files of revisions and demos of each song she releases. "It takes a lot of revisions to get a song out," she says, "... I'm just very particular about getting it perfect." This results in dozens of lyrics, melodies, and beats saved on Dhadde's files. She is constantly learning and working, consistently working and streaming on platforms such as YouTube and Twitch.
"I'm always putting out content because I'm always looking for more ways to connect with more people," Dhadde says.
One of her these projects is her new single, "Pick Up the Phone," which was released today (11/13/2020) on Spotify, YouTube, and SoundCloud. Though the title may seem fun and lighthearted, Dhadde attests to the meaning behind her song.
"All of my songs have a deeper meaning, I don't think... I'm not good at writing love songs," Harper laughs. This is especially true for her new single. In "Pick Up the Phone," Dhadde references her childhood experiences of harassment and bullying in school.
"When I was a kid, I was overweight and bullied a lot. For being overweight, for being silly, for being weird... for all these things that were just about me," Dhadde recalls. After undergoing a metamorphosis early on in high school, she found that many of her previous antagonizers began approaching her with invitations to parties and other social events. Rebuking their offers, Dhadde chose to stay true to herself. In the song, "Pick Up the Phone," she encourages others to do the same by reminding them that they are worth more than those who had put them down.
For this single, Dhadde hopes that listeners will pay special attention to the lyrics. "The song itself sounds like a typical pop song... but the lyrics are what you take with you," she says. Dhadde strives to encourage people and remind them that "they can do anything" and that there is no obligation to go back to people who have not supported them through thick and thin.
In the process for writing this song, lyrics came very easily to Dhadde. As the sole creator of the song, Dhadde was responsible for writing the lyrics, melodies, beats, as well as producing, mixing, and performing the single. Without professional training, Dhadde was left on her own to learn the tricks and tools of the trade. One of her most important resources has been following producers and songwriters on social media.
As a big fan of K-pop, Dhadde finds many of her producer role models in the K-pop industry, such as Pdogg from Big Hit Entertainment (BTS) and Eden from KQ Entertainment (ATEEZ). By following artists and creators from all around the world on social media, Dhadde is constantly learning and experimenting with new sounds in her music. These pages are vital to her growth as an artist as she cites them as some of her greatest teachers. However, she is also starkly aware of the gender divide in the music production industry. Out of the dozens of producers she follows, very few do not identify as male.
"I realize how focused music production is on men," Dhadde says. "The pages I'm following... many of them are just catered towards a male audience." She is very conscious of the female minority in music production and hopes that in the future, diversity in the industry will increase. This starts, she argues, by opening the appeal of music production to more diverse audiences, especially in regards to the gender spectrum.
Nevertheless, Dhadde continues to work independently and create more content in the future. From her new single, "Pick Up the Phone," to her last EP, it is clear that Dhadde is taking charge of her life as an artist. Despite facing challenges that range from the technical to the emotional, she is excited to continue making music and hopes that her voice can reach greater audiences in the world. Regardless of what she does, we can't wait to see what she has ready for the future.
This or That with Harper Dhadde:
1. Books or movies? - Movies
2. Winter or summer? - Summer
3. Singing or dancing? - I can't choose!
4. Cake or pie? - Cake (anything with fruit fillings!)
5. Chocolate or vanilla? - Chocolate
You can connect and follow Harper at the following links!
Pick Up the Phone (Official MV): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eeueiaWijo8&feature=youtu.be
Note: You can also find one of Harper's demos (TRUST) on our videos/music page as well as our Lemon Meringue page on Project Said!