London based singer-songwriter and fashion designer I Am Harlequin, whose real name is Anne Freier, maybe one of the most ambitious new young artist around. The German-born multidisciplinary artist has been gaining massive support from music tastemakers across the UK after her first released, Wild One, which showcased her powerful voice and abilities to write lyrics with an equally powerful emotional punch.
She’s been writing music since the age of seven and her vast influences range from Michael Jackson to Whitney Houston and even Rickie Lee Jones. These same prominent pop icons also appear in I Am Harlquin’s fashion designs. Her designs are featured in her music videos, including in her most recently released Dance With Anyone.
I Am Harlequin was gracious enough to answer a few questions for us.
How would you describe your sound?
I’d like to think of it as disco-infused groove pop, inspired by a myriad of childhood influencers such as Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Kate Bush. It’s big, emotional and joyous and hopefully gets people up and dancing.
How would you describe your fashion designs?
Quirky, but wearable. I’m drawn to patterns and colour and I like to mix them up however I please. Fabrics often dictate the shapes and styles of a piece of clothing I make. I have made some different lines though, so the inspiration or overall idea can vary over time.
Why do you think fashion and music have always seemed like the perfect marriage?
To me, fashion is just another expression of the music. It’s like the visual explosion of what you hear. The two go hand in hand – are a perfect little package so to speak. It’s the marriage of your senses. Perhaps I should start spraying perfume and throwing cupcakes from the stage too so it becomes the full sensual experience 🙂 Or maybe that’s just taking guerrilla marketing a notch too far!?
You just released a new album. What can you tell us about it?
Actually I haven’t released any album yet. I’m taking my sweet time, but I also feel albums are a little outdated as a format. There’s so much music out there, it’s hard to capture someone’s attention long enough to make them sit through an entire album. Singles or even EPs are more refined, condensed versions of an artist’s musical expression. Perhaps I’ll work on my first album next year. If there is one, it’ll be a concept piece of work.
You now live in London but you grew up in Germany during an important period in that country. Does that period influence your music now?
It’s actually my parents who grew up during the height of the GDR. I wasn’t around yet. However, they tell endless stories and of course were hugely influenced by the regime. Much of popular music was forbidden in East Germany during that time. So my dad used a magnetic tape recorder to copy music from illegal vinyl records that were being passed around discreetly from person to person. With the fall of the Berlin wall he began to travel freely and collected first cassettes and later CDs. He still has a huge collection at home.
You wrote your first song at age 7. Do you remember what the song was about?
It was a mixture of Mariah Carey inspired lyrics infused with notions of an undying love for my stuffed bear.
You stopped designing for your own fashion label Onesome. Any chance you will bring it back?
Hopefully. Truthfully, it’s really difficult to run a commercial fashion label and do music full-time. Because all of the pieces are actually sewn by myself there really aren’t enough hours in the day to do both. If I could outsource the production or collaborate with a bigger fashion house on a little line that would be more viable in the future.
You’re very multitalented. Is there any other form of art you would like to try that you haven’t?
Thank you. I have greatly enjoyed the fine arts and writing, but I’ve yet to succeed at finishing a novel I’m actually happy with. That’s something I’ll be working on – slowly though. Novels can’t be rushed and I have no desire to write yet another one that ends up in the trash. (The first one I ever wrote was AWFUL!)
Lots of shows across the world, hopefully. I’d really like to tour with a good artist next year. In addition, there’ll be more singles, but also feature singles. And I’m currently songwriting and producing music for some other fab artists.