Harry Nathan is not your typical dream pop artist. Sure, his hooks are infectious, and his vocals are perfectly sultry, but it's the bigger picture that he sees-and subsequently presents- that sets him apart from all the rest. Known for his creative ingenuity not just in the studio but behind a camera as well, he doesn't just write music, he delivers an entire experience. An experience that is nostalgic yet quirky, reminiscent of a carefree youth and wide-open future.
To celebrate the release of his debut EP, Songs About Dreams About Her, Nathan shares an exclusive playlist filled with his favourite current and past sun-kissed tunes.
Tinged with summer rooftop breezes and warm city lights, this is a mature playlist filled with a carefully curated blend of loved classics and soulful melodies. "Living in Los Angeles, I'm surrounded by a lot of disco, funk and soul music, it's a huge part of the culture out here and I feel like that plays a massive part in my musical influence," Nathan shares. Unlike most artists, though, his influence doesn't just stop at other songs. Fully committed to his craft, he is currently completing a Master's at Berklee for Songwriting, a certification that goes deeper than just lyrical compositions. "It really has been fascinating as I am forced daily to submit songs in odd keys and experiment with different writing styles. I was petrified at first, with the whole class hearing your odd idea that you had to complete in a day, but it really forces you beyond your comfort zone and to not judge your own work too harshly. Most of the songs on this EP started off as Berklee homework, like 'Fool For Your Love' which I recorded it into the mic of those white Apple headphones, in a tiny beach side shack in Mykonos, with the girl I wrote it for sitting in the room."
Nathan isn't just a songwriter, though. His music is rarely contained within a prescribed box of trending topics and dramatic press releases. His debut single, "Rooftops" gained much critical acclaim. Not just for its production, but for the music video. More specifically, it was nominated for 28 Independent film awards, and has won 15 awards to date, including Best Fantasy Film at the Los Angeles Film Awards, Best Music Video at the Sydney Short Film Festival, and Best Music Video at the New York Film Awards. Despite all that, the most impressive fact remains that it was all done independently, with friends. "I made 'Rooftops' with my best friends Odeya Rush and Ryan Lee. Odeya also made her directorial debut and blew us all away with her vision. We definitely treated it as a short film, every detail was inspired by our own quirky take on life, from the hamburger phone to the retro costumes, and turning an old chapel into a prom. We made Rooftops independently, no record label or outside funding, just a burning desire to make something fun with our friends and tell stories in our own way."
When watching "Rooftops", there is a strong urge to make the comparison to Wes Anderson- the fixation on inanimate objects, the symmetry, the bursts of colours. It's a commentary on not only the cinematography, but on Nathan's vision for his music. Passionate and witty, it's the kind of music that can pull at your heartstrings if you let it, but you will always find a smile on your face when listening. Just like in a Wes Anderson movie, the emotions are cloaked with charming, almost childlike wonder, helping us escape from the mundane and into the extraordinary.
Songs About Dreams About Her closes out with a slow, ambient track- "Blue Eyed Girl." Composed in a non traditional fashion, it features distorted vocals and otherworldly synths, divining a departure from Nathan's effortless pop, and a journey into something even more inspired. "This EP is my first complete body of work, I wrote it from start to end as I documented a relationship I was in at the time. 'Blue Eyed Girl', which is the closing song, takes us to a new world sonically in the chorus, as if to signify closure and a different perspective. I'm definitely moving toward a funkier sound. It feels like closure and a fitting ending to the EP. Every experience in our life is there for us for our betterment and growth, every experience we've had we take with us to our new reality."