Pop singer-songwriter HARIZ released his EP Border in April of this year, followed by “Border III”, a three-part single with alternative versions of the song.
HARIZ is an artist to watch out for in the coming years, having already received attention for his Top 40 radio hits “I Got You” and “Remind Me”. His work has not only graced the airwaves numerous times, but it has also been featured on Tidal’s Ballad Heart playlist. In addition to its editorial promise, Border contains seamless collaborations with the likes of producer aldrch and recording artist Caroline Kole.
Musically, Border is an assortment of authentic emotion, earworm vocal melodies, and pointedly pop instrumentals. Although HARIZ cites opening track “Dark Room” as one of the most challenging to create on the EP, it seems to have been well worth the struggle. The tune masterfully inspires self-reflection in the listener, addressing darker parts of identity with impressive nuance. The upbeat guitar riffs of “Border” are a bouncing wave of hope and encouragement, off-setting the haunting melodies of “Dark Room”. HARIZ brings the energy back down for mellow pop ballad “Better to Lie”. Border finishes with another stand-out track: “Remind Me”. Ironically, the track’s catchy melodies leave no need for reminders–they’re unforgettable.
While the majority of HARIZ’s discography shines in a classic pop genre classification, his collaboration with aldrch on “Border III” brings out a never-before-heard, edgier side of the singer-songwriter. This more alternative-leaning version of the single adds new depth and flavor to HARIZ’s catalog, with a live drum kit sound replacing the original electronic pop beat and looser, more distorted guitar effects replacing the normally clean-sounding instrumentation. In “Border II”, Caroline Kole joins HARIZ for a verse and the choruses. The three versions of “Border” presented in the single give the listener a sense of just how much a few subtle changes in arrangement or energy can affect a song. From start to finish, it almost feels as if the listener is hearing three entirely different, exciting songs, rather than the same one multiple times.
We spoke with HARIZ about his earliest musical endeavors, newest music, and the inspiration behind it. Read the full interview below and check out Border now. Let us know what you think!
At what age did you start playing music?
I started playing music around the age of four, when my parents put me in classical piano classes. Even before then, my mom and I would sit down at a little electric keyboard we had and play “Heart and Soul”. I started writing my own music around age 11, when I just had a thought that if others could make me feel so connected, then I want to share my thoughts, feelings, and experiences… That all led me here.
Describe your sound in three words.
Fun, deep, sexy.
Talk about a defining moment in your career so far.
When I first heard my songs play on the radio, it was such a huge moment for me. I always had the dream as a kid that one day I'd be listening to myself in the car with my family and when it really happened, it just seemed so surreal. All I could think about was how happy little Hariz would be if he were here right now. What's so amazing is that every time I hear it is like the first time!
“I always had the dream as a kid that one day I'd be listening to myself in the car with my family and when it really happened, it just seemed so surreal.”
Who are your biggest musical influences?
I really don't have a select few musical inspirations and influences; it's kind of all over the place every single day–it constantly changes. At the moment I've been really vibing to Harry Styles, Doja Cat, and the Kid LAROI. I’ve also got a bunch of influences from 80s artists such as Lionel Richie, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, etc.
What message do you hope to send with your music?
That you're never alone. I think in today's world it's really easy to feel drowned out, like no one cares about how you feel or what you think. I hope to shed light and make as many people as I can feel that they are loved, cared for, and are important.
Tell us about your single “Border II”, featuring Caroline Kole.
Border is, in short, about hope. A part of hope is understanding that where you are at any given moment might not be exactly where you wanna be, but also understanding that life is going to change and it’ll all work out the way it’s supposed to. Maybe you’re suffering now, but this suffering is gonna make you appreciate the other side of things way more than if you didn’t experience the negative. After writing this song, Caroline was so awesome in writing her own verse to it, it made the song feel like it had another breath of life. Even though we had never met in person, she had gotten the message of “Border”, and gave it her own spin. It was a great collaboration; I'd love to do it again in the future.
“Maybe you’re suffering now, but this suffering is gonna make you appreciate the other side of things way more than if you didn’t experience the negative.”
Share a little bit about the Border EP.
The Border EP is an introspective look at myself. I wanted to write about my mentality and emotions through different experiences. Some have to do with relationships, some have to do with my battle of depression, and some are just about me being myself and growing up. I think the hardest song for me to write was “Dark Room”, because I was being honest with myself in the sense of how I handle my sadness. It was kind of hard to bring that out.
What’s next for HARIZ?
So much more new music, so many shows, and a bunch of nice little surprises in between!
Is there anything else you’d like people to know about you?
I want everyone to know how much I appreciate and love all the support that they've given me over the years. I would not have been able to do any of this without you, and I appreciate all the strength and fuel you all give me to keep going.