Check out our interview with Calgary artist Jennie Harluk who just released her heart-burning new single “Be Your Friend.”
Layered with lush piano chords, the track navigates through the gut-wrenching nostalgia and longing of wanting to be intimate with someone again. “Be Your Friend” applies to any ex whom you can’t friendzone due to history and leftover emotions.
For Jennie, music runs in her DNA – growing up in a musical household, she was bouncing to AC/DC in her jumping chair and by the time she turned 10, she was already performing regularly and writing songs with a secondhand guitar that her dad gave her. 2021 has been a year of releasing new music that has garnered praises from tastemakers including PopWrapped, Calgary Guardian, The Honey Pop, and more. “Be Your Friend” is a preview of her debut record, which she’ll be revealing more details in 2022.
Follow Jennie @jennieharluk
Hi Jennie, please tell us a little about you?
My name is Jennie Harluk and I’m originally from Calgary, Canada. I’ve been performing and writing my own songs since I was 10. Outside of music, I’m also a content creator and have done photography/videography work for my own music videos as well as for brands. I also have my own clothing line named Little Willow, which I launched in 2021. I definitely love to keep myself busy and find different ways to be creative.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Bubbly, old soul, colourful.
How did you get started in the business?
Music has always been in and around me, my parents always had music on while I was growing up, my dad sings and writes himself as well. It’s just always been ingrained in me. When I was ten my parents started seeking out opportunities for me to perform in public and for larger crowds so I did some festivals and competitions and talent shows, as well as began writing my own music and eventually released my first song when I was 13! That song and a few others I’d released after are no longer available but friends and family still know them as the songs that started my love of creating and sharing music for sure.
How has this changed your life?
Music has always been my release and I think it lets me process and work through everything in life through something I love! I’ve met so many amazing people, created amazing things and have always loved seeing how what I love to create connects with others. It’s a special thing.
Describe your sound in 3 words?
Elevated, Influential and organic!
Who influenced you and why did you choose to make music?
So many influences but some would be my dad, Faith Hill, Carrie Underwood, Brandi Carlisle early on… and now influences like JP Saxe, Taylor Swift, Sabrina Carpenter and Conan Gray have been big for my inspiration!
Do you play any instrument?
I play both piano and guitar! But I think between the two, piano is definitely my favorite to play and write on.
Do you ever get nervous?
Honestly no, not to a great extent at least. Maybe I get jitters or butterflies in a positive way before performing but as soon as I’m on stage or in front of people and starting a song, I’m right at home!
Tell us about your new single “Be Your Friend?”
“Be Your Friend” is a simple, beautifully melancholy track about the inner struggle of seeing a person you’ve parted from but still love, and realizing you don’t want to be friends with them; you don’t want to pretend there’s no history, you don’t want to be civil – you want them back. Even if it hurts, or isn’t right, you can’t help but feel that pull to familiarity, comfort, and nostalgia of an old love.
What’s the story behind the song?
I wrote “Be Your Friend” with the goal to create a magnetic, almost agonizingly heart throbbing feeling. The swell of the chorus symbolizes the tightening of your chest when you see that person. The subtle imperfections of phrasing and breaths – the song really impersonates an overwhelming feeling towards a person you love but are trying not to. I think lots of people have had a crush or someone they’re really interested in that doesn’t like them back, or a person they were once in a relationship with that didn’t work out but it’s just so hard to stay apart from each other. Ultimately, the song is just about that hopelessly romantic longing for someone who knows you so well, every inch of you, and struggling with the reality that you’re not together… but maybe it should be.
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
When a total stranger reaches out and tells me they relate, feel connected or just love the music! Never gets old knowing my music makes people feel something!
What book should every entrepreneur read?
Wow I’m not sure! Would love to know others’ answers haha!
What would say are the greatest lessons you learned so far?
Chasing trends, hot topics, and the next-best-thing is exhausting. You will never have the whole world in your hand and please everyone, but if you stay genuine to yourself, create and release the music or content that is authentic to you, the perfect and right fans will find you!
How would your best friend describe you?
Probably a bubbly mess of new business and song ideas! She’s my go – to for every new idea!
If you are a book, what would be the title of the book and why?
Work In Progress… because, aren’t we all?
What’s next for Jennie Harluk for 2022?
I’m very excited to be releasing more and new music, and working towards art and words that are completely authentic to me! I’ve loved sharing my heart through my songs and can’t wait to keep connecting with people through my music.
What is your favorite healthy food?
I could probably eat Greek salad everyday of my life haha!
And your favorite cheat food?
How would you explain your fashion style?
Experimental! I love trying out different styles and different vibes for different events. I’m a huge lover of thrifting so I guess I could also say eclectic!
What is your own definition of happiness?
To recognize people, situations and life may not always work out or be ideal, but not letting that stop you from finding bliss, love and enjoyment in it anyways.
Do you support any charity?
Every December I participate in an incredible fundraiser called Dressember that raises awareness for victims in and out of human trafficking and stopping human trafficking all together. For 31 days of December, participants wear a dress or a skirt because we have a CHOICE and are advocating for those that don’t. It’s a very humbling cause and I’m always so happy to be apart of it!
Where do you see yourself and your career in 5 years from now?
I hope to have released an album by then and have grown genuine connection with fans! You never know where life takes you but I’m so excited to find out!
Favorite song? Why?
One of my all-time favorite songs is “hold my girl” by George Ezra. That song to me is what love feels like. It just tightens my chest and makes me feel like great great loves do exist, in big crowds and quiet corners. And I think “be your friend” lines up a lot with that song and I hope I encapsulated the same feeling!
What do you think of Social Media?
Personally, I love it. I find so so so much joy in exploring my creativity on social media and I think it’s a constant place of inspiration. It can also be a dark place and I’ve been lucky to have a swift, great experience.
Where we can follow you?
Book: where the red fern grows by Wilson Rawls
Quote: “the end is always good so if it’s not good now then it’s not the end!”
Movie: Hmmm maybe Spider-Man (the original!)
Tv Series: Dexter
Favorite Food: Been loving ramen on cold winter days!
Travel Destination: Banff is only a half hour drive from my house but I always love it!
Sports Team: Not a sports fan unfortunately!
Photo Credit: Fadi Atiyeh