Meet The Harmaleighs, composed of 23 year-olders, Haley Grant and Kaylee Japerson. The folk duo met in college and instantly bonded over chips and queso. Since then, they have played alongside some of their favorite artists, including Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. With their new songs that tell stories about “the joy that comes with living,” they are hoping to become favorites of their own of the old and young. Take a listen to their first single, “I Keep Ticking On,” off of their debut album, Pretty Pictures, Dirty Brush, and continue reading to learn more about The Harmaleighs.
Gadfly Online: Can you provide us with some background? Where are you from? What made you pursue a career in music?
The Harmaleighs: Hi! First off, thanks so much for ‘talking’ with us! We are a folk duo based out of Nashville, Tennessee, but neither of us is actually from Music City.
Haley: I am from a suburb of Chicago called Carol Stream. I started writing stories and poetry when I was very little. I actually recently found a story that I wrote when I was six where the main character was named ‘Bernita’ (I thought that was hilarious). I started playing guitar when I was 16 and songwriting came shortly after that. I absolutely fell in love with the art immediately and knew that I did not want to pursue anything else but this.
Kaylee: I’m from the small town of Montrose, Colorado. I first started playing electric bass in my middle school jazz band at the age of 12 and fell in love with the instrument immediately. I didn’t come from a family of musicians, so I was really skeptical about being able to make a living as a musician full time. It wasn’t until I really thought about my future and what I would become and realized that I couldn’t do anything but play music, no matter the hardships that might come with it.
GO: How would you characterize your music? Do you fit into a stock genre or create a fusion of genres?
TH: We don’t feel that we fit into a genre box at all. We like to think that The Harmaleighs is the birth child of folk, Americana and a little bit of pop. The folk aspect comes more from our instrumentation—upright bass, acoustic guitar, mandolin, and banjo. The Americana-ness of us is our roots-inspired music and then we add some lyrical pop elements like catchy hooks and memorable melodies.
GO: Who would you cite as your musical influence?
H: I tend to focus in on certain artists and obsessively listen to their entire discography. My favorite artists include Brandi Carlile, Trampled By Turtles, Norah Jones & Jason Isbell.
K: My bass heroes growing up were Jaco Pastorius, Victor Wooten, and especially James Jamerson. My favorite artists always change but these few seem to stay constant—Fleetwood Mac, Brandi Carlile, Jason Isbell, and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.
GO: What project are you promoting right now? How does this fit into your overall career arc?
TH: We just released our first single called “I Keep Ticking On” on November 4th. It will also appear on our first full-length album coming out early 2015. We feel that this album is truly our introduction as a band. We finally achieved the sound that we have been striving for. The songs are the best that we have ever written and it feels like an exciting first step towards our career.
GO: What do you hope to communicate to listeners through your music? What does music mean to you?
TH: Our music is about sharing stories. We want people to be able to connect with our songs and feel something. To us, music is like therapy. We listen to upbeat and positive music to help bring up our moods, or sometimes we listen to soft singer-songwriters to create a calming vibe. We hope that we can create a vibe for our audience, be it dancing in your living room alone while cleaning, or in your headphones at a coffee shop while you try to focus in on your final term paper. We just want to create music that people can connect with and relate to.
GO: What can we expect from you in the future?
TH: We’re excited to hit the road hard starting in February, and we are extremely stoked to start doing house shows in cities across the United States. That will give us the opportunity to have really personable and intimate shows with our audience. This tour will be in support of our first full-length album, which will be released in early 2015.
GO: Whom is your music geared towards? How is it impacting them? In other words, why should we listen to your music and message?
TH: Our music is all about life and all of the crazy relationships, heartache, and joy that comes with living. We have sweet stories about being a kid saving up for your first trip to Disneyland to songs about feeling fragile in a bad relationship. We try to gear our music towards a wide audience and we hope that everyone from young to old can connect with it.
For more information about The Harmaleighs, visit their