Half British/Jamaican and half French, Hendrix Harris has once again proven his prowess with his latest release, ‘Incentive’. This track embodies a nuanced fusion of musical styles, demonstrating Harris’ adeptness at effortlessly integrating R&B, soul, and hints of electronic influences. ‘Incentive’ commences with a sleek and otherworldly electronic beat that captivates listeners from the onset, laying the foundation for a poignant and engrossing tune. The seamless shifts between diverse musical components underscore Harris’ careful craftsmanship and precision.
In this conversation with him, Hendrix talked to us about his career, taking back control of his creative process, his cultural background, the industry, and the importance of staying true to his artistic vision.
Hendrix, what inspired the title “Incentive” for the first single from your upcoming LP?
I think it came before any other lyric I wrote for the song. I felt creatively stuck when I wrote Incentive. I had been doing sessions with different artists/producers and the drive to write something personal, to use writing as a therapy was fading away. I needed to find the urge to create again, regardless of any potential reward, of superficial incentives.
Can you share a specific lyric or moment from “Incentive” that holds particular significance for you, and explain its meaning?
“I was standing too close to put it all in perspective“. Sometimes when you’re doing something you love for quite a while and you’re not seeing the progress you expected, there might be tendencies to be unnecessarily harsh on yourself. All you need to do is take a step back, change lens and you’ll realize that the situation is not as dire as it first seemed.
I think it’s pretty self-explanatory.
How does the single “Incentive” reflect the essence of being an up-and-coming artist in the 21st century, as you have mentioned?
As artists, I think we all experience moments of self-doubt, and managing to channel this into our own creation is a luxury we should always be grateful for. That’s what I did with Incentive.
How has your diverse cultural background, with influences from London, Cuba, and French heritage, shaped your identity as an artist?
My music is as diverse as my identity. It stems from life, experiences, and places. I don’t consider myself deeply rooted in one exclusive culture. I am mixed race, a Mulatto, and I won’t let anyone try to box me into convenient one category/genre/culture. That’s what my multicultural background taught me.
Could you elaborate on the significance of your time in La Havana, Cuba, and how it has influenced your musical journey?
Music is seeping through the walls in Havana. Every corner of every street, every conversation is a melody, a rhythm. Witnessing this as a child changed the way I approached life and revealed to me what was gonna become my main love language.
As a multi-faceted artist—singer, rapper, composer, and producer—how do you balance these different aspects in your creative process?
I started out as a singer/songwriter, then I taught myself how to produce because of an obsession for control in my expression. When I record vocals I do it a certain way because I know exactly what’s happening in the production. All the intricacies of the process feed into one another resulting in my sound.
Your music is described as a unique fusion of genres. Can you discuss the specific genres that have inspired your sound, and how you blend them in your work?
Oh, there are too many genres to list here. Soul, folk, R&B, East Coast rap, son, trova, danzon, flamenco, bossa…
“The Hill” was featured on the FIFA 2022 soundtrack. How did this opportunity come about, and what did it mean to you to be part of such a prestigious project?
It came through my previous management who knew someone who knew someone… It was a massive honor as my generation grew up with this iconic game.
Your music has garnered attention from media outlets like Complex, Wonderland, Clash, and Colors. How do you handle the growing recognition, and does it impact your artistic approach?
To be honest, I take each praise as a blessing but tend to focus more on inner growth and becoming the artist I know I can be.
You mentioned the burden of loneliness in a toxic industry. How do you navigate the challenges of the music industry while staying true to your artistic vision?
Well, that’s it, I stay true to my artistic vision and never compromise. The challenge is to make people see, to make them feel. If the art is strong enough, I’m convinced they’ll eventually get it.
“Awakening” is described as your most honest and accomplished work to date. What should people expect from this material?
They’ll have to wait and see.
Can you share a moment during the creation of the album that was especially meaningful or transformative for you?
If I had to pick one I’d say sometime in 2022 while I was writing The Surge alone in my room. I was going through a whirlpool of emotions and found myself so distraught by a love entanglement gone awry I couldn’t really leave my house for two weeks. The first time I sang the line “You call me too conspicuous, I told you don’t be ridiculous…”, goosebumps went through my whole body, right then I knew this song was different.
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