After his sold-out gig in Mumbai, we had the chance to catch up with Harvey Leigh Cantwell who is famously known as HRVY. From being a presenter on BBC to signing with Universal Music at just age 13, this 19-year-old has come a long long way, in a short time. His passion for music and life reflects in his performances and it was a delight to catch him live, which was only made possible thanks to Tanaaz Bhatia from Bottomline Media and Virgin EMI records who ensured the India tour was a success. Here are the excerpts from our chat with him.
1. From being a TV presenter to signing with Universal Music, what has your journey been like?
I started singing when I was like 6 or 7 and I’ve had a passion for it my whole life. I was actually signed to Universal when I was 14, but I had to finish my schooling. While I was in my secondary school, CBBC asked if I wanted to be a presenter. So while I was in school, I could still do that. So, I finished school, finished presenting and then got signed back with Universal and now, I’m here.
2. With regards to your music and life, what would you say inspires you the most?
My mum! She’s a super happy person and is also very supportive, so yeah she’s definitely an inspiration. Other musicians also inspire me. Justin Timberlake is amazing. Ed Sheeran is another favourite, plus he’s British as well and he’s broken a lot of records. I aspire to be like that and I aspire to be happy. I like happy people and people who smile and a lot of people in India are really happy which is nice.
3. What got you started with music? Did you just stumble into it?
I’ve always been passionate about music. Since I was a baby, I’ve got videos of just bouncing around to music or a beat, or anything really. Since I was very young, I signed up for acting classes, singing classes and dance class, so it’s always been a part of me.
4. If you had the chance to collaborate with anyone on this planet, who would it be and why?
I think it would be Ed Sheeran because not only does he write amazing songs, but he’s British as well. It would be fun to collaborate with someone like him. I’d really like a little British collab.
5. If you weren’t a musician, what is the one thing you’d rather be?
Well, I’ve always wanted to travel the world, regardless if I was a singer or not. I’ve always loved English literature and languages, storytelling, etc. So I guess I’d say, a journalist! So I can get to travel the world and meet people and go to new places.
6. Considering it’s your first time in India, did you have any such thoughts or expectations?
You know, you see a lot of stuff on TV and videos that get shared around, so you kinda have this idea of what it’s going to be like. When I got here, some things were what I expected, but so much of it wasn’t. There are so many beautiful places I’ve ended up seeing and everyone is really nice. I honestly didn’t expect that. Some of the architecture here is beautiful as well! I haven’t been able to explore everything but I’ll get some time to do it.
7. What’s your message for all your fans in India?
I just want to say thank you, thank you so much! I love you guys and I’m definitely going to be back! What I want to say is, shukriya.
8. In terms of new music, do you have anything coming up? Maybe an album or something?
So, this year I’m going to be releasing more music. More singles and I’ve got a song coming out in the next few months. I’ve got a feature on it which is really cool and a new music video. I’m also going to be touring with The Vamps who have also been here. Hopefully this year, I’m going to come back to India. I’d love to come back before the end of this year.
9. What is your ultimate dream?
To be able to sell out stadiums all over the world and get to meet people who speak different languages, and hear them sing my songs, kinda like breaking the language barrier.
10. Five things people don’t know about HRVY?
Ahh, this is hard, I’m actually a pretty open book! I guess it would be that I’m actually a good boy! People think that since I’m a singer I’ll be all wild and out there partying, but I’m not. I’m a chill guy. I really like french fries, that’s pretty much what I’ve been eating while I’m here. In the UK I love Indian food and restaurants. I love chicken tikka masala and I love onion bhaji and lastly, my favourite song is Perfect by Ed Sheeran.
11. Five things on your 2018 bucket list?
Revisiting India, I want to be able to have a song in the top 10 charts, I want to go skydiving, I want to sing in an arena, and lastly, I want to travel to another country.
12. Lastly, what keeps you grounded and focussed?
I have an amazing team and they really keep everyone grounded and even my family is very grounded. Some people think that I’ve risen very quickly, but I have been doing this since I was about 13. So compared to other artists, it hasn’t been ages but I’ve been doing it for a good few years. I didn’t wake up one day with a million followers, it’s been a slow gradual build for about five years, so I’ve had to stay on track.
All in all, we can’t help but be excited about his new music and we truly can’t wait for him to be back in India. This young artist was truly a delight to get to know and we wish him all the best in his future endeavours!
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