Discover Harry Marshall

Clocking more than 16 hours a week of live performing, gigging, and busking around the streets of London, is more than a sign of relentless work ethic. It is a clear case of tunnel-vision-talent-driven chasing of dreams. The down-under native Harry Marshall took no stop-overs from a fourteen-year-old taking on local pubs’ stages in his small hometown to selling out London’s Omeara and crystalizing into a full-fledged recording artist.

Australian-born, North-London-based Hary Marshall represents a traditional go-getter creative who leaves nothing up to chance. Not relying on a viral TikTok moment or a stroke of simple luck, Marshall is in charge of his destiny, in a full-blown obsession with the musician-audience live show exchange, to the point where he might do three busking sets a day.

In our conversation, Marshall shares one of his recent singles, ‘Je T’adore,’ sonically explains “this bizarre dynamic.” But the show’s current star is his latest offering, ‘Cost Of Living,’ yes you guessed it, is a social commentary on the ‘what the hell is happening’ in our society.

‘Cost Of Living’ is more than a punk-rock earworm. It’s a politically-charged representation of nationwide frustration but with a catchy melody and layered unfiltered lyricism.

Discover Harry Marshall and learn more about his transcontinental journey and one-to-watch talent.

To ease us in, as an Aussie living in London, are there any Aussie spots in London that remind you of home?

No not really actually. Although there is one pub called The East Putney Tavern that sells Bundaberg Rum which is the most popular spirit where I am from, so whenever I’m in the area I drop in and have one or two and relish in the nostalgia for a short while. 

What are some Aussie phrases you miss hearing on daily basis?

I miss hearing ’Struth’ and ‘Fair dinkum’ constantly used in conversation. But most of all I just miss spinning a yarn (having a chat) with my mates from back home. 

How did your family react to you wanting to pursue a singing career across the pond, and essentially move out of your hometown?

I have always been blessed to have such a supportive family. I think they always knew I would get the hell out of dodge and chase my dreams, so when the time came they were nothing but supportive and still are, and I love them for that. 

What were the main differences you noticed after moving from Australia to London?

It was a shock to see just how prevalent the class system is in this country. I’d never been snubbed for being a working class lad from a blue collar town in Australia, but over here it seemed to be a point of contention for some people. Thats what my newest single is about really, all the problems tied into that topic. Also on a brighter note, the pubs here are absolutely amazing, I love them!

What do your days usually look like?

Well a standard day for me is to wake up and hit the gym, I train at a great little boxing gym here in North London. Then I’ll go home, have my daily call with my manager and get ready, then hit Central London where I do around three busking sets. After I finish busking I head home and head to either a songwriting session, pub gig or rehearsal. Each of those will go until around 11pm/midnight and then I head home and get some rest for the next day. There really isn’t much time off these days! 

What do you love the most about being a musician?

Live performance. A lot of people think I’m crazy for how many hours I do performing a week (sometime up to 16 hours) but I don’t care. I started my career playing in tiny outs at 14 and haven’t stopped since. It’s the reason I started being a musician and I’m lucky that I get do hours of it every week and call it my job. 

In April 2019, you sold out London’s Omeara, could you take us back? How did it feel performing there as a first venue you visited when you moved to London?

To this day that was probably our best show yet even though we have sold out bigger venues since. We were just on fire that gig, and looking back I am very proud to say I sold out a venue the prestigious and that large within two years of arriving to London. It was a very proud moment for me and if anyone is reading this article that was there, thank you so much for helping make a dream of mine come true. 

Could you elaborate on the inspiration of ‘Je T’adore’?

‘Je T’adore’ is a very theatrical take on the bizarre dynamic of the relationship between a performer and their audience. I wrote that when I was living in Paris in 2016 and it stayed in my head over the years. I’ve always been interested in why playing live makes me feel the way I do and how it has made me dedicate my life to it. In the end, the people who listen to my music and come to my shows understand, and I love them for that.

What made you want to write a song about the cost of living?

Well as a working class musician trying to keep afloat in London I am also feeling the pinch from the current crisis, but really, ‘Cost of Living’ is about my personal experience and frustration with the cost of living crisis in London and across the country. The struggle to make ends meet as a full-time musician in this city is relatable to many people who work hard to make a living in a country where the cost of living is as high as it is here. The song is just a simple commentary on the economic inequality that exists in our society, where those who are already struggling to get by are often hit the hardest by rising prices and stagnant wages

In your opinion, what are some other social commentary songs that effectively got their point across?

I think the song ‘Hypersonic Missiles’ by Sam Fender was a great commentary about seeing the state of the world through the eyes of a young person coming of age. I think Sam is doing a great job of that in his music in general. 

Are there any underrated Australian acts you think we should listen to?

Charlie Collins is an amazing Australian artist that is on the up. It’s just great indie rock with awesome lyrics and I don’t think she has gotten the recognition she deserves just yet, go check her out. 

What are you planning for this year?

We have been away from the London live scene for over a year now putting this record together. This year is going to have some pretty special live shows and a lot of new music that I think is my best work yet, and I can’t wait for you all to hear it! 

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Words: Karolina Kramplova