I am jamming to my own music and observing the beauty of the Thames. Suddenly I notice that a crowd gathered right before the Tate Modern after the Millennium Bridge. In a haste, I take my headphones off, just to be enchanted by a street busker called Harry Marshall. Something about his music, the way he is singing, the way he played the guitar is different, unusual, unique. I nod my head smiling, taking videos and found myself wanting to cry at the same time.
After the musician plays some popular Adele, Lewis Capaldi, and Ed Sheeran tunes, he starts playing some of his original songs as well. The honest lyrics and the narrative supported by his personal explanation before intensifies the audible experience even more.
“High Hopes” is a song about Marshall auditioning for a big record label for the first time. A rejection followed and he wrote that piece to vocalise his frustration. That song got him his first real contract with TMG records afterwards.
In the interview after his show he lets me know that although he had been signed, he suffered unbelievable financial difficulties due to the pandemic. As an Australian musician, he had not eligible for any financial support during the Covid 19 outbreak and had to work in part-time jobs like being a waiter to provide for the bare minimum.
Marshall also tells me that he quit his daytime job a week ago to be a full-time musician again.
“The last week have definitely been the best part of the pandemic. Everything else was awful”.
The accessibility and infinite options of London were the aspects that brought him here in the first place, so he says. He describes his time in the pandemic as “losing two years”, since he had all his hopes for 21 and then had to cancel his upcoming tour and concerts because of the outbreak that followed shortly.
After asking for his advice for young artists who want to start a career, he answers, “try to be as good as possible”. Trying new things would get you where you want to end up at the end. “I am satisfied with where I am now even though I always want to improve further. It is a constant journey of progress.”
Finally, I wanted to know what makes his music unique. “Why should anyone listen to your music instead of anything else?”. He smiles, “because it makes you want to dance at the same times as it makes you want to cry.”
Yes, I think, yes, that is exactly how I felt as well.