30 seconds with... I Am Harlequin

I Am Harlequin is the alter ego of singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Anne Freier.

Anita Awbi
  • By Anita Awbi
  • 4 Apr 2012
  • min read
I Am Harlequin is the alter ego of singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Anne Freier.

Anne grew up in East Germany at the end of the GDR regime. After the wall came down, her parents introduced her to the world of opera and ballet, to which she took an instant liking.

Moving to London and studying music, Anne developed a sound defined by progressive structures, quirky lyrics and innovative arrangements. I am Harlequin music is indie pop with an electronic twist.

I Am Harlequin is a PRS for Music Featured Artist.

How long have you been making music?
Well I'm not sure writing my first English song at age seven counts, but I knew then and there - performing in my living room, that I wanted to be a musician one day. I then went on to study music in London and have been playing live in the city since 2005, first on my own, with my piano, and more recently with my wonderful, very talented live band.

What inspired your latest album?
That's a good question, because I have effectively written four over the last two years and so what you might eventually get as an album might be a mixture out of all them. I go through phases where I prefer certain genres or instruments. I am currently writing some more guitar based stuff with heavier electronic elements, but I'm not sure where it's coming from. I just sit down and try things. I do have some deeply rooted inspirations such as Kate Bush, Joni Mitchell, Ricky Lee Jones, Grace Slick, Prokofiev, Stephen Sondheim - artists I've listened to my whole life basically. They certainly have had and still have some sort of influence on my music.

What process do you go through to create your music?
Well I believe that a good song needs to have a stable core, so if you stripped all the instruments down to say piano or guitar plus vocals, it would still make a great song. And that is how I mostly approach my songs, by writing the core and then mixing and producing the rest. When I look at my ProTools session it feels a little like Tetris or Lego, finding the perfect match for that sound. And I tend to write lyrics as I go along. And they are also the one thing I finish up with, rewriting and changing bits here and there.

How would you describe your sound?
I like to mix genres, so it's difficult to define it under one term. I'm not a pure pop artist, nor is my music all electronic. I do have some folk pieces too and it's not all indie. I want my songs to sound different. To me there is nothing worse than an album where each track sounds the same.

What would your dream collaboration be?
I'm going to be collaborating with a choir on Wild One soon, which is amazing. And I would love to meet one of my greatest influences of course and have a session with them. But at this stage, and more realistically, I would really like to collaborate with a full orchestra on Because He Loves Them Both.

Where can we catch you performing next?
You can catch me at the Barfly on the 17 April or the Queen of Hoxton on the 21 April. I'm doing a very special little performance at Blacks on Dean Street on 21 May.