Native New Zealander Might Sing in Northampton

Jess Harlen, a new singer from Australia with a stunning voice, has performed in Europe and Japan. Her next stop could be Northampton.

“I’d love to play there,” Harlen told the Valley Post recently. Her most popular single on YouTube, “Watch the Water,” was inspired while she was swimming in the warm ocean waters of Mexico – not too far from the U.S., she noted. A brilliant video of her performing that song is at:

Harlen writes all her own lyrics and music.

Harlen was born and spent the first few years of her life in New Zealand, before she moved with her family to Australia. “Both my parents are Maori,” she said. “I speak the Maori language.”

The Maori were living on the islands that make up today's New Zealand long before the first white settlers arrived in 1642. Today there are around 600,000 Maori people in New Zealand. About 4 million people live in New Zealand.

While Jess and her younger sister grew up in a suburb of Brisbane, their father worked the graveyard shift as a diesel truck mechanic and her mother was an elementary school teacher, Jess said.

In 2001, when she was 17, Jess started college. She has yet to graduate. “All I wanted to do was play music,” she said. After leaving “uni” she took a train to remote northern Queensland where she played music in pubs at night and worked harvesting and packing pineapples and other fruits and vegetables. In 2005, she moved to Australia’s music mecca, Melbourne. She has been there ever since, working an office job to pay the bills while she plays music in her free time. She gets paid a modest wage to sing with another band, Blue King Brown, which tours the globe.

“I hope to be a full-time, professional musician one day,” she said.

A Jess Harlen web site will soon be launched, she said. Her record label’s site is Harlen’s CD, "Neon Heartache," can be ordered there, and at The best tracks are “Watch the Water” and “Stay Baby Stay.”

Anyone who would like to see Jess Harlen play at the Iron Horse Music Hall can contact the club’s management by calling (413) 586-8686.


Click on photo to enlarge it.


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