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Morgan Harper-Jones Shares New Single “Swimming Upstream”

November 29, 2022
 credit Katie Silvester

Morgan Harper-Jones Shares New Single “Swimming Upstream”

Following the release of the ‘While You Lay Sound Asleep’ EP back in March, Morgan Harper-Jones returns with brand new single, “Swimming Upstream”, out today on Play It Again Sam.

Recorded in Brighton, “Swimming Upstream” came out of ongoing sessions with producer Iain Archer (James Bay, Snow Patrol, Lisa Hannigan) and serves as taster of what’s to come from Morgan into 2023.

Harper-Jones has been charming audiences with her captivating live performances, and recently supported Spacey Jane on their UK tour. Her ‘While You Lay Sound Asleep’ EPgained critical praise from Clash, The Line of Best Fit, For The Rabbits, BBC 6 Music’s Guy Garvey and BBC Radio 1’s Sian Eleri.

Morgan says of the new single: “Swimming Upstream is mostly fictional. It came from an injury I had last year which took about 10 months to fully heal. I was so pissed off that I was missing going out dancing or hiking or on holidays with friends. And I met someone who had a terrible injury when they were younger, but it led them down a particular path in their life and they said how if it hadn’t happened they’d be totally different. I become a bit obsessed with reading about people who had suffered but were ultimately grateful for their suffering because of where it led them when they let go of fighting it.

“I’m not saying that bad things happen for a reason, I don’t think that’s very empathetic or even true. For me the frustration of what I was missing was hurting me more than the injury itself and opening up the idea that this could give me opportunities that I wouldn’t have otherwise made things calmer and smoother for me. It’s probably the first time I started to actively look for and appreciate what is, rather than obsessing over and struggling against what isn’t.”

Immediately this magical landscape just consumes the audience, delicate passages, atmospherical textures and this rhythmic pull. Morgan enriches the mystical landscape with this emotionally fuelled ethereal harmony, capturing such sincerity with the raw and intimate lyrics, leading the vision with this melancholic fusion. Morgan captures such power and beauty within the new release, a lasting ensemble which will soon emerge as addictive and essential.

Raised by her grandparents in Rochdale, Morgan Harper-Jones has always been an old soul. On car trips, she and her grandma would listen to Diana Ross and The Supremes, Otis Redding, Patsy Cline and old Motown classics on repeat, and at home in front of the telly, her favourite comedies were Norman Wisdom films, and the 70s sitcom George & Mildred.

Harper-Jones’ iPod Nano was loaded up with Joni Mitchell –  “I’d listen to ‘Blue’ every single day,” she smiles. “Nobody else knew this stuff, but I wasn’t bothered or aware of how odd I was”. In her free time, the musician likes to act like “I’m retired,” she laughs, and favours boogying to ABBA over late ones in clubs. “I’m in no way a rock star: I like getting up early, being in nature, and doing wholesome things.”

As a kid, Harper-Jones loved performing and writing melodramatic lyrics to belt out atop her keyboard’s demo settings, but it never occurred to her that she might become a musician one day. A good portion of her family were entertainers, playing in cover bands and performing at weddings, and songwriting was an integral part of their everyday life. “It’s just normal to me,” she explains, “everyone in my family wrote them. When I was born, my grandad wrote me a song, and we’ve all got our own song in the family.”

Harper-Jones wrote songs too, and eventually decided to throw herself into studying music full time at BIMM in Manchester. She still lives on the outskirts of the city now, and her bedroom-meets-studio looks out onto the green park where she volunteers as a gardener. Though still obsessed with Joni Mitchell, her contemporary influences include Aldous Harding, Andy Shauf, Okay Kaya, Big Thief’s Adriene Lenker, and St Vincent


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