We love finding artists that are quirky and edgy and Los Angeles-based artist Ace Harper is exactly that. Her creative flare is not just limited to music, but is also rooted in her first love: dance. Her electric, punk-infused music that started with “Neon Heart” is a telling sign of what and where music is headed. There are no longer genres because of artists like Ace Harper. Her unique style is one of pure creativity and genuine love for what she does.
And fortunately for us, the budding star had a few moments to spare to chat about her style, developing the idea for her new single for “Mouth Wide Open”, and working with mixer Mike Crossey and ENDS director Daniel Iglesias, Jr. on the “Mouth Wide Open” music video. Enjoy!
Lemonade Magazine: Hey Ace! Thanks for taking the time chat. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Ace Harper: I’m originally from a small town in Oklahoma, but now live in Los Angeles. I feel lucky to be given a passion in life. I knew what I wanted to do since I was 3 years old when I begged my mom to put me in dance class. Art has saved my life and been the only thing to help me survive by escaping all the emotions I have on any given day. I love to be in a creative process and that brings me so much happiness. I love conceptualizing everything from start to finish. I begin with what I think is important to say lyrically, to the visual that goes along with it, to creative directing my live show with my choreographer.
LM: I love when art becomes a life and obsession, because it shows the dedication. You have a unique sound that is highly stylized. How would you describe your sound?
Ace: There are so many different kinds of music that I like and that influence who I am as an artist. I grew up in the dance world and studied everything from ballet to hip-hop so I was always surrounded by a vast range of musical styles.
I describe my sound as electro-punk. It has an electronic element to it, but lyrically I seem to always have a feminist message or something about the craziness that lives in my head. I feel there are no rules anymore about sticking to one specific genre. A lot of my songs sound different from each other and I like that because I want my live show to take the audience on a journey and have dynamics.
LM: Having a strong dance background, how does that inspire your music and on stage show?
Ace: When I’m writing a song, I’m already thinking of the live and visual part of it. That is where I’m the most confident and feel at home is on stage. I’ve learned that I like aggressive sounds because that moves me and lends itself to a more exciting performance. I have two beautiful dancers that are combination of performance art meets Bob Fosse. Fosse was such an influential choreographer and his style is so timeless and original. I like my dancers to do the unexpected and go against the music at points. I will always be a dancer at heart. It’s just who I am as an artist even though I focus on music now.
LM: You just released your second single and music video for “Mouth Wide Open”. What inspired the single?
Ace: I had this visual in my head of an orgasming mouth and I wanted to take that hyper-sexualized image and turn it on its head. I believe that some men only think of woman as sexual objects, but the song is about using your thoughts and ideas to take people down with the words that come out of your mouth. There is a movement happening right now with all the woman coming forward and saying #MeToo, I believe this song speaks to that as well and is very timely at the moment. Women are incredibly strong creatures, but I’m so glad that we are having these conversations on a national level.
LM: It is an absolute must that we have these conversations and that it is becoming more widespread through music and art too. Working with a famed mixer in Mike Crossey (The 1975, Twenty One Pilots) and ENDS director, Daniel Iglesias Jr. (X Ambassadors, The Neighbourhood,) had to have been a trip. What was it like working with them?
Ace: I was so grateful to work with Mike Crossey. I have been such a big fan of his work and the bands he has worked with like Arctic Monkeys, The Black Keys, Foals and of course, The 1975, so it was really such a honor. Mike just has an impeccable ear and taste level. I always thought there was something extra special about this song but when I heard the mix for the first time I was blown away. It was exactly what I imagined it to be and he sprinkled his post-punk fairy dust on it!
Daniel [Iglesias, Jr.] is such a gifted director and I love his aesthetic. It was so wild because he came to me with this concept and I had already started gathering inspirational visuals of the exact same idea. I like to call those ‘God Shots.’ We were totally in alignment. I had never seen this animated collage art done in an entire video before. There are so many messages within the art as well. I was really inspired by feminist artist Linder Sterling.
Mike and Daniel were both guys I really wanted to work with and as an artist you must advocate for yourself and I always say, “the worst they can say is no” so I’d say to anyone go after what you want because they might just say yes!
LM: We use that mantra here at Lemonade too! If they say no, we move on, but those yeses are worth it! So with the release of the latest music video, what else is on the docket for you as we head into the New Year?
Ace: I’m constantly writing new songs and I’m going to be performing live. I anticipate an EP release as well. As long as I’m in a creative process I’m happy and that is my main goal…to be happy.
LM: We are looking forward to the EP and thank you again, Ace!
Check out the new video for “Mouth Wide Open” by Ace Harper and do not forget to pick up both singles, “Neon Heart” and “Mouth Wide Open” on iTunes now!