Harvey Leigh Cantwel aka HRVY is the guy of every teenage girl’s dream. With sky blue eyes and a ruffled blonde hairdo, the 19 year old lad is a fountain of talent.
Seated at the Bottomline Media office, in a pair of torn jeans and a dark blue kurta, with his management team all around, when we meet HRVY, he’s like your boy next door, casual and down to earth. His first ever live performance at Hard Rock Cafe in Mumbai was sold out with many claiming his performance was truly astounding. He had the girls literally falling for him. His alluring face, million dollar smile and attractive looks, all go to make him a real charmer.
HRVY is today one of the most searched singers with his video Personal clocking about 50 million views to date. His songs Phobia, Holiday and the latest single Personal are hot favourites with teens, with their lyrics, most stemming from HRVY’s personal life experiences. HRVY is a social media sensation on platforms such as Instagram and Twitter Before his fame on social media, HRVY was a presenter on BBC’s Friday Download. After that he took to social media and released his first EP, Holiday on 25th July, 2017.
While his name is on every teens lips, we can’t but wonder, why the Londoner from Kent, chose HRVY and not his real name. We choose to find out this and lot more when The Teenager Today’s music columnist Verus Ferreira got exclusive access to the dashing youngster. Here are excerpts from that conversation:
So everyone wants to know the reason for the change in name. Can you tell us where the ‘a’ and ‘e’ disappeared?
My team thought we might take out the vowels ‘a’ and ‘e’, and see how it sounds and make my name sound a bit different. It just stuck
What music did you listen to while you were growing up?
I listened to U2, songs that my dad used to play in the car. I also like Justin Timberlake, he’s great, then there’s a singer Craig David from the UK and a lot of people who were on the charts while I was growing up.
So when did the real love for music light up in you?
Music got my fancy at a young age when I was like five or six when I first got to understand what music really was and really enjoyed listening to it. By the time I was 13, I decided that music was what I wanted to do. I had posted a cover of a song on Facebook called ‘Simply Amazing’ by American singer Trey Songz. I shared it around on Facebook and it got a lot of traction for me and it just reached a new high. Then my manager thought I should make a video of it with me singing in it and yeah that’s how it really clicked. So it was a Facebook video which appeared on YouTube.
Do songs like Phobia, Holiday, or Personal, give out a message to all your fans?
Well not really, I mean, we just write about how we feel which is a concept on how we all work. I like Holiday which is a bit of fun, while Phobia was like more of heart break song, and I know people would like that kind of stuff, it’s just got that romantic side to it.
So do these songs stem from your real life experiences?
Some of it kind of influenced it a bit, while some of it isn’t, and some is just made up. Well going back in time I liked this girl and so it comes from there. Well the songs are a little bit of my own experiences, and so like I said, like Personal has a line about my ex girlfriend, with a line... you used to flirt with your friends. And as I said I guess a lot is also made up.
Every artist goes to a lot of obstacles to reach the top, you have succeeded quite easily. How did you do it?
I feel like my career is only just started, and I am sure there will be some obstacles in the way in the future. I think for now it’s been pretty okay, I’ve been on the top, so I’m fine.
Your EP ‘Talk with Ya’ has both the songs Phobia and Personal. Phobia is slow, while Holiday is a bit up tempo. How do the fans react to such songs?
The fans really like Phobia because it’s much slower, while Personal is danceable, which is really good, so they get a chance to choose what they really like, they have both, songs that they can chill out to at a party and the other to just listen to.
Besides singing do play any musical instruments?
I really want to learn the piano; I think it’s a very beautiful instrument
So in the future what songs would you like to make, slow or maybe a few dance numbers?
I would like to release music that has everything, that has both slow and fast numbers.
Coming to your first visit to Mumbai, when you knew you were coming to India, what is the first thought that came to your mind?
I am really happy to be in India, even if it’s just 5 days. It’s amazing to see such a diverse culture out here. I love the people, they’re so friendly. Everyone who I met, asked me about how I liked the country. They were really very nice and kind to me.
So have you heard or watched any Bollywood movies?
I have heard a lot of Bollywood and there’s this actor that we have been talking about with my team, I think his name is Shah Rukh Khan and yes I want to watch his movies before I go or take some DVDs home with me.
You also have a tour with The Vamps coming up soon, are you also planning a collaboration with them also?
Yes I have a tour with them in March and about collaboration well who knows, we are all friends and it may happen. So for now, it’s just the tour with them and just have some fun and yes we want to come to India again. I love the country and will be here again soon. The Vamps are supposed to be on tour in India in June this year and I’m coming back with them.
Do you plan on shooting any music videos in India, considering that there have been many artists like Coldplay who have also shot videos here?
Now that I have been here I definitely want to shoot a video, and yes the next time we come to India, or maybe when we come in June and also at the end of the year, we may just decide on it. We would probably take in a bit of the Indian culture in it and yes wear something like this (points to his blue kurta).
So what are your dreams and aspirations?
To take over the world in a good way, musically have my music everywhere.
What are your future plans?
Just keep releasing songs and to release more music, travel around the world....... just to have fun.... really.
What memories would you take from India?
I take memories of the people, how they relate to me, the things I’ve seen on the streets, everything around me, the food. I want to try some street food, we haven’t really done that yet, we have kind of hotel food at the moment, so I want to try the dosa.
So finally we come to a question many girls would want to know. Do you have a girlfriend?
No (laughs). I don’t, I am single
Any message for your fans?
I love you guys, thank you for being so supportive, Shukriya.
Text and Photos by Verus Ferreira