Harlis Sweetwater is a nationally touring artist from Orange County, CA. His albums have appeared on Itunes Top 200 Best Selling Albums with songs charting in the Top 200 charts in Ireland, The U.S., New Zealand, and Sweden. In February, he released his song "All Tore Up." The song climbed from #127 to #68 on the Itunes Singer /Songwriter chart.
Harlis is a soulful singer, guitarist, and songwriter, passionate about creating music with no borders, free from the limitations of genres, styles, or trends. "All music is soul music." he says, "If a song is good, then it's good and should be listened to with an open mind and soul. What's important is, does the song make a connection and resonate with the listener?"
Harlis definitely exemplifies his musical perspectives and demonstrates his soulful roots with his new captivating single "Mexican Rose.'' What stands out immediately is the stacked and backing vocals that raise the frequency and vibration of the record to a heavenly level. Harlis's full, strong, and very masculine yet vulnerable vocals are sung with honesty and passion. It's rare to hear a true voice of a rock star in today's day and age. It's intensely refreshing.
The production has us swaying back and forth, taken by the soulful drums and guitar, we enter a trance. "I'm down on my knees, howling like a wolf, cause I want you so bad, I just got I just got to be your man." Harris's performance is undeniably heartfelt.
Towards the end of the record, the guitar solo gives us a sonically soothing and wild experience reminiscent of Santana at Woodstock. "Mexican Rose" is the kind of song that leaves you both breathless and full of life.
Welcome to BuzzMusic, Harlis Sweetwater, and congratulations on your new single "Mexican Rose." This is one of our favorite new songs! Can you tell us a bit of the exact moment that sparked "Mexican Rose" to be created?
Yes! I was messing around with my guitar, playing some minor blues chords, and incorporating different vibes and feels. I started thinking of a waltz which led me to a Mexican waltz, The rhythm morphed into its own thing, but the theme remained. The lyrics were born from a longing for a woman or a love that isn't available or seems to be so out of reach. There are blues in that, of course. It all came together very quickly and easily, but more importantly, it was an overall nod to my Mexican roots and heritage. I knew that I wanted a Spanish classical guitar and mariachi horns to give it that Mexican vibe during the recording. I'm really happy with the way that it came out. The opportunity came up to release it on My Grito, which is an Orange County Chicano-run record label, and it seemed to make perfect sense to work with them on the release.
"Mexican Rose" sounds like a classic, timeless record. One we would hear in the cinema during an epic scene. With this release, is there a specific feeling or image you wanted to get across to your listeners?
For me, it's one of the most beautiful songs that I've written and recorded. I'm very proud of it. I hope that people feel its longing and passion, as well as the beauty of the music and soulfulness of the instrumentation. I think there are a lot of really cool layers to it, as well as some cool changes musically. I just hope people can lose themselves in the song and enjoy it.
The liveliness of this record is unmatched! We can imagine that you've attended many concerts growing up. Is there one that sticks out the most to you? One that may be inspired your own stage presence to evolve?
I've been to some really cool shows and seen a lot of now-legendary bands or artists. Foo Fighters are always really rad. Their energy is through the roof. I saw Sublime at a small restaurant in Ocean Beach back in the day before they got big. That was pretty badass... I've seen Country music legend Merle Haggard and blues legend Buddy Guy, and so many killer punk bands and local artists in between. But it's really playing my music live for people and that live connection that I've come to appreciate. It was a real eye-opener with covid and the pandemic pausing live music for a couple of years. So being absolutely emotionally and mentally present and at the moment when I'm performing and feeding off the vibe and energy of the music and the crowd, however big or small, is what truly inspires me.
We're curious to know when and how did your musical journey begin?
Well, it goes back a long way. I've been playing music for as long as I can remember. My mom always played music in the house and had really great records. She would blast music early in the mornings when she was getting ready for work. My Dad had some really cool vinyl too! I started as a kid putting on little concerts with my neighborhood friends in my garage and playing air guitar while singing along to records to actually learning how to play guitar and sing, Then quickly becoming obsessed with music and performing. Though my appreciation for how amazing music is has come to me more recently, I know I've always loved it and couldn't do without it. There hasn't been a day in my life since the age of 11 or 12 that I wasn't doing SOMETHING music-related.
What's next for you?
Well, I'm happy to say I will be back on the road! It's been a while, so Im super stoked to be rollin' wheels again. March 19, we will be performing at SXSW, which is a bucket list thing for me! I've wanted to play SXSW for years. Also, we have some festivals in San Diego and Arizona and club dates in Washington state, and more dates will be added as well. It's gonna be a lot of fun to be playing live music and traveling again. Other than that, I have new music coming. I have two EPs planned. An acoustic one and a full-throttle band one, as well as another single that features some very special legendary guest players, which will be released on the My Grito label.