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Dance With Anyone: An interview with I am Harlequin

Anne Freier, the music artist and fashion designer behind I am Harlequin talks to us about juggling both of her passions and her new summer infused single ‘Dance With Anyone’.

Written by Gemma Dietrich

i-am-harlequin profile 2
Anne Freier, aka I am Harlequin, has long had her toes dipped in both the fashion and music industries. The stylish, electro pop songstress and dress maker made big waves with previous release ‘Wild One’ which featured in the BAFTA award winning E4 series Skins. Her latest release ‘Dance With Anyone’ released on June 26th 2015 on Stop Being Cute Records is set to be a big summer hit having gained significant support online and across UK radio stations.

I Am Harlequin profile 3
What came first – music or dressmaking?
I’ve made music since I was a little kid. I used to belt Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston around the house until my parents told me to shut up! It’s what I’ve always wanted to do and I went on to study music in London after High School. Dressmaking followed when I ran out of good fashion options for a music video shoot. I was in desperate need for something original and ended up deciding to make something instead of endlessly scouring the web for it. One thing led to another and before I knew it, I was sewing for others, and eventually commercially.

Dance With Anyone

What inspired the video for your latest single ‘Dance With Anyone’?
I really wanted to make a video with a more summery feel. The song ‘Dance with Anyone’ has that feel-good summer vibe but I don’t live on the beach. I live in the big city surrounded by concrete and the occasional green spots. ‘Dance with Anyone’ is my tribute to a summer in London. The performances by Rosie and Jenny are both beautiful and edgy, highlighting that contrast. They find each other in the end. Frankly, I love a good dance and I hope the video gets one or the other viewer moving, shaking, snogging…

I Am Harlequin
Were you involved with the styling on the shoot?
Yes. I made a little mood board and asked the girls to scour their wardrobes accordingly. The yellow jacket that Jenny wears is actually one my sister gave me a few years ago. It’s so darn ugly, that it’s already good again.

I Am Harlequin white collar
You have your toes dipped in two very demanding industries – music and fashion. How do you balance the two? Do they cross over sometimes?
Music is definitely my main focus. I juggled running a fashion label for a bit, but it’s a full time job for sure. I’d like to come back to it though. Perhaps create a line with someone else or even inspire a designer to create some pieces. Truthfully, fashion and music are both utterly brutal businesses and trying to build up both on your own at the same time is near impossible. I would definitely need help to continue running a commercial fashion label.

I am Harlequin Onesome single art
Pieces from your own fashion label Onesome have previously sold via Asos and pop up shops in Brick Lane. Where can we currently get our hands on your original pieces?
You can ask me! I don’t sell anything from the old line anymore, however, there are a lot of pieces left and I do encourage listeners and fans to tell me if they loved something they saw. I may just send it to them!

I Am Harlequin performing ‘Wild One’ live at St John on Bethnal Green

Musically you cite you’re influenced by the likes of Kate Bush, Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. What influences you when dressmaking?
I’m a big fan of colour and patterns and mashing them up like a mixtape. I’m not afraid to use a lot of bold colours, because compared to commercial fashion houses which have to stay rather safe when designing pieces, I can make whatever I want without being worried about sales. I like to be inspired by couture looks and often the fabric itself will dictate what I’m doing with it.

I Am Harlequin - Liberty cover
You recently supported San Cisco at The Dome. When performing on stage do you try to wear your own designs?

Always. It’s the perfect moment to showcase not just the songs, but also the fashion. In fact, I better go wash the dress I wore at that show since someone already claimed it.

What’s next for I am Harlequin?
I think I’d like to write an album for next year and collaborate heavily with others in doing so. I’m also currently songwriting with some other very talented singers for their own EPs and albums, and cannot wait to get stuck into that further. Hopefully, there’ll be some good performances along the way and more good music to come.

To keep track of I am Harlequin, upcoming tour dates and new releases you can follow her on Facebook and Twitter. Her tracks are available to buy via itunes.


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