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Conversations with Nathan Harlan

Today we’d like to introduce you to Nathan Harlan.

Hi Nathan, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
Like most people, I started off listening to the music my parents listened to. Classic Rock. Classical Music. When I reached my angsty teenage years, I was listening to all kinds of loud, guitar-driven music and I was determined to start a band. So, when I was 15, I bought my first guitar, taught myself to play, and jammed out with friends every opportunity I could get.

After High School, I moved to Austin for the live music scene and to study film at UT Austin. While working toward my degree in RTF, I started a band called Endochine. We played a lot in Austin and around Texas, and when I graduated, we began touring coast to coast. Over the next few years, we made a few records and landed on some bills with bands like The Strokes, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Joan Jett – playing ACL Fest, Minute Maid Park, and getting some national radio and commercial play. We achieved some minor success, but, eventually our collective self-destructive tendencies led the band to implode. As the band fell apart, I succumbed to my biggest vice. Heroin.

Though I was still out there playing music, my addiction put me in a very dark place. I was burning a lot of bridges around me, I was unreliable and untrustworthy, and more importantly I was losing myself. I quit performing music or pursuing anything and hit rock bottom. After four years of addiction, I was faced with two choices – get clean or die.

After getting clean, I took a break from the music scene and reconnected with acting and film. I landed some great roles in some great films, wore many different hats from actor to producer, and it was during this time that I met my future wife. I moved to New York to pursue more film work, met amazing people along the way, and ended up scoring a few films – even in my film career, music was a part of my life. After a few years in NYC, I realized that most of my work was coming out of Austin, and being involved in a long-distance relationship, all signs were pointing back to Texas.

Since moving back to Austin, I’ve continued to work in film here and there but my focus has shifted back to music. I’ve been playing, recording, and producing with some incredibly talented musicians, had a band called The Big Fix for a few years, and am now stepping out as a solo artist. I recently signed on with a local label called Mr. Pink Records and I am excited to work with them and keep moving forward as an artist.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
I think my biggest challenge was getting my music career back on track after years of being away from it.

Being a musician isn’t an easy life. From bands breaking apart, second-guessing yourself creatively, having to struggle financially while looking for your next gig, and just trying to make everyone happy while not compromising your own vision – it can take a toll on you. But, I honestly believe that this is the only life I was meant to have. I can’t see myself doing anything else, and I am fortunate to do it, but if it weren’t for the love and support of my wife and the people who believed in me when I didn’t, I wouldn’t be here. No doubt, I am a lucky man.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I sing, play guitar, and write songs. I was inspired to pick up the guitar by Jimmy Page, and though I love all types of music, my writing and playing has always leaned towards Rock “n” Roll. I never really think of myself as a singer, singing is just a by-product of writing a song, but I get more compliments on my voice than anything else. I love vocal harmonies, which go back to my early years listening to The Beach Boys and The Beatles, and I was always drawn to songs that were a little darker in subject matter and tone. Lyrically, a lot of my songs initially come from a place of despair or sadness because it’s in those moments that I tend to write. However, as I work through those feelings, I usually arrive at a place where I feel I can still persevere in the face of that hopelessness – where there’s still a light at the end of the tunnel.

If we knew you growing up, how would we have described you?
I grew up an only child in your typical, middle class, suburbia outside of San Antonio, TX. I rode bikes and skateboards with my neighborhood friends, went swimming in the summer, and played with my dogs. I was in Boy Scouts for many years and to this day, I still love to hike and camp. I was really into drawing, acted in my High School drama plays, and I loved Horror, Sci-fi, and Comedy movies – It was the 80s so plenty of good stuff to choose from. Of course, music was there from the beginning, and once I picked up the guitar, all my other interests took a back seat.

Contact Info:

Image Credits:

Nathan Harlan Randy Cremean Jessie Corrine Mike Washlesky Rik Baron

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