Harper Starling: More to the Story

Taylor Harrington 10/2/2021 4:47pm EST

According to her press realease, “Harper Starling was diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome at the age of 8. By chance, Harper discovered that her tics appeared to magically disappear whenever she was singing, dancing or performing on stage. Music became her medicine. Her dedication to her craft has led to numerous career highs, including hitting #1 on the Billboard Dance charts with her single “Euphoria,” a collaboration with The Perry Twins. With her debut album slated for release in 2022, Harper hopes that with her story and music she can continue to inspire others suffering from Tourette’s to fight through adversity in order to achieve their dreams.” We had the opportunity to sit down with Harper to get to know her a little better, and trust us, you want to remember her name. Starling’s talent is limitless with her unrelenting joy, and the way she can connect with her audience is like none other. Starling’s latest single, “No More What If” is an anthem of self-expression and finding confidence no matter what life throws at you.

Hello, everybody! Welcome to Confessional Magazine. I’m Taylor and today I am so excited to introduce you to Harper Starling! Thank you so much for being here today, Harper!

Thank you so much for having me! I’m really excited.

Harper is an amazingly talented musician, songwriter, and she also has Tourette’s. I don’t want to say she has Tourette’s like it’s some negative thing, because it’s not, it’s just part of who she is. There is so much beauty and joy that’s comes out through her music. So Harper, how did you first get into the music industry?

Well, without going into a documentary on my life, it started happening back in 2014. I was going to school for something completely different, kinesiology, of all things, and I heard Lady Gaga perform at Summerfest in my hometown, and that was the night that I just knew, and I switched it. I told my parents this is what I’m gonna do, and they’re like, “Alright, we support it. Here we go.” Long story short, I eventually got the chance to move from Wisconsin to LA, and I was like, “Yes, warm weather, we’re going for it.” That’s kind of where it started.

Now you’re out in LA, and you’re doing your thing! It takes a lot of courage to move and to just decide to really go for it. What has your support system been like, with having this distance between home and starting a new life in a new city?

It definitely was hard at first, just because I moved down here not knowing anybody. No friends, no family, no one was around. Eventually I found my footing and I was very blessed to surround myself with people that loved and supported me, especially music wise. I got very fortunate a year ago to meet my manager Cindy Ballantine, and I’m just so grateful to her.

So let’s start back at the beginning of your journey then. You were diagnosed with Tourette’s at the age of eight, correct?

Yes, I believe so.

What was that like for you before you found your musical outlet?

When I was diagnosed with Tourette’s, we didn’t actually know that specifically was what that was. I just started getting tics and they were pretty severe and brought on a lot of hospital visits with them trying to figure out what exactly it is that I have. It was scary as a kid to go through something like that when they didn’t understand what was going on and all I knew was that whenever I was dancing or singing my tics somehow disappeared. I still don’t even know to this day why they stop, but that just kind of became my outlet and it made me feel pretty whole. My tics are still a part of me, but it was very peaceful, I guess.

Freeing? To be able to just be your genuine true-self. Not that the Tourette’s isn’t part of who you genuinely are, but you found this sort of freeing moment and beautiful outlet.

Yeah, that was a beautiful way to say it. Thank you for that. Really what I felt, and it just kind of became second nature to me, was to just be performing and my love of it grew and so really in a way I guess I have Tourette’s to thank for bringing me to where I’m at today and for being able to pursue my passion and my dream.

What an inspiration you are for so many other people! You can find joy through motion and music. What kind of advice would you give to a younger person that might be facing the diagnosis for the first time but still wanting to follow a creative outlet and share their voice without fear?

I’m looking back to when I was eight years old and what I would have loved for someone to give to me is that it’s okay. Everything’s gonna be okay. This is a part of you. Don’t shy away from it. Embrace it, because it’s going to, in the end, be a beautiful, beautiful, opportunity and learning experience. I guess maybe that’s what I wanted to hear as a kid is, “You’re going to be okay. This is all okay.”

That’s beautiful. So I know that you had recorded a song with the Perry twins that hit the Billboard charts! What can you tell us about that adventure?

The name of the single is “Euphoria”. I’m very fortunate it went to number one on the Billboard Dance Charts. I cried when I found out it went to number one. I’m so happy with how people responded to that song. Really. The purpose of that song was the feeling you get when you finally let your fears go, you feel the sense of euphoria and what it was like when I was a kid, you know, and I finally accepted and let go of this stigma, I guess, behind what I had and it was as you said, it was “freeing”. I just happened to think of the word “euphoric” at the time.

What is the writing process like for you? Do you dig into your emotions first, or are you more of a beats-first type person?

I think it depends on what the scenario is. I love to collaborate actually more-so than solo work. One of my collaborative partners, Cindy, who I mentioned earlier, she has been working with me on a few previous projects and a lot of the time we’re talking concepts, lyrics, and melodies. She actually came up with “No More What If”, the newest single. We realized we have a similar journey and when she came up with the melodies and some of the lyrics I was like, “This is amazing. This is perfect!” The synergy was there and all the pieces fell into place. Then we brought Nico the Kid on board. He listened to it and he was like “Oh yeah, I really like these type of beats,” etc etc… and that’s usually how it works for me, so it’s kind of more melodies, then lyrics, and then instrumentation. Bit by bit it’s growing and then you’re like, “Yes! There’s there’s the magic!”, you know?

Your single, “No More What If” was released recently. How can people find this song and is there a music video that goes along with it that we can check out?

Yes, yes, there is a music video. The music video came out last Thursday and then the single was released a week ago today. The single is up on all streaming platforms, as “No More What If” Harper Starling, and the music video is up on my YouTube channel. It’s just wonderful how many people have left such kind words and have received it so well. I’m truly thankful to everyone involved in the project,to you guys for spreading the message. It means a lot to me.

Of course. Your story of just believing in yourself is so beautiful. It’s inspiring to see you out here just being like, “You know what?! There are no more what-ifs and I’m just I’m here being me and we’re going to spread joy through music”, and that is such a cool thing because people of all walks of life can connect to that, right?

Exactly. Thank you. You really picked up on the message. The thing is, no matter what, it’s about pursuing the impossible dream of taking chances and finding this freedom.

What was it like for you to see the final product of the music video? Sitting there and watching it for the first time yourself, if you could describe it in one word, what would that be?

Just one word? Proud.

How can people find you on social media to follow both your music, but also your personal journey?

Well, so www.HarperStarling.com is my website and that has all different updates on it. My social media is @HarperStarling.

Where would you like to see yourself in five years both personally and professionally?

So, I call these my bucket list things, professionally. In five years, I definitely I would love to be headlining a world tour. I would love to headline Coachella and win a few Grammys. On a personal note, I would love to get a hug from Lady Gaga. Everything would be great in the world. Also, my celebrity crush and Enrique Iglesias, he’s a fine looking man. If he could play my love interest in a music video I would I would be very happy. I don’t think I would know what I would do if he was right next to me.

Listen, I’m already futuristically excited for you and manifesting it all!

Yeah, I mean, that’s how it happens, right? I have to put it on my vision board.

Harper, thank you so much for joining us, today!

Thank you so much for having me, again. Truly, this has been wonderful!

It was so nice to meet you, and I’m sure we’ll talk soon!

Originally from Edison, New Jersey, Taylor won the 2005 “Middlesex County Caring Award”, and hasn’t stopped caring since. When she is not writing or hosting More to the Story, Taylor can be found chasing her two mutts around Athens, Ohio where she currently resides with her husband. Moving to Appalachia has made a huge impact on her life, and she can’t wait to share some of her stories, laughs, and (mis)adventures with you!

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