We had the good fortune of connecting with Magenta Harley and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Magenta, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I pursued music because I’m not sure I had a choice. It’s the gift and the curse of the music bug. Since I was a young child certain music moved me, made me feel alive, made me feel understood, heard, loved, reckless or hopeful. Whatever it was, whatever I needed, music provided. The feeling of head to toe goosebumps when a musician expresses the perfect tone at the perfect moment…. there’s nothing like it. Then I began to sing and write music myself and found that I was not only moved by listening to music but the act itself took things to a whole other level. Melody is exciting, you can go anywhere with it and you find something new everyday. I was interested in the sciences and pursuing a career in veterinary care but music just pulled at me in a stronger way. I then decided to go university for Entertainment Law, I quickly realized there were simply not enough hours in the day to actively pursue my artistry and be a lawyer. Again music won out. I feel like music is a drug, a natural high. Once I recognized that my personal high actually moved OTHER people I was hooked. I had found a way to connect in a way I never had before and it was and is electrifying, To see a crowd dancing along with you or when you can hear a penny drop in a packed room is very moving. To see the joy and connection with my bandmates and the audience absolutely overshadows the many valleys that come along with this industry. I don’t feel separate to music, it is a part of me so pursuing the arts is simply a natural extension of that.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
One of the biggest lessons I have learned in my career is to trust myself and my instincts. That could relate to writing, performing, choosing who to work with, when to say no and when to say yes. It’s incredible how empowering it is when you set personal boundaries. I have found its kept me in touch with what really matters, which is the art. I think my music tells a story, a moment in time, an emotion, a concept. Whatever it is I try to be as honest as I can in my performance. My favorite feeling in the world is getting lost while singing, it’s my form of meditation. I think I am most proud of sticking it out. I look back at me working two jobs just to pay the rent while gigging for “exposure” and tips. Ridding it out through different record deals and opportunities gone awry. Somehow I have stayed optimistic through most of it, I don’t know how haha. Anytime I really thought about really throwing in the towel… the phone would ring and I had booked something. The world works in mysterious ways. Right now I am working on the soundtrack for a feature film. I will also have a small singing and acting role in the movie. That is keeping me busy. I am simultaneously working on songs for my next record, I’m exploring a whole new sound and can’t wait to share it in 2021!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
There are so many incredible gems to visit in Los Angeles. If my best friend were in town I would take them to some of my favorite music spots like The Baked Potato, a great Jazz Joint in Studio City where you never know what legend you might bump into. SuperSoul Monday at Dirty Laundry is another favorite, again you never know who might jump on stage. Don’t forget to wear your dancing shoes! For food and drinks some of favorite places are Pho So 1, a tiny hole in the wall in a strip mall that has THE BEST Pho’ in town!!! El Compadre is a must for visitors. Great Mexican food and the Mariachi band really sets the vibe. Did I mention the servings are bigger that your head?! You can’t go wrong. A few favorite bars around town are Harvard and Stone – they also showcase great local bands. Sassafras Saloon is a fun one, you feel like you just stepped back into a 193o’s house turned saloon. Complete with a band on a balcony and killer cocktails. You can’t go past the museums and art in Los Angeles, I couldn’t let them leave without exploring. Personally I love The Getty Villa. I would also keep my eye out for pop up exhibitions or themed bars and food and wine festivals as there is always something going on. My hope is that everyone in LA is staying safe and healthy. Please wear your mask so we can get back to exploring all Los Angeles has to offer!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to dedicate my Shoutout to Dan, Josh and Jarred from @offthestripdtla, @10dtla. Through their singing competitions, I have met so many wonderful people. This competition encouragers the selected singers to give it their all, no matter their experience level. I comment them for their welcoming environment and sense of community that helps artist find their potential. This environment has lead to future opportunities for many, myself included. I’m excited to be working together with the team to present a streaming event early in the new year. Together with a live band Off The Strip will invite alumni and local performers to showcase their talents while raising money for the LGBTQ community. To keep informed of future events please follow @10dtla and @offthestripdtla