With the arrival of his breakthrough single “Bleach (On The Rocks),” Nashville-based singer/songwriter John Harvie staked his claim as one of the most thrillingly original new artists in the alt-rock world. Three blistering minutes of pop-punk mayhem, the massively streamed track reveals the bold collision of elements within his songwriting: ultravivid storytelling, a rare balance of raw sincerity and outrageous humor, and a gift for crafting addictively catchy melodies. But while the song almost instantly led to meteoric success—including Harvie’s recent signing to 300 Entertainment/ FRKST Records, an imprint founded by Johnny Stevens of Highly Suspect—“Bleach (On The Rocks)” marked a major leap of faith for the 22-year-old musician.
“A little while before ‘Bleach’ came out, I made the very scary decision to drop out of college and try to be an artist,” says Harvie. “For a long time I was writing all day, then working the night shift and picking up doubles at UPS to pay the bills and survive. During my fourth-ever co-writing session we came up with ‘Bleach,’ and it ended up changing everything for me.”
With his debut album told ya due out this year, Harvie instills all his music with both visceral emotion and bombastic spirit. The son of a pastor, he spent his early childhood in Philadelphia and started writing and self-recording songs in his bedroom at the age of ten, tapping into formative inspirations like Linkin Park, Fall Out Boy, and Muse. Having moved to Kentucky at age 13, he later headed to Middle Tennessee State University to study music business but soon felt compelled to focus on his own music full-time. Not long after he’d left school, a spontaneously posted cover of Fall Out Boy’s “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down” went viral on TikTok — a turn of events that quickly found him traveling to Nashville on co-write with industry heavyweights. Within several months he’d released “Bleach (On The Rocks),” a tale of a toxic encounter at a bar, fueled by snarling guitar riffs and Harvie’s brutally clever lyrics (from the first verse: “I’ll take the salt from my wounds, put it on the rim”). Despite zero promotion on his part, the song gained serious traction and caught the attention of artists like lil aaron, who created his own remix just a week after the original version premiered.
Mainly produced by Andrew Gomez, told ya sustains the frenetic energy of “Bleach (On The Rocks)” while further showcasing Harvie’s emotional depth and intense self-awareness. To that end, the album explores such issues as self-doubt and depression and relationship struggles, endlessly matching his uncompromising honesty with a refreshing lack of self-seriousness. On “My Name (In Your Mouth),” Harvie shares a shout-along-ready track that brilliantly embraces any potential haters, building a breakneck momentum with its furious bassline and explosive guitar work. “I’ve always believed that if people are talking about you—whether it’s good or bad — it means you must be doing something right,” he says. Meanwhile, “Beauty in the Bad Things” opens on a stark arrangement of acoustic guitar and soul-baring vocals, ultimately bursting into an arena-sized rock anthem. “I was feeling really burnt out and overwhelmed at the time, to the point where I couldn’t get out of bed for days,” Harvie says of the song’s origins. “I went into a session and my co-writers let me be super-vulnerable, which was so therapeutic for me. I wrote this song in hopes that people could relate to that feeling of knowing that even when you’re really down, there’s always beauty in the bad things, and eventually it’ll be okay.”
Now gearing up for a series of solo shows and festival dates, Harvie thrives on the incredibly deep connection he’s forged with his audience. “Watching my dad preach in front of people every week as a kid gave me a lot of insight on how to interact with a crowd, and I’ve always loved that feeling of the energy coming back from them when I’m onstage,” he says. “At the same time it’s really important to me to make the whole experience as inviting as possible: when you go to a show, it’s easy to feel self-conscious, or worry that other people are going to think you’re a weirdo for going nuts. I want to take all that away and tell everyone, ‘This is your time to forget about everything else that’s going on in your life, and just have a good time’—which is something I’m learning too. I want to be completely present so everyone else can be present too, and we can all get crazy together.”