Adelaide, South Australia, AUS

Recently dubbed "an artist to watch" by Rolling Stone, Jess Harlen's soul-grabbing voice and hypnotic groove instinctively draw a crowd. Live, Harlen digs deep into her heart-wrenching tunes, and effortlessly fronts her vivacious band with charisma & conviction. An excitable head bopping experience!



Recently dubbed "an artist to watch" by Rolling Stone, New Zealand born soul vocalist Jess Harlen has been paving a way with her hypnotic groove and made "an exceptional contribution to Australia's musical identity" -Time Off. You may have seen her at some point over the last 5yrs touring the world as a member of Blue King Brown, supporting the likes of Macy Gray, Ziggy Marley, and sharing festival bills with Jay-Z, Stevie Wonder and many more. You may also recognize her from Muph & Plutonic hits Don’t Worry ‘bout Nothing and Beautiful Ugly, however, it's within her solo venture where Harlen really takes flight.

Signing to hip hop label Obese records in 2010, Harlen teamed up with producer Plutonic Lab to release her debut album Neon Heartache, which was welcomed as "one of the year’s best releases" -Herald Sun, for which she was awarded Best Female Artist at prestigious The Age EG Awards. The album also featured NGAIIRE and Natalie Pa’apa’a of Blue King Brown.

Breaking open 2012 with 'a combination of relaxed cool and obvious care' (Rave Magazine), her sophomore album Park Yard Slang is currently receiving wide critical acclaim in Australia. The album features Hauie (triple j) and RuCL and is also produced by Plutonic Lab. Rolling Stone are included in the list of rave reviews whom gave it a generous 3/4 stars.

Her signature style has also been described as 'strong and delicate, soulful and streetwise, with traces of Lauryn Hill, MIA and Florence and the Machine' (Canberra Times) and 'speckled with Motown and hip hop influences but retaining it's own uniqueness' (3D World).

Harlen is of Ngapuhi and Ngati Porou descent and has supported Nesian Mystik, Hollie Smith, Che Fu, and other high profile NZ acts in Australia, holding it down for her iwi wherever she goes. Aptly described as "A strong soul singing sister, continuing a long tradition of Mana Wahine songstresses from Aotearoa... taking it to the world" by Che Fu, Harlen is a proud representation of young Maori people achieving dreams through circumstance.

Looking to expand her horizons, Harlen is now Boston based working on writing material for new projects and will be releasing her latest album Park Yard Slang worldwide July 20. Harlen is sure to be missed, but will be back to Australia and NZ to hit the summer touring circuit 2013 so stay tuned.

"an artist to watch" - Rolling Stone - May Issue 2012

"Harlen is stepping into the spotlight, and Australian music is all the richer for it" - 3D World

"...unexpectedly addictive" - Rave Magazine

"She has that easy swagger and conviction that is telltale of all great things" -Mama Kin

“Jess's haunting vocals and smooth backing tracks combine to create such a unique vibe; reggae, funk, soul, folk all rolled into one, I'm a fan!” - M-Phazes

"If it doesn't make Harlen some kind of star, karma should screw us all without remorse" Time Off Magazine



Written By: Jess Harlen

i flick past the pages of my old life
how did we get here tonight
the silence is astounding
on my chest compounding
i feel a steel vice
compress the moment and stretch time
my eyes slow everything down
i can see light move
and i can taste sound
i hear the lonely ache of the dust drift
and with every breath and fall of my soul, the blankets life

dont let me go
dont let me go

the scratching pen constantly alerting me
and my heart to the false alarm of footsteps in the hall
she isnt coming at all
will i ever know what it feels like to be safe
or is safety a type of empty only promises make
you were so strong in your heart
and your arms could reach where i roamed, you held me as your own
you were so strong in your mind
without a shadow of doubt, please dont fail me now

dont let me go
dont let me go

seven years eleven nights
i feel the same way as i do tonight
worry worry worry on my mind
trouble trouble trouble this time


2006 : EP : Street Level Soul
2010 : Single : Watch The Water
2010 : Single : I Go
2010 : LP : Neon Heartache
2012 : Single : Let You Down
2012 : LP : Park Yard Slang