Photo: press

Sinéad Harnett

As the UK R&B scene continues to thrive, Sinéad Harnett arrives with the next installment to her flourishing music career by releasing her third LP, Boundaries, on April 26

The last time EUPHORIA. caught up with the London-born, LA-based singer, Harnett was preparing to release her stunning sophomore release, Ready is Always Too Late. The world was in the midst of a pandemic and everyone was stuck indoors playing Animal Crossing. Harnett, on the other hand, was enjoying a creative high with songs “Stay,” “Take Me Away,” and “Obvious.” Within the material, she expressed her newfound confidence and wanted listeners to feed off her energy. The outcome? One of the best albums of 2021.

For Boundaries, Harnett has done some self-reflection and is digging deeper. From “The Most,” “Spiral,” and “Shoulder” to “I Will” and “Wish You Could See,” she has musically and lyrically surpassed herself once again with many noteworthy jams. “This album is about facing and healing the inner child, letting go of fear, pain, and trauma, and honoring the past while simultaneously letting it go,” she explains as listeners countdown to the release.

Following a fan event in London where Harnett played a small number of competition winners a sneak preview of Boundaries, EUPHORIA. sat down with the soulful star to learn more about the creative process behind the album, what she wants listeners to take away from it, and why she opted for no features this time around.

Photo: press

After keeping it so close to your heart, you’re about to release your third studio album, Boundaries. How are you feeling?

In complete disbelief because I’ve had it ready since November/December last year. I was like, “When can I start dropping things? When can I start?” There is always this impatience that you get because you don’t want to get bored of the songs as well. So, it feels surreal because December to now has gone really quickly. From planning it and actually doing the social media, the promo, the rollout plan, the photography, the trailer, all of that, you then try to get as much done as you can. So I’m just like, “Whoa, already?”

The last time we spoke, you opened up about almost quitting music during the first album cycle. Do you feel like you had something to prove with the last one?

I feel like I always have something to prove. I feel that because of my own doubts and my lack of self-esteem. I’ve always been like, “Oh my God, am I doing it right?” This actually feels like my first project because I think it’s the first time I’ve had the time, energy, and support to make one in one place and not in a rush. So, I still feel that every day. Like, why has Beyonce released as much music as she has? These huge artists are not just sitting down on a beach. I would have thought you would want a beach by then. The goalposts never just stay. You’re like, “What else do I still need to do and achieve?”

Does that mean you went into this album with a different mindset?

I think I did, yeah. Because I wasn’t as rushed, I was a bit more picky and selective and I’d write something and be like, “Wow, I’ve got one.” And then a few weeks later I would write something that I thought actually was truer to me and then would scrap it. So it’s been a lot of like, “Oh this is good, oh no, no, actually this one’s better.” I think that’s why it’s a bit more eclectic as a project.

Photo: press

The last album saw you play your biggest London headline show at the O2 Forum Kentish Town. As we were saying earlier, the energy from the crowd was crazy. Did that give you a confidence boost going into the album?

It’s so funny because my confidence is about as fragile as a vase in Japan, the way they do the kintsugi to repair it with gold. Maybe that’s a good analogy really, because I am fragile. I’m a Libra as I kept saying earlier and maybe those moments of the tour are the gold kintsugi that put me together. When you connect with the people who are listening, it gives you a little bit of confidence of “Oh, there is someone relating to this.” But most of the time, you can feel like an imposter or ask yourself, “Who do I think I am to do this job?” “Who do I think I am that someone’s gonna listen to me?” “Why does my perspective matter?” But then on the flip side, I do think this is my purpose. And when I see those fans and see how deeply it does relate to their own problems and trauma, it’s that constant loop of “No, no, no, I should be doing it” to “Oh no, I shouldn’t.” And it goes round and round.

This is your first album without any collaborations. Was that a cautious decision?

I think that it was a subconsciously cautious decision because this was so personal. Not the past albums haven’t been, but I really delved into the challenges of growing up with a lack of support and environments that I would not wish for anyone. I don’t blame anyone. I think as you get older, you realize that, especially the generations above us, they weren’t given any guidance. I’m also from a first-generation parent, so you know, my mom’s upbringing and her generation’s trauma was tough and it doesn’t make it okay what it was like for me. However, I guess that because of how personal it was in terms of going back to my childhood and how it’s kind of been both the making and breaking of me as an adult, it didn’t feel right to have features. However, who knows about the future… there might be a little remix or something.

The album is very vulnerable. During the creative process, does opening up about such personal things come naturally to you or do you need to find your team of people first to feel comfortable?

Well, with this album I actually got a lot of chords, instrumentals, and beats sent to me so that I could be on my own. It’s so weird, “If You Let Me” was started on my own and then I went to Grades and finished it with him. I think because I was in such a dark place writing this album because of the therapy and having to go back to those memories, I needed to be on my own. I think the team essentially was the guy that engineers for me and me just going into the booth and saying to him, “Don’t concentrate on what I’m doing, be distracted.” Sometimes when you write with people, you can’t just start to the lyrics to “Burn” or whatever. It’s pretty deep. And I’m not saying that working with people isn’t deep, but just sometimes, with music and songs, feeling like your diary entry can be a really lonesome thing.

Photo: press

What song are you so glad to have written for the album, one which you’re proud to say is yours?

I was really nervous about “Burn.” It’s a ballad, which is predictable for me, but I just remember watching the Pixar movie Soul, which is all about getting into your zone and he plays the piano and loves it. I was just in the zone for that one. I think my biggest fear in life, which is many others too, is that we’re unlovable and that we don’t know how to receive it. I am proud of “Burn” because I just had never said it before in a song.

You have spoken about this a few times in the past, but what are your thoughts on how the UK R&B scene is being represented today? Have you seen any progress?

Definitely with the BRITs giving it its own category. That’s beautiful. With the rise of many amazing artists, there are so many to name, Mahalia, Cleo Sol, Jaz Karis, Shaé Universe, Kali Claire, It feels positive. It’s still slow, but I think moving up is better than not. The thing about Cleo is that it’s so in her own way and I love it. She’s not having to post, it’s the perfect Frank Ocean anomaly way.

When fans get to hear Boundaries in full, what do you want them to take away from it?

That we are all worthy of healing. The parts of us that hurt unashamedly take our time. It’s a process. It’s a journey. And we all deserve to be loved.