Country Next: Harper Grace

We take pride in introducing fans to country music’s brightest new stars through our Country Next series. Here, we chat with Harper Grace.


Lexi Liby

| Posted on

April 18, 2024


11:03 am

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Harper Grace; Photo by Dove Shore

Harper Grace’s first taste of widespread recognition came at just 11 years old when she was harshly criticized by various online users and media outlets for her first public performance of The National Anthem. Seven years after the disheartening event, she got the chance to redeem herself when she returned to the same stadium and delivered a much-improved rendition of the patriotic song.

The Texas native’s motivation to continue putting in the hard work each day is propelled by her dreams to make her mark on the country music scene. Grace has already begun to make a lasting impression by inspiring her audience with her resilience and unwavering faith.

From her National Anthem experience that didn’t go quite as planned, to finding new success as an American Idol Season 16 contestant, Grace is now in the midst of preparing to kickstart the next chapter of her career with the unveiling of brand-new new music.

Grace just released her most recent single “Break It Like A Man,” which serves as a teaser for what’s to come.

Harper Grace; Break It Like A Man
Harper Grace; Break It Like A Man

Harper caught up with Country Now to talk more about her career, her recent release, what’s to come and more. Read on to find out more about Harper Grace in this exclusive Q&A below.

How did you begin a career in country music?

Well, I started all the way back at six years old telling my mom that I wanted to quit gymnastics, which is what I was in at the time, and pursue music. We had a piano donated to our family about a year later, and it wasn’t until I was seven when my Nana bought me a guitar that I really kind of fell headlong into country music. I loved Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash and Nana would play the accordion in the kitchen growing up, so that was kind of the first love that sparked it for me. 

You were known as the “Anthem girl” early on in your career, but you seem so unfazed and content with how that situation transpired. What kept you going and kept you grounded in continuing to chase your music dreams following that experience?

The thing that really kept me grounded through all of that was honestly my faith. I had a very prayerful family. I grew up in a missionary home, and so through that experience with the anthem, my parents prayed that day and asked that the Lord would use me in a mighty way. Believing big and just knowing that God works everything for his good, which is one of my favorite verses in the Bible, Romans 8:28. I really believe that even in the chaos, the Lord is going to come through because that’s what he always does. He’s a good God. That’s really kind of how I kept my faith, but also continuing on 10 years later, I look at life obviously like a big puzzle. I’m just really grateful that my team has been open to keeping that piece of my puzzle and allowing me to still share it because it is a part of who I am. I’ll forever be the Anthem girl, which I’m just not ashamed of. I’m glad for it and I’m hopeful that it will inspire and encourage others to be able to come out of the rut and know that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

You also competed on Season 16 of American Idol. What did you take away from that experience? 

I actually only did original music that whole time, and I think my biggest takeaway was truly learning who I was as an artist, what I wanted my sound to be, and finding more confidence in that alone. I remember Luke Bryan telling me that I was a true artist on the show. He said I had some really good songs and that I needed to keep pursuing my dream and move to Nashville, so that’s what I did. I gained a lot of courage and really learned a lot about myself throughout that experience, and I’m very grateful for it. 

Can you share the inspiration behind your new single “Break It Like A Man”?

Yes. I’m really excited about this song coming out…I used to do acting when I was younger. I made a lot of trips back and forth to L.A. and so I think one of my favorite things about country music and just music and writing in general is that you can put on different hats, play different characters and play different roles. So with this song in particular, I get to play a different character in it and it’s a fun one. The music video for it is coming out and premiering on CMT on the 17th as well. I think what I am saying in the song is advice to the boys. I’m like, if you are going to break a heart, you might as well just say it to our face. It’s kind of an encouragement, but with a little bit more grungy chords behind it and a little bit more pizzaz to it. I’m excited for it to come out and see what everybody else thinks about it. 

You’ve shared short clips to your social media for “Break It Like A Man.” Can you talk about the inspiration behind the official music video for the song?

Yes, actually that was kind of from a previous relationship. Every once in a while you give little clues and little hints about different things that happened in your life. So when I first wrote “Break It Like A Man” it wasn’t something that I was writing towards anybody. It was really just a story, but then I had a fun experience with a guy. He plays baseball for a specific team and was two-timing, so the song ended up becoming true. I was like, you know what? I’m going to wear his hat and play his game as well. It ended up being personal. I always say sometimes you write songs into existence. Maybe at the time I didn’t think I was going through something, but then later I’m like, oh, I know exactly what I wrote about. 

YouTube video

I’ve seen that you have several songs being released this year. Is there an EP in the works? 

That’s what we’re really working towards. Hopefully an EP or maybe at the top of the year, we’ll drop a whole album. I think I’m just really intrigued about traveling around and doing this redemption tour. Getting the one-on-one connection with the fans and just really kind of building the relationships with them. I want them to feel a part of these single releases and get the chance to be involved with it. I’m trying to open it up to what they like the most and get their insights so that whenever an album or EP does come out, their hands are kind of all over it. Kind of like a little extra A&R of a record label where they can be a part of it and share what songs they like the most and maybe help light the way prior to releasing. It’s really just all for the fans. 

Since you have several songs to choose from, why did you decide to release “Break It Like A Man” first?

I felt like I really wanted to come out with a bang. It definitely shows more sides of bringing in the R&B and the rock aspect of what I grew up listening to. I sing in a gospel choir, and so having that soul and that grunge intertwined within my love for country is something that I wanted to do in “Break It Like A Man.” I think this big story and this music video that we put together shows a little bit more of what’s to come in the rest of  2024. As I shared earlier, I think I’m coming to really find myself and my sound as an artist. Even down to the things that I’m wearing and the things that my stylist and I have kind of put together. We’re kind of going for this fashion forward of fun, outgoing, all over the board kind of sound and brand. With all of that going on I was like, I might as well come out with a bang and “Break It Like A Man” seemed like the best song to do that with. 

You also have a cover song thrown into the mix. How did the cover of “Jolene” come about?

Growing up my love for country started with my Nana and she played the accordion. She’d play Dolly Parton or Johnny Cash and “Jolene” was something that she and I sang together for my whole entire childhood. Whenever I play it at my shows, I just mention the fact that it makes me feel like I’m bringing home around with me everywhere that I go. When I sing that song, I close my eyes and imagine little me dancing around in the kitchen with my Nana, hearing her play the accordion. I wanted to be able to bring more bits of my home and more bits of my childhood back into the aspect of my career, so that’s what we’re doing. This just seemed like the perfect thing. I cover it everywhere I go, so I thought I might as well make my own version. I think that one will be released sometime in 2025. I don’t exactly know where that lineup is, but it gives you something to look forward to.

How are you making this cover uniquely yours?

I’m actually going to have my nana come and play the accordion on the song. That’s a little piece that I’m really excited about that’ll be unique to me. I’ve got an incredible production team that has really honed in on the sound that I’m loving. Together we’ve figured out who Harper Grace is and what her exact sound is and should be. We are working to make it the best that we can, keeping Dolly’s iconic aspect of the song, as well as incorporating a little bit of my own style. Bringing in that edgy soul and that down home country sound, allowing them to merge together as beautifully as possible. That’s how we’ll make it a little unique. 

What overall message do you want your listeners to take from your music?

I think overall, if anybody stumbles upon my music or my page they’ll be left encouraged. They’ll know that no matter how low and how lonely or depressed or anything that they’ve felt in life, it gets better. No matter how many times somebody has told you that you can’t, you definitely can. As much as you set your mind to something and speak things into existence and believe that the Lord is good, you’ll have a purpose and a plan for your life. If you believe you can, then you will. That’s the message I hope people will leave with after seeing my page. I hope they think to themselves, “If she can do it, then I can do it too.”

Fans can keep up with Harper Grace on Instagram.

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Lexi Liby

Written by

Lexi Liby

I graduated Magna Cum Laude from Kansas State University, earning my Bachelor of Science degree in Communications and a certificate in social media. During my college years, I had the opportunity to publish a few pieces in my University’s newspaper, The Collegian, as well as create my own website. I’ve also previously interned for Country Insider, an iHeartMedia-owned country music industry newsletter. Through these experiences I developed high-level skills in writing, digital media, content creation and media relations.