Harry Hudson Wants to Be an Artist and Beam of Light For Those Who Need Help [Q&A]

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So many artists go into their career hoping for stardom. The money, the fame, the fortune, big houses, fancy cars, the whole shebang. But for the select few, like Harry Hudson, they use the struggles they've endured and the platform they hold to give back to those going through similar obstacles. 

Hudson is a one of a kind artist. With the release of his latest album, Hey, I'm Here For You, he takes us on a wild ride of emotions with each and every song. His approach on the album is self-explanatory: take the experiences he's gone through and be the change for those currently going through it. 

As a cancer survivor, he's gone above and beyond to make the treatment process a little easier for teens going through chemotherapy. Along with his album, he began a charity to create the Hey, I'm Here For You Teen Lounges popping up at various hospitals across the US. Hudson has proved that it's not just his music that can make a change, but it's his platform that can truly embark spark something spectacular. We were fortunate enough to sit down with Hudson and learn more about both his album process and the process of opening up a one of a kind charity.

OTW: Tell us about this past year for you with COVID and quarantine.

Harry Hudson: Honestly, it was a lot of just growth personally. I think I had just a lot of growing up to do that I didn’t realize before the pandemic, because everything’s just so go, go, go with me. It’s always just working and doing something to get somewhere that you really don’t know where. With the pandemic it just stopped everything completely. There’s nowhere to go. So then it’s reordering and reorganizing your mind and thinking about what you actually want and what’s important in your life. 

And for me, I’ve kind of just been really depressed a lot in my life. I feel like a lot of people have anxiety or depression and that’s totally normal. It was a very beautiful time to stop and be in my thoughts and just be me. And I never really got to like do that. A couple of years ago, like 2018, my dad passed away. My dad was very close to me, and was one of the biggest supporters I had. It was just very tough, but I went on tour two weeks after that, and it wasn’t like I’m going to stop everything to grieve. I’m just going to go because that’s what he would want me to do. And that’s what I want for myself. 

It’s been building ever since, so this was the perfect time. The beginning of the pandemic was to grieve my father’s passing. It was very tough for me because it was like, oh, that’s real. He’s not coming back. Like that is crazy. It’s such a wild thing to just imagine it as being real. And you’re just like, okay, well I have to be the man that he knew I was going to be. Now, how do I do that? And it’s taking time for yourself. It’s getting uncomfortable. 

I started therapy. I started having deeper conversations with my friends. I started choosing what I want in my life, because you can’t really see anybody. And if you do, they have to be very important to you if you’re going to see them, or talk to them, or whatever. 

I took a break from writing. I finished the album I put out in November, and then I took a break and ever since then I’m just like I need to live and just be present and love myself. I think that was very important for me because you realize life is short. You need to realize what’s important. 

OTW: Tell us a bit about the writing process for Hey, I’m Here For You. When did that really begin?

I think it was really the beginning of 2020, like that January, before everything happened. I went to Kentucky to write it with a buddy of mine that produced a lot of the tracks on it and wrote some tracks with me. But from there, it was more of a free, let your mind go kind of process. It was how I felt at that time. I think the writing was more of looking at myself in the mirror, big product, the pure person. Because the time prior to that was very, I don’t know who I am and trying to figure it out. Hey, I’m Here For You is more of a good grasp of who I am. I’m looking at the mirror and I’m like, I’m proud of who I see. 

It’s that cliché "of you can’t be there for anybody else until you’re there for yourself." And I’ve always been the person to always be there and always drop anything that I have going on to be there. This is the first time I’m kind of like, it’s okay to not do that. It’s okay to make sure you’re okay first and then do whatever you need to do after, but make sure you’re okay first. I think that’s what I’m here for. And that’s the meaning behind it. 

My charity, which is the Hey, I’m Here For You charity. It was kind of just the bigger picture for me. It was a dream of mine was to start a charity. It’s just each project evolves into something that comes to something later, and it’s always bigger than the music. I wanted to make the music as big as it is, because it’s not just a moment I want to make, it lasts forever beyond what it is. And I think I love being a teacher through what I write about. I think it's the perfect project.

OTW: Tell us a little bit about the name Hey, I’m Here For You. Where did that originate?

I think it's really simple. My dad was always that person that was always there for anybody. Anybody in his life, he was just extra there, and he’d always kind of put that mentality into me. Always just to be there for someone. It just goes back to "you can’t be there for anybody else until you’re there for yourself." And it’s kind of this like common thing in my life of just being like, "Hey, I’m here for you whenever you need me." And I was like, this is just the perfect name for an album.

OTW: Tell us a little bit how that translated into the Hey, I’m Here For You Teen Lounge.

Well, going through my days of chemo and stuff, I was not considered a pediatrics. I just finished one year at the time. So I’m in chemo with, you know, people 50 and up. So, I’m 30, 40, 50 years younger than a lot of the people there. And it’s all sterile white walls, fluorescent lighting, just like not cool at all. Just very boring. And I mean, it’s healing, in a way the medicine works, but it’s more about like, it just didn’t feel like it. I’ve always talked to people going through it, especially teenagers because when you’re 19, you’re doing it with a five-year-old. You’re doing it with younger kids and it’s kind of this dynamic where you can’t feel well, you don’t really have that many people that you can relate to in that process. 

So, I’ve always wanted to help. I didn’t know how to, but from my first chemo on, I was like, I want to be a part of something bigger. I want to help people going through this process, because I know I’m not alone in it. That’s when I started social media ,and it was clear that I wasn’t alone because so many people were reaching out and started following me and started doing this whole thing where I was getting thousands of letters in the mail of people being like, "I have this too," or "my mom, my brother, my sister, or my cousin, they all feel just like you do." There are so many people in the world that are going through it and I just want to figure out how I can help.

And then, Teen Cancer America reached out to me early in the process and I started building relationship with them. I told them, I want to start a charity. They were like, "Hey, we’re going to help you, whatever you want to do, we want to back it." And we teamed up to do this first project together, which is the teen lounge in Nashville. 

It just kind of came about, giving kids a space where they can connect because there’s so many red flags and so many rules in the hospital that we don’t know about. It’s illegal for nurses to introduce patients to each other, because they can’t disclose patients names or ages or anything like that. But, if they met in a hallway, they met in a private space, we both had hats on and we’re going through treatment. Now there’s this conversation that needs to be had, even though we might feel like shit, but now we don’t feel alone. We can talk to each other. We exchange numbers, whatever. Most hospitals don’t have that space for teenagers, so this lounge was very important because we want to add love, hope, and opportunity. 

We’re going to start adding new things and new elements to help the kids to pursue their dreams or whatever they want to try out. Hospitals don’t have that. I feel like it’s important for me. I had music at least to fall back on, and I want to give kids or teenagers an opportunity to fall back on something too. So whatever it is, whether it’s gaming, wanting to be a scientist, or wanting to make music, we will provide the opportunity and material to have them learn and accomplish their dreams or get close to understanding what you want to do.

Take us through the process of the making of the music video for "Take My Time." We love the simplicity behind it.

It’s the idea of just waiting for the right one to come along. You always hear that saying of "the right one will come when you least expect it" and all that stuff. Being patient with that, because there was someone who I really wanted to be with and it just wasn’t the time. She’s like, we should just be friends and I respected that. It wasn’t like, "No, we can’t be anything." I just need to work on myself. You need to work on yourself. We just need to live life and just be friends. And so, that's how the song came about. I’ll take my time with it. Whenever, you want, I’ll be here whenever she's like ready. 

The director, he’s just one of my best friends. And we kind of just love shooting elements where it’s simple, but we bring in nature and we bring in coloring. This whole song is about my now girlfriend. So, I took my time and it worked out, it’s a full circle. The whole video is shot in where we met. And this whole kind of just simplicity of me being alone throughout the video and then ending up with her at the end, it was just fun to shoot.

You've done so much for so many people. You're changing the lives of so many teens through your music and charity. With that being said, what's your all-around message for your fans and future fans? 

Harry: I think I'm more of just someone who has been through a lot. I don’t want to say so much, because I'd rather show it through action. A lot of people are in pain, and I'm willing to help, because I understand that and I want to bring light to the situation, especially when the world starts opening up. It’s going to be very weird, way more socially awkward, I feel like more than ever. I want to take that on. I understand a lot of artists are like, "I didn’t sign up to be the role model or the teacher I’m just here to make music." And that’s a beautiful thing. But for me, I signed up to the role model and I signed up to be the person to be the teacher and learn through my method. Don’t follow what I do, but just do what you love by watching me. And I think that’s, that’s what I want to represent as Harry - the artist and the beam of light.

Hey, I'm Here For You is available everywhere you can stream it, along with his brand new vinyl records. 

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