With a little help from Glorious Sons guitarist Jay Emmons, Harlette is ready to conquer
The dynamic Canadian duo of Michelle Owen and Martina Lake, otherwise known as Harlette, are about to take the music world by storm.
Their debut single “Gemini” is an infectious pop / rock track with an ’80s feel that will have you dancing in your seat. Michelle and Martina have bonded through music since Michelle joined The Glorious Sons in 2017 as Tour Director and began spending time with Martina whose partner is guitarist Jay Emmons.
It seemed inevitable that the two friends would take their writing and music talent to the next level and thanks to an artist development company called 745 Music that Owen and Emmons formed a few years ago, that moment is now.
You recently released your first single “Gemini” and just released a video for it. Great video, by the way. I love it. Great song. Let’s talk a bit about Martina’s song. You wrote the song, didn’t you?
Martine: Yes, yes I did.
Tell me a bit about the history behind this.
Martine: “Gemini”, I wrote it a few years ago and it really stems from the relationship I have with my sister. I am a twin and in fact I am not astrologically a Gemini at all. Lion for life. But I’m a twin and it’s the Gemini side and this kind of song is about never being alone.
I’ve really never been alone for a single minute in my entire life as a twin. And then being someone who’s super co-dependent on relationships and friendships and even touches my relationship with Michelle and two faces and two sides of myself. It’s just about being truly co-dependent and never having a second for myself in my entire life.
How did it all start?
michelle: In terms of songwriting, that would be 10 years ago. One day I ran into Steve and he sort of became my go-to writing and recording partner. And then one day I also met Jay Evans because I also worked in the music business. So I worked for him in his group in a record company, then I was his tour director.
And when we were on the road, that’s when I met Martina and it kind of just fell into place, by chance.
Then one day Martina got this song. She showed it to me a few years ago and was like, I want you to sing that. And I was like, it’s so rad. And luckily we were lucky enough to get together last year to try it out together and it was one of those magical moments where the song just came together really easily between the four of us, we all brought our strengths to the table and that’s what you hear in the song now.
You dabbled with these ideas for a few years, right. But, was it the pandemic that made it all fall into place, where you found you had the time and it’s like, Hey, let’s do that.
Martine: Certainly gave us time. And especially with my partner, Jay, who was doing quite well at the time. So having it at home for a few years now, I guess it really gave Michelle and Jason some time to work on their label, which is our 745 Music label and develop that and a bunch of other artists, but it actually gave him and Michelle some time to sit down together and let Steve and I join in and just play.
It was really a fun project until we realized how great it was. Then we’re like, okay, we’ve got to do something about it. It has to be shared, and it gave birth to Harlette, which is great, and there’s no going back and we have an acoustic version of “Gemini” coming very soon that we’re excited to share. . And then we also have our next single ready to be released. So a lot of exciting stuff will be coming out soon.
Are you planning to release an EP or an album in the future?
michelle: Yeah, I think that’s the goal for next spring. We still have some writing to do. We want to go back to the studio and shape some of these ideas we’ve been working on, but we’ll definitely have an EP in Spring 2022.
Michelle, when you first met Jay, that was a competition you were in, right?
michelle: Well, technically I’ve never met him at the competition because we’ve never met, but our bands played against each other and we went very different paths after that.
How did you come to get into management?
michelle: Honestly, I had a really bad experience early on as a songwriter and singer where I lost ownership of my masters and it was a really hurtful and infuriating experience. So I decided that I wouldn’t go ahead without learning the business side.
I ended up taking a program focused on entertainment business management.
I looked for an internship in a label. Then I was offered a job and the opportunities multiplied thereafter. So it was really hard to say no.
Before I knew it it was the center of my life as opposed to singing and writing songs which was a bit difficult but I am so grateful for all the opportunities I have had because now I have my own business with Jay, like Martina said, and make music. So it’s the best of both worlds. And I think it’s really important for any artist to understand their business and what it is about.
Does this kind of reflect the business today? The way it went to streaming and that sort of thing. I mean, you pretty much have to do everything on your own these days, unless you win like The Voice or something like that, most people aren’t found out like they used to be.
michelle: Yes of course. I think there are two sides where artists are really lucky now, because there are so many platforms that are pillars and allow artists to be successful independently. But at the same time, if you want to work with anyone in the industry, they’re definitely asking you to do the heavy lifting for them.
What was it like recording the song during the pandemic?
Martine: It was really super nice because we have a home studio at Jay’s. So it was pretty relaxed and we were able to walk in, the four of us with dogs and all that fun stuff and right across the hall, literally. So it was fun to be able to do it on our own land. And like we said, it was a super relaxed experience. We were doing it just because we believed in the song and it turned out to be a really fantastic tune that started our inspiration for it all.
You and Jay recently welcomed a family member.
Martine: Yes. Baby June, she is six weeks old.
You are actually eight months pregnant in the video. I must have watched the video several times because I only found out after watching the video once. And then the second time around, it’s very obvious at one point in the video, but I think the focus was on Michelle there, but here you are with your big baby bump, prominently. It’s pretty awesome.
Martine: Make maneuvers there. It was definitely a challenge to ride on a hardwood floor at eight months old.
michelle: Martina was honestly such a champion. It was a fun experience because it was a DIY video.
Jay and Steve had wind turbines behind the camera, but seeing her eight months pregnant and seeing such a force standing still and working eight hours a day was pretty amazing to see.
You also made a live cut video. Who are the other members of the group? Did you actually have a band when you decided to tour?
michelle: It’s kind of a small circle of musicians that we know from working with other artists, but our current band is still to be determined, it’s something that we have to understand in the future for concerts, but we hope to make some kind of awesome rad girl group.
That would be great. Absolutely as it should be. Are there any other videos coming out with the new music as well?
Martine: I think we have it in the books for early November. We have an acoustic version, so it’s Steve, Michelle, and me, and a piano.
It’s a really stripped down version of “Gemini”, but it’s super powerful, and Michelle’s voice sounds amazing next to a simple instrumental instrument.
It’s something really special and it’s so different from the live video or the clip we just released. Even the radio edition itself.
But I think he’s going to have his own presence and his own autonomy, because he’s super powerful. Just wait until you hear from this girl.
Michelle, a judge in this competition actually told you that you have to stop singing. How rude is that?
michelle: Yeah, I think for me the part that bothered me the most is you can never tell someone to stop creating. It’s just a part of the human being.
But when I go back to listen to the audio from that day, I’m like, okay, I sound like crap. So maybe the harsh criticisms were warranted, but I don’t think anyone, regardless of their position in the industry, has the power to tell someone to stop, that’s just ridiculous.
You’re right. We all have our bad days. It reminded me of American Idol when they had these train wreck shows and everyone used to tune into that because they loved seeing a train wreck, but honestly I’m glad that they don’t do it anymore because it’s horrible.
Even as bad as they are, it’s terrible to love just crushing someone’s dreams like that.
Martine: Some of these rejects had quite a good career thereafter.
It’s true, everyone has different tastes.