At 11, Harper Grace was known as “The Anthem Girl.”
The young Texan received national criticism and death threats when her video went viral over her off-key rendition of our national anthem at a soccer game.
At 17, she auditioned for American Idol, placing in the Top 50, and where she performed her original song “Yard Sale,” which is gaining popularity. May 4, she opens for Luke Bryan at the Off the Rails Country Music Fest in Frisco, TX.
Even though she had a rocky start in her singing career, Harper Grace is positive about life and her future.
A song you sang went viral, but not for good reasons. What happened when you sang The National Anthem at a soccer game, when you were 11?
I will never forget that day because it was a turning point for me. After the video went viral of me singing, it was hard reading everyone’s harsh comments, especially the ones who wanted me dead. Can you imagine, as an eleven-year-old, reading death threats simply because I couldn’t hear myself, and I wasn’t given any information about the sound system or had a proper sound check? That was tough, but my parents and close friends were so supportive of me during that time.
What was life like up until that moment?
I grew up doing gymnastics with a mom who trained elite gymnasts with Bela Karolyi. I was six when I was in the Tops program, training for Olympic hopefuls. But something inside me kept yearning to quit and pursue music. A year later, a piano was donated to my family. When I turned nine, my grandma bought me my very own guitar, and I fell hard into country music. Writing songs about shampoo, conditioner and homeschooling slowly merged into my first single, “Yard Sale.”
What do you like about singing country music?
I write all genres from R&B to worship music, but I love country music because it allows me to tell stories, and I can inspire others through my lyrics.
How did your hit song “Yard Sale” come about?
I was sitting with my co-writers Michael August, Megan Conner and Alex Seier in the living room one day, eating snacks, when Megan started talking about how ignorant guys can be sometimes and how we wished we could just get rid of all of their junk. That birthed out the beautiful baby we titled “Yard Sale.”
Last year, you competed on American Idol. Describe that experience.
Most people sign up online and wait in the long lines, but an American Idol producer reached out to me and sent me straight to the producer rounds. From there I went to perform for the judges, then went to Hollywood and made it all the way to the Top 50 with an incredible opportunity to go back on the season finale and sing “Yard Sale.” I really enjoyed learning about myself and who I am as an artist while being on Idol, along with making lifelong friends.
Was there ever another life-choice you wanted to pursue besides singing?
There’s no doubt in my mind that music is what I want to do for the rest of my life, but my long term goal is to build an orphanage in Africa and do missionary work over there. But in the meantime, when I’m not writing songs, having meetings in Nashville, or performing, you can catch me at the local boxing ring with my dog Rascal, or grabbing a fresh green juice from the juice bar.
What is one fun fact most people would not know about you?
I can yodel! On a more serious note, I spend some of my free time going to the old folks’ home my mom works at to sing old school Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash songs for their enjoyment.
What advice would you give others to encourage or inspire them in a singing career?
Stay true to who you are, and never lose your identity. No matter what anybody says, you can do absolutely anything you set your mind to. I mean, take a look at what happened to me: I went from being known as “The Anthem Girl” to soon opening up for a Luke Bryan concert.
Cover photo courtesy Harper Grace
Bob Valleau is a freelance writer living in McKinney, Texas