Artist: Elizabeth HarperThough she was born and raised in sunny Southern California, Elizabeth Harper grew up listening to the sounds of rainy Manchester. For obvious reasons, the two never seemed to fit. So when she had her first chance to escape, Elizabeth headed to New York City with the proverbial suitcase in hand. She had an invitation to perform with the prestigious WOW theater company. But after a few weeks of avant guard theater, she found herself as many fresh faced new comers do: homeless and hapless in New York City.
Elizabeth spent the autumn of 2002 crashing on the floor of an apartment directly above Carmine Street Guitars. She frequently wandered in to chat with the owner Rick Kelly, and he eventually gave her a job. Her title? "I was like the store cat," she confesses. The late legendary guitarist Bob Quine (Lou Reed, Richard Hell and the Voidoids) was a regular there and the two would hang out in the back listening to Blind Willie McTell and the Velvet Underground. It was then she started writing songs. To help her learn guitar she turned to her favorite, Elliott Smith, downloaded tablature to his songs, and spent hours everyday learning to finger pick.
One day NYU music student Scott Rosenthal, wandered in the store and heard her playing some original songs. Though still in college, he was already making a name by producing local independent bands like the Oxford Collapse (Subpop) The two learned they shared the same taste in music and began collaborating. They recorded a few songs at Scott's apartment and started performing live. Booking agents around New York were taking note, and Elizabeth was soon performing at prestigious New York venues the Bowery Ballroom and the Mercury Lounge with such acts as Iron and Wine, Adam Green, and Paul Banks of Interpol, just to name a few.
Early crowd favorites, 'Trouble In The Palace', 'Accidental Flirt' and 'Rock Like a baby' earned their places on the record. Word reached the UK's Angular Records founder who caught her set opening up for Johnny Marr at the Mercury lounge. Angular was about to hit the indie jackpot on its first two compilations by being the first label to discover and release material by Bloc Party, Art Brut, and the Long Blondes. Elizabeth placed standout tracks on both compilations and Angular eventually released Elizabeth's full length debut in the winter of 2005 to great acclaim.