A prominent member of the Edinburgh music scene, 18-year-old Gus Harrower has the cheeky chappy personality to make him one of our #FutureFeatures.
Singer/songwriter Gus played for us in the Restless Earth gallery, filling the museum with his melancholic record ‘Where We Were’. We quickly realised why he had caught the attention of BBC Radio Scotland early on. Gus told us how this helped with his career:
“That was so cool. ‘Where We Were’, Janice Forsyth picked that as her single of the week. From that, I got to play at the BBC Tent at Edinburgh Fringe last year as well as on her radio show. It was such a good experience.”
Before long, Gus was playing Wembley Arena, which he considers one of his proudest achievements:
“It was incredible. There was about ten thousand people there, and I don’t think I’ll ever get to do that again. That was something I’m so proud of.”
Having been compared to Bon Ivor and Jack Barrett, Gus is inspired by fellow Scottish artists Lewis Capaldi and Callum Beattie, and his favourite singer/songwriter, Justin Currie:
“He is great. I think his lyrics and songs are fantastic. He’s in a band called Del Amitri. A genius!”
Pianist, singer, guitarist, sometimes rap artist, Gus is Edinburgh’s very own music man. He thanks his parents for his hereditary musical talents:
“I have always been musical, which my parents got me into it. My Dad got me into the piano, and my Mum would like to think of herself as a singer.”
Music clearly runs through his veins, but Gus’ real passion is the piano.
“I’ve played the piano for about twelve years now, and I love it. It’s something I just want to keep getting better at.”
As I sat surrounded by the glistening rocks and gems in the Restless Earth exhibition, accompanied by Gus and his one-man band, I wondered how much better he could get.
Inspired by his homeland, Gus looks to the landscapes of the North for musical motivation:
“Whenever I go up there, I think it’s just so beautiful and I immediately want to come back and write. It’s something that I feel very privileged to have in Scotland.”
As well as picturesque scenery, we shared a love for good old Scottish patriotism.
“When you listen to bands, our patriotism shines through. People always know which artists are Scottish and I think it’s so important to be proud of it. I’m so proud to be from Scotland.”
Proud as he is, does he think Scottish pop music exists? Not really:
“I think pop music is such a wide genre, influenced by so many different cultures. I don’t know if Scottish pop is different to any other pop music. Although, I think there are a host of brilliant new Scottish bands, and a few I’ve had the pleasure of being on the same bill with recently. Festivals like TRSNMT and Belladrum are great for promoting new Scottish acts and so they should, as the music coming out of here is some of the best.”
He also disagrees that the music scene in Edinburgh is lacking compared to its western counterpart:
“I think Edinburgh is different. It gets a lot of stick, but I don’t think it’s any worse. I just think there’s not as many big venues, but at the gigs themselves the music is just as great quality.”
So, what does the future feature for Gus? He is currently working on his next album, which will hopefully be out later in the year but is concentrating on collaborations. He believes these are key to making great music:
“I think collaboration is so important. I’m finding that I need to listen to more people and get influence from the people around me to produce music.”
As we stood on the balcony of the museum overlooking the Grand Gallery, Gus reminisced about childhood memories of coming here with his parents:
“There used to be a massive fish pond down in the middle of the museum, and when you came in you would chuck a coin in and make a wish. I’ll always remember that! I miss that pond.”
There might not be a pond anymore, but soon enough the Rip It Up exhibition is likely to be a new favourite for Gus. Final words from the singer/songwriter?
“I’m SO excited for this exhibit to open, and I’ll see you all there!”
To check out his upcoming shows and find out more, head to Gus Harrower’s website here: www.gusharrower.com or follow him on Facebook @gusharrowermusic.
#FutureFeatures is a campaign created by students from Edinburgh Napier University to celebrate the Rip It Up exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland. Find out more about the campaign at www.nms.ac.uk/futurefeatures. Rip It Up: The Story of Scottish Pop runs at the National Museum of Scotland until 25 November 2018. Find out more and book your tickets at www.nms.ac.uk/ripitup.