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Señorita: Harm Franklin discusses Calgary’s Top Secret producers & collaborating with Nessly

Calgary, AB – Over the weekend Calgary artist Harm Franklin released a new flip of Justin Timberlake’s cult classic record “Señorita.” The flip was produced by Rajah and sry., and features a verse from Atlanta artist Nessly (who came out to Calgary earlier this year to co-headline a show with Harm).

Much like its JT predecessor, “Señorita” is an essential summer anthem in appreciation of all the females out there making guys catch feelings. It’s one of those tracks you don’t expect to see flipped, and it’s also one of those songs you’re not even sure you want see flipped. But Harm came proper, adding his own emotional trap flavour into the mix.

Harm Franklin is one of few people I stay watching on the Calgary scene. And a lot of that has to do with his ability to innovate. On the production side of things, Harm has a knack for finding these ridiculously talented up-and-comers, and getting them to co-produce. Right now the production team operates under the name Top Secret and consists of Rajah, sry., Curtis Waters, and MayU.

So basically Harm gets all of this fire production while simultaneously facilitating artistic development and a really organic creation process. Instead of just lurking around SoundCloud and copping beats to record on, Harm gets his team into the studio together. And that’s where they put in the work. This is surprisingly rare nowadays. And it’s given me a lot of respect for the team. Listen to “Señorita” below, and scope our in-depth interview with Harm after the jump.

Señorita: Harm Franklin discusses Calgary's Top Secret producers & collaborating with Nessly - HipHopCanada.com

Q&A: Harm Franklin

HipHopCanada: Start off by telling me what this song means to you.

Harm Franklin: This song is like a perfect summer song and I feel it’s so accessible and easy to vibe with we had to put it out before the weather got bad.

HipHopCanada: What’s the significance of the original JT version of “Señorita” to you?

Harm Franklin: Well I really loved the original version of it and when he does the guy and girl singing: “It feels like something’s heating up/ Can I leave with you?” so I think I paid homage and flipped it well. The beat was different originally when Rajah sent it to me. But after Ness did his verse I wanted sry. to get a placement as well because I have another song with Nessly produced by Curtis Waters and MayU. I just always thought that song was so cool and fly. I was never a JT hater, and “Señorita” is just such a dope, enjoyable ass song.

HipHopCanada: I think remixes generally get a really bad reputation. And you’re someone who’s always had a really innovative approach to flipping songs. How did this all come together?

Harm Franklin: Well one of the days before I went to work with Rajah, he’s like “Hey man! I flipped ‘Senorita’ by Justin Timberlake jokingly, and I think you could do something special to it.” When I heard the beat I was so stoked ’cause I knew what I could do with it.

“…one of the days before I went to work with Rajah, he’s like ‘Hey man! I flipped ‘Senorita’ by Justin Timberlake jokingly, and I think you could do something special to it.’ When I heard the beat I was so stoked ’cause I knew what I could do with it.”

HipHopCanada: Tell me about the female (or females) who inspired this one.

Harm Franklin: Haha. Putting me on blast, huh? Just kidding. Well it’s about just lovely women in general. So I caught inspiration from a few moments and the feeling you have when you really want one girl and only her and want to make her feel special. When we made [this track] a few months ago I was feeling a girl a lot too. So some of the inspiration was for her.

HipHopCanada: Talk to me about what the collaboration process with Nessly was like and how that transpired. And what’s the story behind how the two of you initially connected?

Harm Franklin: I brought Nessly out to Calgary to co-headline a show with me and we had already built rapport from me and him doing “Private Caller”. So when he was here for a few days and we would be driving around he would ask to hear some Harm Franklin music. And he really f**ked with “Señorita” ’cause it was original and different from everything out especially the “Wheneverrrrrr Shakira” part. Then when we went to the studio he banged out his verse in like 10 minutes. It actually made me be more natural with my recording process too – since then – by writing less and capturing a feeling. But yeah after that we sent the stems to sry. so he could put some of his flavor on it and it as a slam dunk.

“We’ve basically built this team of what I felt was the best producers in the city.”

HipHopCanada: You’re very particular about the producers you work with, and you also have a tendency to work with a lot of the producers coming up. That, and you often force them to collaborate with one another. And that’s kind of become your M.O. Talk to me about that and why you’ve made that your process.

Harm Franklin: Yeah. We’ve basically built this team of what I felt was the best producers in the city. I started working with MayU, then a friend introduced me to sry. like “Hey this dude is from Calgary getting millions of plays on SoundCloud, but he just didn’t wanna work with you because of who you were aligned with before. But once he meets you he’ll love you!” And I was like “Wow they’re gonna be amazing together.” I already knew about Rajah and how talented he was. So then we got him involved once I told him what we were going for. Curtis was the final piece of the puzzle but he used to hate me because people filled his head with BS about me. But he was already cool with MayU, Rajah, and sry. from working with them and they all vouched for me. And yeah. I was basically like “Hey you guys are so gifted on your own and when I work with one of you we make such good music. We’re going to be SCARY good if we all link up. We have something nobody has!” Like building a skyscraper together rather than building our own little towers alone. We call it Top Secret and now that we have so much music compiled, it’s time to start letting them go… starting with this one, then the Hot Boy tape with Curtis. And him and MayU see me make these songs seamlessly, so they’re beginning to come into their own as artists as well.


Twitter: @HarmFranklin

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Sarah Jay

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Sarah Jay is HipHopCanada's Associate Editor in Chief. Sarah is based in Calgary and works as a freelance journalist and photographer. Sarah is also a former A&R talent scout for the Universal Music Scouting Program, and runs a vintage store during the day. Sarah has juried the JUNO Awards, The Polaris Music Prize, and The Prism Prize. She has been fortunate enough to interview and photograph some of hip-hop's greatest influencers including Future, ScHoolboy Q, Ghostface Killah, Moka Only, Maestro Fresh Wes, Shad, Joey Bada$$, Mac Miller, and more. Follow Sarah on Twitter: @ThisIsSarahJay

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