It’s 2013: UGG Boots are officially dead, Miley straddles a foam finger at the VMA’s, the Harlem Shake has indoctrinated us all, and the world is mourning “The Red Wedding”. In the year pop culture erupted, a teenage boy from Kent decided he wanted a slice of the action. Uploading Justin Timberlake covers to Facebook may not seem like the conventional route to stardom, but whether it was his impressive falsetto or artfully wind swept quiff, Harvey Cantwell soon garnered hundreds of fans, becoming a social media darling.
At 20, Harvey is now HRVY, and his career is on the rise. With two platinum records, a 4.6 million follower fanbase on Instagram, and a publishing deal with Universal Music, the singer is accustoming to life in the spotlight. “Someone will come up to me and ask for a picture and I’ll be like ‘yeah no worries’, not even thinking anything of it, and then I’ve got to remind myself, you know, that’s insane,” he laughs. “I’ve been doing it since I was thirteen, so it’s like I’ve grown up in my teens doing this kind of stuff which I love, but over the last two years it’s gotten a lot bigger”.
Despite HRVY’s ever-rising star, speaking to him you get the sense he’s really just your average 20-something lad with a penchant for firm hold hair gel and spicy chicken. Whilst his career takes him to glamorous locations across the world, he tells me there’s nowhere he’d rather be than Bluewater shopping centre’s food court. “Whenever I fly back from wherever I am in the world I always go home and spend time at my house. Well I say that; normally I go out and get a Nando’s at my local shopping centre.” He pauses contemplatively. “Nando’s and TGI Friday’s,” he re- affirms. It’s certainly true what they say, you can take the boy out of Kent, but you can’t take Kent out of the boy.
Indeed, it was in Bluewater that HRVY was mobbed this November. After scheduling an appearance at JD Sports to support his appearance in their latest campaign, the singer was ambushed by a flock of adoring fans. Never had so many pairs of Joni Jeans and Stan Smith’s been seen in a single area at one time before.