Welcome to Boombox Blitz, an artist spotlight series showcasing overlooked singers, songwriters and musicians who are quietly taking over the world.
You only have one shot to make a first impression, and boy, does Ace Harper knock it out of the park. Her psychedelic, synthetic debut single, “Neon Heart,” is imprinted with a Salvador Dali absurdity, clawing its way between Bowie and Madonna. The cut-and-paste visual is as bizarre, seemingly aloof, as you could expect ⎯⎯ floating rainbow-doused mannequin hands tumble from the heavens, floral patterns spin right ’round and snakes nest in vibrant flower petals. And that’s not all: there are silver wigs, seashells and sliding cassette tapes, oh my!
Womanhood and celebrating the skin you’re in instantly become the clip’s central themes, framed around blissful freedom and shattering the glass ceiling. “[The song] is a modern anthem for feminism. It speaks to the incredible resilience of women and our ability to illuminate dark situations with internal strength,” she explains. Harper, who hails from Oklahoma, and her artistic leanings date back to extensive dance work as a child. Later, she traipsed the globe, uncovering the beauty in herself, as well as various physical forms and expressions. The yearning to be and to live as uniquely independent as possible seeps into her lyric. “Just because I feel it doesn’t mean you feel it too,” she acknowledges in the song, a score of drums and synths echoing the sudden revelation. “The only thing in my control, what I’m here to do / My soul’s attic has a tunnel with a crack where the line bleeds through / The only way to feel it, dig deeper…”
“Neon Heart” (out now) is just the tip of the iceberg of her forthcoming debut project. “It’s a mixture of a lot of different genres. There’s definitely a punk attitude, but there’s a new fresh electronic undercurrent,” Harper says. “There’s no specific category, I want to invite everybody to the party.”