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Marshall Harner Needs This to Feel Like He’s Still Breathing

By Cynthia Gross

This reading of Alchemical Records content provides a multimedia experience for our audience while increasing the accessibility of our content to persons with hearing loss, low vision, dyslexia, physical or motor disabilities, or are on the autism spectrum.

On January 28, Gaithersburg, Maryland-born artist Marshall Harner released his latest album, When The Night Was Just The Time When We Could Fall Asleep, a genre-defying collection of songs that explore loss, change, and reconciling with the past. The rising talent draws on R&B influences to deliver perhaps his most vulnerable and heartfelt project to date.

“Weather,” the album’s lead single, featuring Ashburn, Virginia-based artist Ben Tsakopulos, showcases Harner’s versatility as a songwriter and producer. “‘Weather’ is a song about the end of a good thing,” he explains. “I wrote it with Ben Tsakopulos, and the track covers our shared past experiences with losing someone close to us. I created the instrumental for the track during a studio session with Ben, and over the next few weeks, we perfected the harmonies for the chorus, recorded our verses and mixed and mastered the track together.”

“When the weather’s getting cold, I feel my heart slow / When we’re together, I think about when we’re apart though / But I really need this to feel like I’m still breathing,” Harner sings in the refrain. Harner effectively incorporates seasonal symbolism throughout the track in alignment with the song’s weather theme.

“Weather” juxtaposes Harner’s personal growth and healing journey with nature’s inherent cycle of restoration in response to the changing seasons. “But I know that changes are needed for me to keep surviving / I know the damage is done, but I wanna keep on driving / I think that maybe the weather’s been changing for the better,” Harner sings. If nature is any indication, “Weather” suggests there is hope and a path forward beyond the current winter season.

Another standout track on the album, “Like Hell,” incorporates alternative guitar-driven instrumentation to the eclectic sonic palette, supported by Harner’s ear-pleasing vocals and smooth rhymes. Despite the song’s topic of confronting past bad habits, “Like Hell” feels uplifting and cathartic due to its head-nodding danceable beat and catchy melody.

Speaking about the album as a whole, Harner shares that When The Night Was Just The Time When We Could Fall Asleep chronicles the last two years of his life. “Many of the songs cover past relationship experiences, substance abuse and my relationship with my family,” he explains. “Most of the lyrics are very confessional, as I used the songs as a way to get some things off my chest. Overall, this album is about wishing for simpler times.”

Fans of Ed Sheeran and Tracy Chapman will identify with Marshall Harner’s candid, compelling songwriting, in which he effectively uses the platform to process his emotions in a way that feels both personal and universal. Check out the full album and stay tuned for what promises to be an exciting year for this DMV artist.

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Cynthia Gross

Cynthia Gross is a freelance writer and award-winning spiritual pop artist based in Maryland. With more than a decade of experience as an executive ghostwriter, she understands the power of each individual’s voice to create positive, meaningful change.

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