Class Actress

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Class Actress
Birth name Elizabeth Vanessa Harper
Born 1982/1983 (age 33–34)
Origin Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Genres Synthpop
Occupation(s)
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
Years active 2009–present
Labels
Website classactress.com

Elizabeth Vanessa Harper[1] (born 1982 or 1983),[2] better known by her stage name Class Actress, is an American singer, songwriter, and record producer. Class Actress was originally conceived as a trio, consisting of Harper, Mark Richardson, and Scott Rosenthal.[3][4]

History[edit]

Formation and early years[edit]

Harper majored in drama in college and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career as an actress, but she was unable to make it work and soon found herself disillusioned by it. After relocating to Brooklyn, she decided to pursue a career in music instead.[5] She formed Elizabeth Harper & the Matinee,[5] and in 2004, Harper's self-titled debut solo album was released by UK label Angular Recording Corporation.[6]

Harper later contacted Philadelphia-based producer Mark Richardson, who had remixed a song from her debut album.[6][7] She preferred Richardson's version to the original, and the two began recording songs at her house,[7][8] trading Harper's previous guitar-based sound for electronic music, which she had long been interested in exploring.[3][5][8] Along with multi-instrumentalist and engineer Scott Rosenthal, Harper and Richardson formed Class Actress—the name being a joke on Harper's original career choice.[5][8]

2009–12: Journal of Ardency and Rapprocher[edit]

Class Actress released their debut extended play, Journal of Ardency, on February 9, 2010 on Terrible Records, which is run by Grizzly Bear's Chris Taylor.[4] The New York Times described it as "an alluringly precise recapturing of the winning chill of early '80s electro-pop".[9] The EP also drew comparisons to New Order, The Human League, and Depeche Mode, while Harper's vocals were likened to those of Blondie's Debbie Harry and Saint Etienne's Sarah Cracknell.[10]

The trio's debut studio album, Rapprocher, was released on October 18, 2011 by Carpark Records. Harper stated that the title—which means "to come closer" in French[11]—was inspired by "a French lover who broke [her] heart".[12] The album received generally positive reviews from music critics, obtaining a rating of 69 out of 100 based on 16 critics on review aggregate site Metacritic.[13] AllMusic named it one of the best indie pop and rock albums of 2011.[14] Rapprocher reached number 21 on Billboard's Dance/Electronic Albums chart and number 27 on the Heatseekers Albums chart.[15][16] The song "Keep You" was used in an episode of the fifth season of the teen drama television series Gossip Girl.[17]

2013–present: Movies[edit]

As a solo artist under the moniker Class Actress, Harper signed to Casablanca Records in 2013.[18] That same year, she moved into a bungalow at The Beverly Hills Hotel in order to write and record songs.[19][20] Class Actress premiered the track "More Than You" on May 20, 2015,[21] and on June 2, it was announced that her EP Movies would be released on June 23 via Casablanca and Republic Records.[18] Taking inspiration from "the films of '80s excess, glamor and self-discovery",[18] Harper wanted Movies to tell "a dark story of a woman who explores the glamorous fantasy life of a Hollywood party girl."[22] The EP was executive-produced by Giorgio Moroder and Evan Bogart, and features production by Harper herself, Moroder, Neon Indian, and Mess Kid.[19]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Notes
Rapprocher

Extended plays[edit]

Title Album details Notes
Journal of Ardency
  • Released: February 9, 2010[24]
  • Label: Terrible
  • Formats: CD, 10", digital download
Movies

Music videos[edit]

Title Year Director(s)
"Journal of Ardency" 2010 Patrick Cleandenim[27]
"Adolescent Heart" Jessica Lauretti[28]
"Let Me Take You Out" 2011 Brett Haley[29]
"Weekend" Bek Andersen[30]
"Bienvenue" 2012 Clement Gino and Gregory Faure[31]
"Need to Know" Jessica Lauretti[32]
"More Than You" 2015 John Merizalde[33]
"GFE" Rachel Maude and Gabriel Reilich[34]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Songwriter/Composer: Harper Elizabeth Vanessa". BMI. Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  2. ^ Davis, Hays (July 30, 2010). "Remembering First Concerts: Greatest Stories Ever Told". Under the Radar. Retrieved July 9, 2015. Class Actress' Elizabeth Harper: Cocteau Twins (Age 13, 1996, Lollapalooza) 
  3. ^ a b Vanessa (November 30, 2010). "EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Elizabeth Harper of Class Actress". The Owl Mag. Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Deem, Anna (June 16, 2010). "Class Actress: Journal of Ardency EP". PopMatters. Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c d Baker, Brian (August 15, 2012). "A Class of Her Own". Cincinnati CityBeat. Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b Sia, Nicole (March 8, 2012). "Popping Up: Class Actress". Idolator. Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b Leahey, Andrew. "Class Actress | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  8. ^ a b c Breihan, Tom (November 10, 2009). "Rising: Class Actress". Pitchfork. Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Beyond Popping Corks, the Sounds of the New Year". The New York Times. December 23, 2010. Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  10. ^ Love, Joshua (February 1, 2010). "Class Actress: Journal of Ardency". Pitchfork. Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  11. ^ Breihan, Tom (June 27, 2011). "Class Actress Announce Debut Album". Pitchfork. Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  12. ^ Smoak, Matt (October 18, 2011). "A Minute With Class Actress' Elizabeth Harper". Elle. Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Reviews for Rapprocher by Class Actress". Metacritic. Retrieved January 14, 2012. 
  14. ^ "AllMusic's Favorite Indie Pop and Rock Albums of 2011". AllMusic. December 16, 2011. Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Class Actress – Chart history: Dance/Electronic Albums". Billboard. Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Class Actress – Chart history: Heatseekers Albums". Billboard. Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Gossip Girl Music | Season 5 – Episode 19". The CW. Archived from the original on June 6, 2012. Retrieved July 17, 2015. 
  18. ^ a b c Hampp, Andrew (May 3, 2015). "Class Actress Announces 'Movies' EP, Talks Collaborating With Giorgio Moroder: Exclusive". Billboard. Retrieved May 3, 2015. 
  19. ^ a b "Class Actress Made Some 'Movies'… Get Album News & More Here". Republic Records. June 4, 2015. Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  20. ^ Rowland, Sarah (June 16, 2015). "class actress used the hollywood illusion to make a very real record". Nylon. Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  21. ^ Muller, Marissa G. (May 20, 2015). "Class Actress Premieres "More Than You"". The Fader. Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  22. ^ Syme, Rachel (June 22, 2015). "Stream the New EP From Class Actress (With an Assist From the Disco Legend Giorgio Moroder)". T: The New York Times Style Magazine. Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  23. ^ a b Sendra, Tim. "Rapprocher – Class Actress". AllMusic. Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  24. ^ a b "Journal of Ardency – EP by Class Actress". iTunes Store (US). Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  25. ^ "Journal of Ardency (Bonus Track Version) – EP by Class Actress". iTunes Store (US). Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  26. ^ a b "Movies – EP by Class Actress". iTunes Store (US). Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  27. ^ "Class Actress release CD + Video". The Deli Magazine. March 4, 2010. Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  28. ^ Brandon (April 27, 2010). "Class Actress – "Adolescent Heart" Video (Stereogum Premiere)". Stereogum. Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  29. ^ "Class Actress | Videos". classactress.com. Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  30. ^ Goble, Corban (October 17, 2011). "Class Actress – "Weekend" Video". Stereogum. Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  31. ^ Goble, Corban (January 20, 2012). "Class Actress – "Bienvenue" Video". Stereogum. Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  32. ^ Breihan, Tom (November 2, 2012). "Class Actress – "Need To Know" Video (Stereogum Premiere)". Stereogum. Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  33. ^ "More Than You – Class Actress". Vevo. June 2, 2015. Retrieved July 9, 2015. 
  34. ^ White, Caitlin (September 10, 2015). "Class Actress – "GFE" Video". Stereogum. Retrieved November 27, 2015. 

External links[edit]