Meet 26 year old Singer/Songwriter, Ilana Harkavy, who has had an exciting career in electronic dance music and has collaborated and toured with popular and amazing artists worldwide. She's also worked on music that's been featured on both television and movies.
But she's never quite felt satisfied. So this past spring, she went back to her roots: Pop music. And she created her very first solo project, Just, Girl.
Tell us more about the Just, Girl. project.
The Just, Girl. Project is a fiery musical movement that empowers girls to embrace their passions, be blatantly honest, and to take ownership of their individual struggles. Through the power of music, this project relates to and empowers girls to be the utmost honest version of themselves, take responsibility for who they are, and go after what they are most passionate about.
What was the genesis of the Just, Girl. Project?
A couple of years ago I stumbled upon a startling subculture: social media accounts devoted to the promotion of anorexia, bulimia, and self-harm. It broke my heart because, not only did I feel saddened by these negative messages, but I also related to them. Haven’t we all been in that awful place where we’ve looked in the mirror and absolutely hated what we’ve seen?
I think we can all agree that there are plenty of negative messages being fed to girls throughout the media, society, and within their personal lives. But, let’s be honest, no one can ultimately bring us down if we decide to own how incredible, amazing, and unique we are. I believe every person, both girl and boy, holds the power to create their own happiness.
I know that being okay with yourself and loving who you are is a CONSTANT cycle, but we can never truly be okay with ourselves if we don’t allow ourselves to be. And that’s why I created my music. I want to provide something functional and relatable that spreads positivity, inspiration, and happiness. Cindy Lauper, Alanis Morissette, & Tori Amos provided that for me….Now, I want to be that for others.
Where can we hear one of your songs?
The song "My Body" is the one that talks most about body image issues. Check it out on Soundcloud here. https://soundcloud.com/ilanaharkavy/just-girl-ep-preview
You’ve had a history with eating disorders and depression.
My entire life I have struggled with my relationship with food and the impact that it has had on not only my self esteem, but on the way I physically view my body. They always told me that I saw myself bigger than I was, but I never believed them. They said I had “body dysmorphia” among other things. I was also diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety, amongst other things. Everyone's "opinions" haunted me and I think I allowed them not only to define me, but to become my identity. As I grew older, and stopped, I still struggled with starving and binging, hiding, and beating myself up.
How have you overcome these issues?
There’s a million things about my body that I struggle to accept even now. I guess I just sort of woke up one day and had this epiphany--Ultimately, I am who I am, and I’m realizing…now more than ever…that I have to accept that if I want to be any version of happy.
I am the ONLY ONE who will ever be with me forever and 100% of the time. I am the only one that will love me more than anything. So I write, I sing, I wear bracelets reminding me not to use food as a weapon, and I speak positively to myself. I wish I had the answers but sadly, I just sort of move threw everyday and hope for the best and work hard to work through the things that I struggle with.
The person I am today is still very much a work in progress. While I struggle daily to accept what I see in the mirror, I want nothing more than to love myself and making music that is raw and honest, gives me motivation to make impact in a meaningful way.
Music and movement are inexplicably intertwined. Your thoughts this type of self-expression?
I believe that this project has the ability to revolutionize music and girl culture, as having music that ‘gets you’ is so important. Music is subliminal and creeps into our minds without us even knowing. We memorize words as easily as we breathe. When you "move"--workout, dance, walk around, etc, music only heightens the adrenaline and overall feelings you get when you are doing that activity.
It allows you to set a soundtrack for your mood and your mind. It lifts you up, or it makes you deal with painful realities. Music and movement are completely intertwined. Music pushes you to move and movement inspires you to listen and really focus on the beat, the instrumentation, and the message of the song. That's damn powerful!
What’s next for you?
The one-year plan is simple. I just released my EP. I want to create amazing music videos with strong messages, as well as tour worldwide to perform and promote the songs. I would also love to make this EP a full-length album by creating an additional 5+ songs.
But more importantly, I want to continue growing the movement online. I’ll continue to write on my blog and create social campaigns devoted to positive and honest messages for young women. I also plan to start The Just, Girl. Project mentorship program and a non-profit and a record label where we can develop artists with strong social messages, and a global movement!
Follow Ilana and the Just, Girl. Project here: