Photography by Moises Arias
“I cry all the time watching sunsets,” says Harry Hudson, the 22-year-old L.A.-based singer. “I cry everywhere. I like to cry.” He deems crying in New York “really refreshing.” And he recently told his 53,000 Twitter followers, “I just cried for 118min…now I feel amazing.” So it’s not without irony that Hudson, today, sports a white NASASEASONS hat embroidered in black with the words “Boys Don’t Cry.”
Hudson, who is perched on top of a table in the back patio attached to the Paramount Recording Studios in Hollywood, has had a complicated past few years, much of it shared publicly; scars visible. His nine tattoos include the date of his cancer diagnosis (6/21/2013), the date of his last chemo (01/09/2014)—a battle bravely documented on social media—and a rose on his left middle finger, recently inked in New York City by artist JonBoy, also a favorite of his pal Kylie Jenner who frequently features Hudson in her massively popular Snapchat stories.
Photographer Moises Arias, a Hannah Montana alum, sits nearby, chiming in to share his and Harry’s favorite hiking locations (anywhere in the Santa Monica Mountains) and to verify his talents as Hudson’s unofficial stylist. “He taught me how to layer,” says Hudson. “It’s all about layering things that wouldn’t go together,” Arias explains, adding: “Recently I put a windbreaker over a trench coat. That’s something you definitely don’t do, but it gave it a ‘ninjetic’ aesthetic.” Ninjetic Aesthetic. They both crack up.
Hudson and Arias are friends and collaborators who, along with Jaden and Willow Smith, Moises’s brother Teo, and several others, form the creative collective MSFTSrep—short for MSFTS republic—which they describe as “a creative work force dedicated to supporting and waking up the population of planet earth.”
“MSFTS is honestly just literally a collective of my best friends,” says Hudson. “We all just branched together at some point in life.”
All dip in and out of one another’s projects; harsh critiques encouraged. “I’m working on Jaden’s album right now and he’s working on mine,” explains Hudson whose EP, The Treatment (A-Side), was released in 2015. Growing up listening to equal parts rock (his dad) and Motown (his mom, who went to school with Michael Jackson), Hudson was more focused on sports as a potential profession. “I always felt like music was such a difficult task. Like you had to know somebody. I wanted to be a pro athlete,” he says, revealing that he made it onto a Junior Olympic volleyball team. “That’s a hidden fact.”
As a teen, he and his friends plugged a Rock Band mic into a Mac and used GarageBand to record raps with beats solicited from random people. “They weren’t even good beats,” he recalls. It was the MySpace era, though, and a growing, if niche, fanbase on the once-influential platform helped Hudson and his friends land a gig at the Key Club in Hollywood when he was 16. “After that, record labels hit us up. It was really random, but we’re just having fun, we’re just kids. We had no vision. We just wanted to have fun because we love music. That’s pretty much where it went from. And now, I’m here.”
Here, midway through recording an “urban folk” album he hopes to release this summer. Day-to-day, “here” is most often the beaches of Malibu or the mountains near his Calabasas home. Pressed for other local favorites, he lists Erewhon, a natural foods market, and the soon-to-open L.A. outpost of Shake Shack (which he, perhaps controversially, prefers over In-N-Out). “I love museums,” he adds. The Broad, which opened in downtown L.A. last year, is his current favorite. “It’s a new take on what a museum is. It’s very modern, beautiful. Good energy,” he says of the contemporary art space. The Getty Center and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) also get his stamp of approval. The latter, in recent years, played home to a retrospective of the work of master light artist and suspected “Hotling Bling” influence, James Turrell, an exhibition Hudson calls “so sick!”
In New York, he spends most of his time downtown, hitting up places like Mercer Kitchen, Sanctuary T, and Bar Pitti. That is, when he’s not hanging at the Trump Soho, starring in Kylie Jenner’s cinematic Snapchat masterpieces, as he did back in February.
“Honestly, it was just me and my friends goofing around. We were super bored and I didn’t understand how many people viewed her [Kylie Jenner’s] Snapchat,” says Hudson, whose friends and fellow costars included Kylie, Kendall, Kim, Caitlyn, and Kanye, who makes an ominous, if brief, cameo in one of the “short films.”
After they went live—and viral— his mom called. “She was like ‘I saw you on E! News, and they had this Snapchat thingy.’ And I was like ‘What the **** are you talking about?’” Hudson says the whole experience made him never want to use Snapchat again. “If I wasn’t making music, I wouldn’t have social media.”
Despite preference for a quieter life, one full of baths, nature, views—“ I like to see a view every single night. It’s like peace.”—and, yes, the occasional cry, Harry Hudson has very public goals.
“At the end of the day, I want to help save the world, as crazy as that sounds. But that’s my vision, to help bring light and spread love to the world. I have a group of misfits with me and they want to do the same thing. You can’t do anything by yourself. You can’t make an impact, you can’t create a wave by yourself.”
Harry wears Topman, Vans, Barney Cools, Onitsuka Tiger, and NASASEASONS. Shop these and other trends now at Nordstrom.com.