By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com
It is an honor to welcome Haley Reinhart to Jake’s Take!
Haley was one of the lucky singers to make to the Judges’ Round of American Idol’s tenth anniversary season. After charming Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler with her covers of Alicia Keys’ “Fallin’” and the Beatles’ “Oh! Darling,” she earned a ticket to Hollywood Week. Throughout the show’s infamous “Hell Week,” Haley soared above her competition and landed a place in Season 10’s Top 13.
Each week, Haley got stronger vocally and delivered knockout performances such as “Bennie & The Jets” and “The House of the Rising Sun.” These performances not only wowed the show’s guest mentors including Sheryl Crow, Lady Gaga (who personally cleared “You & I” for Haley) and Beyoncé, but Haley also received praise from previous Idol alums including Kelly Clarkson and Adam Lambert. In addition, both two-time Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks and former judge Ellen DeGeneres declared Haley: their favorite contestant of the season. She also made an impact in the rock world as Jimmy Paige and Robert Plant personality called Idol and gave her the opportunity to do a song from the Led Zeppelin Songbook!
While she finished in the Top Three, Haley soared to a great music career that includes a hot debut album, Listen Up, which peaked in the Top 20 of the Billboard Top 200 and recorded successful collaborations with Scott Bradlee & Postmodern Jukebox that went viral!
In this edition of A Conversation, Haley reflected on her time on American Idol, her work with Postmodern Jukebox and which music legend she wants to collaborate with in the future.
Jacob Elyachar: How have you grown as an artist since your time on “American Idol”?
Haley Reinhart: During my time on the show, I was able to explore different genres each week. Since then, I have continued to reach out and broaden my horizons with my own records and in other projects. I have created somewhat of an alter ego over the last few years, which allows me to perform everything from soul and funk to rock and jazz. I know exactly how I want to be represented. Everything from my music and my views to my style. In knowing this, it is amazing to see things fall into place more each day.
JE: What were some of your favorite memories from your time on “American Idol”?
HR: Lucky for me, I was able to break the mold and have my dad join me on the big stage for Led Zeppelin’s “What Is and What Should Never Be.” It’s amazing when stars align and things become full circle. I also loved performing “Moanin’” with Casey (Abrams) as well, because the way it came about could not have been any more organic. Also, the fact that we were able to regenerate a jazz classic in the modern-day, well, I would have been happy no matter what the votes said.
JE: Your performance of “I Who Have Nothing” remains one of the best performances in “Idol” history. How important was it for you to deliver that impeccable performance? Why do you think it remains one of the most remembered performances from your season?
HR: Sometimes our best work comes out of our most challenged moments. It is instinctual. I felt I was being broken down prior to that performance. I chose to rise above it all and channel my inner strength and passion. Not to mention, I had a breathtaking orchestra behind me to add to the drama of it all! (Smiles)
JE: Could you describe your songwriting process to my readers?
HR: It all depends on the day, how I feel, who I am collaborating with, and my environment. I typically look for an interesting chord progression, hear a melody, then begin to feel out the tonality of the tune. Suddenly, my story and the lyrics comes to the surface. Sometimes it is cool to come in the studio and already have a grasp of what it is I would like to send out to the universe.
JE: What are some of the challenges that you faced throughout your career in the music industry? How did you overcome them?
HR: It is tough being far away from your loved ones back home and it is also hard to trust those in the industry who try to hold so much control over your destiny. I always trust my intuition and ask questions. If I need to make changes to better myself and ultimately those around me, then so be it! I also self-managed for a few years and got to know exactly what it takes to run my own brand.
JE: Last year, you released several superb YouTube collaborations with Scott Bradlee & Postmodern Jukebox. How did this partnership come about? What were some of your favorite collaborations with the group?
HR: It was another blessing to be able to work with Postmodern Jukebox! I went to watch them play at a club in LA over a year ago. They asked me to sit in and it has been magic ever since. I am so happy we have had success in doing what we do and love best: playing live with beautiful, heartfelt arrangements. My favorite collaboration is “Creep.” I always connected with that song. Maybe, it is the empathy in me. I did not even think it was good enough on my part to even share with the world. So, it just goes to show what raw emotion can do and how many people can connect to it.
JE: Which artists or producers would you like to collaborate with in the future?
HR: Some might say that I have an old soul and I like to dream big, too! So, Sir Paul McCartney will always be at the top of my list! I would also like to work with someone new and innovative like Bruno Mars and/or Mark Ronson.
JE: How has social media helped you not only connect with your fans, but also grow your fanbase?
HR: I believe the two go hand in hand. I like to let pictures tell many of my stories. It’s so cool to connect with fans and help inspire. Although it’s a bit trembling to me, what a numbers world we live in today, I’m happy to interact with my amazing fans and let them know how much their support means to me.
JE: If you had the chance to meet with aspiring singer-songwriters who want to enter the music industry, what advice would you share with them?
HR: As soon as you know who you are, the kind of artist you want to be and what message you want to spread to the world-hold onto it. The sooner everyone knows what it is YOU want, the easier it will be to achieve just that. Once, you have the utmost power over your spirit, body and mind–you will be able to achieve your dreams over and over again. ✌🏼🌻
Haley Reinhart’s “Idol” performances are properties of FOX, 19 Entertainment & FremantleMedia North America.
Postmodern Jukebox feat. Haley Reinhart’s “Creep” is property of Postmodern Jukebox.