Born in Oregon to musical parents, Haley Johnsen is a singer-songwriter whose refreshingly ambient sound coupled with her unique and heartfelt lyricism is steadily making her a modern- day Bonnie Raitt. Haley first gained national recognition after a strong run on American Idol ,which spawned numerous exciting opportunities for her including opening for Sawyer Fredericks (2015 winner, The Voice) and headlining her first tour in Europe earlier this year. She has self-released two EPs namely, Through the Blue and When You Lit the Sky as well as a reputable catalogue of songs that showcase her multifaceted artistic persona.
She recently released the first single and video for "Everything Comes Back Again", which is the lead single from her upcoming first full studio album and LP entitled Golden Days. The irrefutable talent of this diamond in a sea of rhinestones is evidenced in her moving ballad “Keep It Together”, which paints a message that is pleasantly reminiscent of the R.E.M. hit “Everybody Hurts”. The truth is when life gives us lemons, not all of us immediately make lemonade. The majority of us break down; we go through it, and the message that Haley so powerfully conveys is that we are not alone. We are all , in our own way, doing the best we can to “keep it together”. As humans , we are predisposed to second guess our worth and our purpose. Struggle is relative as is seen in how skillfully Haley illustrates different examples of different people trying to “piece it together” - the ingenious gist of it all being her subtle yet amazing ability to present varying struggles not as a way to segregate us but to bring us together. The lush instrumentation and ethereal harmonies , the uplifting lesson and the vocal fluorescence of this mature soul make for a relaxed but potent track.
Listen to "Keep It Together" here and get to know more about Haley Johnsen below!
Hello Haley, lovely talking to you. If you could use three words to describe Haley Johnsen the artist, what would they be and why?
Hello! So great getting to chat with you! Three words that describe me would be: Determined- almost every song I write speaks of overcoming obstacles and coming out of something even stronger. Dynamic- I sing with emotion, paying attention to how each word should be sung, going from soft to powerful, doing my best to pull people into the feeling. Genuine- What you see is what you get. I don't feel the need to hide behind any smoke and mirrors and want people to feel seen and heard as I express my truest self. I want them to know that they are not alone in their struggles.
“Keep It Together” is truly a beautiful song, borderline transcendent! What frame of mind were you in when you wrote this song? What inspired it?
Thank you so much! I was sitting at my kitchen table the morning I wrote this song. I had recently woken up, later than I had hoped. Im' always so hard on myself when it comes to "doing enough" each day. I supposed the initial theme of the song was inspired by that. How we're all just trying to do our best, but we always have our shortcomings. Life is hard, arduous, complicated, and we are all just trying to keep ourselves, our bodies, minds, relationships together through it all.
You have toured with Sawyer Fredericks, The Wind and The Wave and you’re about to tour with the band Joseph, how do you get in the frame of mind to perform in front of all the eager fans? What are some of your pre-show rituals?
There is no real knowing how it is going to feel when you walk onto that stage. Every night, city, venue, audience is so different. I try not to get too in my head about how the energy will be, but I always try to make sure mine is calm. I like to have at least 10 minutes before a show to be alone and briefly run through my set with my guitar, noting transitions and when I want to say something. I breathe, I drink lots of water. No alcohol. And then, I just have to make the bold step to stand up there and make people feel something. NO PRESSURE! haha
Which artist or producer would you be super excited to collaborate with and why?
Brandi Carlile!! She is just...a boss. She's an artist AND producer, and has been one of my biggest inspirations since diving into music. She is just the real deal through and through and is 100% her authentic self. No BS. No trying to be something she's not. I just love her.
Besides touring with the band Joseph, what’s next for Haley Johnsen?
I will be releasing my debut full length LP titled Golden Days on May 24th! This Summer I am playing lots of shows of my own as well as some electronic festivals playing bass and backup vocals for a DJ named Big Wild! I love being able to play music even if it's something that challenges me in a different way. I have a lot of other exciting things coming up for my project, but I have to keep it a secret for now! ;)
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