Halley Neal Releases New Single "If I Was Ready" and Discusses Forthcoming Album
Thank you for chatting with us Halley! Looking back, what was the first album or “Vinyl” you bought? The first album that my dad bought for me was Madonna’s self titled record. I’m not old enough to have listened to it in it’s prime, but I remember I told my parents as a young kid that I really liked singing and my dad went out and bought a Madonna record for me. I looooved that album. I loved the feeling and the passion that was so clearly a driving force behind those songs.
Who have been some of your biggest musical influences growing up and do the same artists currently continue to influence you now? I went through lots of different phases growing up: Kelly Clarkson, Avril Lavigne, Green Day. Then even more recently and pretty consistently for the last fiveor so years were Sara Bareilles and John Mayer, just the classic singer-songwriters of my time. My personal taste changed as the top 40s sound changed, I think, but what was consistently being played around me was the music that my parents loved. My dad was really into 60’s rock and that style has definitely influenced my sound. It’s funny, because I remember for years not really wanting to listen to my parents’ music because it felt out-dated and not relatable, but as I’ve grown older I see how much that music has shaped today’s music. I love that music from the 60s now and I love incorporating elements from that nostalgic sound to my music.
Is there any news for the forthcoming album? Yes yessss!!! I’ve been working on my debut solo album for over a year and had some postponement happen because of Covid. The sound and the vibe of this record feels more like “me” than any other music I’ve worked on in the past. The album combines elements of classic acoustic singer-songwriter with full on rock band vibes. I was hugely influenced by artists that I grew up listening to with my parents: Grateful Dead, The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac. I wanted this record to feel a little nostalgic and a little throwback-y. I’m VERY excited to release it and my new single “If I Was Ready” which feels like a perfect representation of this new sound I’ve been discovering.
Where do you draw inspiration from when writing? Lately, I’ve been trying really hard to just write from my life. Being vulnerable with my music is something that has taken me years to really dive in to, but it’s been so wonderful lately to be able to just release the way that I’m feeling into a song. Some of these songs on my upcoming record are super personal and were really meaningful to write, and I hope that my listeners can feel that vulnerability and connect with it
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people take away from your songs? My hope is that people hear my music and feel connected. Connected to a thought or a feeling that I describe, connected to this mutual understanding that the past is behind us, connected to anything, really. I try to write honestly and candidly and I hope that my music lets people see these specific moments of my life, and feel less alone in their own feelings. It’s scary to put out music that is personal but it’s really exciting to think that people might connect with me and share in the way that I feel. My new single “If I Was Ready” is a really fun one that I am so so excited to share. I think at the surface it’s really just a feel-good bop that makes you want to dance and sing. But looking into the lyrics a little deeper reveals the actual message of the song - it talks about feeling unable to commit and dealing with that own personal heartbreak of knowing that you’re not ready to commit to someone even though you really do want to. I hope my listeners can bop along to this song with me, and also connect with these feelings that I think many of us have gone through.
Was there ever music playing in the kitchen growing up? I just texted my mom to ask who it was that she would always play and she told me it was Bette Midler!! Talk about power ballad queen! Aside from that, I distinctly remember dancing around the kitchen to “Bouncing Around The Room” by Phish and some of my parent’s other favorites who have become distinct musical inspirations to me over the years.
What is your favorite dish to cook? I quarantined with my parents and my grandmother for three months and during that time I perfected my vegetable soup recipe. They all really liked it and to be honest, I think that was probably what made cooking it up to be that much more exciting each time hahaha. Other than that, I LOVE a good fried rice because I just truly throw in whatever I have and it’s always new and always good!
What's your favorite fast food chain? Gotta stick to my New England-born self, and say Dunkin.
What is your favorite family recipe? I come from an Italian family, and there is one specific pasta sauce recipe, which I believe originated from my great grandmother, that is THE recipe for my family. My dad makes it every year for Christmas and other special occasions. It’d definitely the most iconic, and my personal favorite.
Finally, if you could be sponsored by one food/drink brand who would it be and why? My roommates and I (pre-covid) hosted monthly house shows and always had a bunch of White Claws on hand, joking that we were sponsored by them. I know people hate on the Claw, but they’re actually really good!!
Halley Neal is a Nashville based singer and songwriter. Inspired by songwriters from the 60's and 70's, Halley has been working on her debut record for the past year with plans to release in 2020. Halley has had many notable collaborations, such as with producer and guitarist of Zac Brown Band, Clay Cook, to her featured performance at Berklee College of Music's Commencement concert for Missy Elliott, Justin Timberlake and Alex Lacamoire. After the success of her song “Lover” released with her former band Rose & Kennedy and which has gained over 5 million combined streams, Halley is now working on a solo project. Her new sound blends soothing layered vocals with Americana production, and is deeply rooted by the music she grew up listening to: "I love making music that has a glimmer of reminiscence in it; something that reminds people of another time.”