1. Thanks so much for chatting with us! Tell us a little bit about how you got into music.
I have always loved performing! I remember when I was a little girl at family functions, my cousin Jenni and I would make up dances and songs and make our family watch us perform them. I had a knack for anything musical as well, and stepped on my first stage at a third grade talent show and sang “America The Beautiful”. I remember loving the way it felt to sing to a large audience! When I was about 12 years old I started writing songs, and at the age of 15 I taught myself how to play guitar on a hand me down guitar given to me by my Grandma. I learned enough to start putting music to the songs I was writing. About 5 years later, I started my own band and began to perform all around the Pacific Northwest! I loved music so much I decided to uproot my life and move to Nashville from my hometown in Oregon in October of 2016.
2. How has it been adjusting to life as a musician in Nashville compared to your life as a musician in Oregon?
It has been quite the change! The grind in Nashville in much harder. Living in Nashville has surrounded me with thousands of incredible musicians and artists. There are many incredible musicians and artists in Oregon as well, but the saturation of them in Nashville is pretty intimidating. But, it makes me want to work that much harder to achieve my goal and pushes me to get better at playing guitar and songwriting. It’s been difficult going from being a known artist in Oregon, to being a small fish in a big sea in Nashville. You can either let it knock you down or drive you to chase your dream that much harder! It has also been a tough adjustment being 2,500 miles away from my family; it makes the time I get to spend with them more valuable than ever before. Living in Nashville has made me come out of my shell and mature in ways I didn’t know I needed to. It has been tough, but an extremely positive and exciting experience.
3. Who inspires you musically?
My inspiration since day one of wanting to be an artist has been Miranda Lambert. Everything about her inspires me! Her stage presence, song lyrics, love for animals and love for helping others, especially women in country music. She inspires me to want to strive to be my best. She is just SO cool.
4. What is on the horizon for your music career?
There are a lot of things in the works right now! I’ve been writing a lot and I am excited to get back into the studio to show everyone what I’ve been working on since moving here. We are gearing up to record my third EP right here in Nashville, and I am so excited because it will be my first EP coming out of Music City! We are actually in the process of doing a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to record it. So far, we have raised about $4,500 and still have through Christmas to get the rest of the way! The main thing I’ve been telling my friends, family and fans is that EVERY dollar truly does help. Even if it’s a $5 contribution, it adds up really quickly! And if enough people put in $5, we would reach our goal in no time!
5. What are your goals for 2018 as an artist?
Where do I start?! I’m always looking ahead and looking up to that “1 year from now” Hailey and try to picture what I want her to look like so that I can strive to become her. With that being said, I am always looking to better my craft. My goals are to write with as many people as possible to become better at songwriting, solo write a little more in 2018 to keep that creative side of my songwriting going, become better at guitar, grow my fanbase and get more people excited for what’s next with my music! And lastly, give my all in everything that I do!
Now onto some food questions…
1. How is the food here compared to the food in Oregon?
I love both state’s food honestly. They each have both similar and different, yummy things to offer. Something for everyone! One thing I miss most about Oregon though, are all of the coffee shops. There was a Dutch Bros, Black Rock, and Starbucks on every corner. I miss my custom flavored Red Bulls from Black Rock most!!
2. What is your favorite restaurant in Oregon?
Beavercreek Saloon. The food is amazing. If you ever get the chance to try it, make sure you get their mozzarella sticks. They are the best ones you’ll ever have! Not only is it my favorite for the food, but for the family like atmosphere. It is my hometown bar, everyone knows everyone and are all on first a name basis, they care about each other’s lives and are just good people in general. I actually shot my music video for my single “Girls Night Out” there!
3. Do you prefer cooking at home or going out to eat?
I like both. I like going out to eat for the experience of being out with friends, making memories and trying new things, but I love cooking at home. It allows me to explore a different side of my creativity. Cooking is kind of like songwriting. You have to put the right ingredients in for it to come out right, but it’s okay to stray from the recipe a little to make it your own and to stand out!
4. Have you found a favorite restaurant in Nashville yet?
Shipwreck Cove! It is a floating restaurant right on Percy Priest Lake. The atmosphere is amazing!
4. Name 3 things that are always in your refrigerator.
Eggs, bacon bits and Halo Top ice cream.
5. What is your guilty pleasure food?
6. Finally, if you could eat or have a drink with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and what would you have?
Loretta Lynn! We would have some sort of southern comfort dish and pair it with wine, whiskey or whatever else she wanted! Honestly, I would probably be too excited that I was sitting with Loretta Lynn to even eat or drink!
Born and raised in Oregon City, Oregon, in the heart of the Pacific Northwest, Hailey’s passion for music has driven her since she stepped in front of her first large audience at a third grade talent show. Since her younger days, Hailey has opened for big time acts such as Love and Theft, James Otto, Craig Wayne Boyd, The Moonshine Bandits, and Sunny Ledfurd. She has performed at Oregon’s biggest festivals and rodeos, at Portland’s Moda Center, as well as in Nashville, TN at The Bluebird Café, Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, The Listening Room and many other well known Nashville venues. Hailey was named as “One To Watch” on the Nashville Songwriter’s Association International (NSAI) website in April 2017. Today, one of Hailey’s favorite places to share her songs is in increasingly crowded local venues where her growing legions of fans, thanks to a solid following on social media, sing along to her original material.
Along with being a gifted, natural singer, Hailey’s ability to weave her experiences into tightly crafted, catchy songs lifts her above the norm of today’s it-all-sounds-the-same country. These songs, like “Pretty Girl,” and “Midnight Cigarette,” from her recently released EP, “Girls Night Out,” speak to the universal truths of life: love and heartbreak, friends and family, moments and memories, without relying on the usual clichés. The ability to create an authentic space within each song is what keeps her fans coming back to her live performances and downloading new singles as quickly as they come out.
When she’s not playing music, you will find Hailey out in nature; hunting, riding quads or just kicking it with friends and family around a campfire. Hailey Verhaalen is an authentic talent whose inner flame shines bright, and a young woman with deep, family roots that keep her grounded, heart-driven and full of excitement for a promising, musical future.