Interview with Drew Haley
Country/Americana songwriter Drew Haley is fueled by deep love: love for the art of storytelling, love for the classic rock and blues music she grew up on, and love for her husband and three children. Her voice exudes a subtle yet soulful power, inspired by the tight country harmonies of the Judds and the Dixie Chicks as well as the effortless cool of alt-rockers Jewel and Sheryl Crow. An agile, candid songwriter, Haley has developed a country-leaning, narrative style rooted in real experience, with hope and healing at the emotional core of each song. As an artist, she finds strength in both spirituality and self-reflection, and she views songwriting as a vital therapeutic outlet: “I always have a melody floating around in my head, and I have to get it out. My goal is to make music that uplifts others—especially young girls, moms, and anyone who is struggling.”
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I started out singing 3 part harmony with my grandmother and aunt when I was about 12 years old. I still love to sing with them when I go home to East Texas and visit. If I hadn't gotten into music then I probably would have gone into acting. I loved theater arts when I was in high school and thought seriously about pursuing it but instead I decided to chase my dreams in music!
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I'm a mom of 3 so my kids keep me very busy with all of their activities.. Most of what I do is centered around my family. My husband also travels for work often and I try to join him whenever possible. I always find inspiration when we travel. I think it's good to experience new places, people and especially food!
How long has music been your career?
I've been at it now since I can remember, honestly. It's a part of who I am and I can't imagine myself not writing songs or being creative with music. When my kids were younger I wasn't able to pursue it full time or tour with my band but I always was writing and singing.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I live outside of Nashville now and I moved here 11 years ago from Austin, Tx when I was pregnant with my son. I didn't know a soul and it was pretty lonely the first 2-3 years. I knew I needed to move here to grow as a writer and learn to co-write. I definitely took advantage of it and was eventually co-writing 3-4 days a week. I miss Texas but moving here was the right thing for my career and it's a great place to raise a family. I love Tennessee.
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
When I started playing full band shows in Austin, Tx 18 years ago on 6th street it was pretty rough haha.. I did have some loyal bandmates though and I'm grateful they stuck with me during those years.. I remember after one show in Houston, I sold my belt to a lady in the bar to have gas money to drive home. One of the best shows I had was at the Bass Concert hall in Fort Worth opening up for Seth Walker. It was a magical night and the audience was incredible, I'll never forget.
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
There's definitely a lot of venues I haven't played at. Red Rocks amphitheater would be top of my list along with the Ryman ( that I'd love to play). I love outdoor amphitheaters and festivals. Those are typically my favorite types of gigs.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Chris Stapleton, Marcus King Band, so many others! this is a hard one
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into music?
To remember why you started. It's easy to get discouraged in this business and forget why you fell in love with it in the first place.. It's full of highs and lows and you gotta stick it out because you just never know what opportunity is waiting around the corner and if you don't hang in there, you'll never know. Work twice as hard as you think you need to and don't just help yourself along, help others too. Your community and network of fellow artists is super important for many reasons! And never stop growing as a musician, writer, storyteller, all of it. You've gotta always be growing and evolving.
If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what would it be?
To be patient with the process and know that it's gonna take a while.. stop being in such a hurry
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Listen to the sound- I wrote for my kids.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Wildflower is probably the song that's requested the most and one that my friends love.
What is the creative process for you, and what inspires you to write your music?
I write about my life experiences mostly. The creative process is always different. Sometimes I start with a melody and sometimes I start with a lyric idea and then sometimes both come at the same time! I don't like to force a song.. I get ideas when I'm driving or when I'm half awake early in the mornings a lot of times. It's so random
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
whatever i'm feeling. it usually starts there
Do you ever have disagreements when collaborating and how do you get past them?
Yes, I have. I've learned with cowriting that sometimes the creative chemistry just isn't there with the other writer. It's kinda like dating... I've had some co-writers that we just flow so organically and songs just write themselves then I've had other co-writes where we've had to meet 4-5 different times and still can't finish one song. It's weird
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
Early 2023 I'll be releasing an album so be on the lookout for that! I've been working on it for a while now. We're also gonna be announcing a tour for spring/summer.