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Q&A: Singer Haley Reinhart talks inspiration for latest album, industry experiences

Haley Reinhart will perform at The Roxy Theatre on Sunday as part of her “Lo-Fi Soul” tour. Her newest album, released in March, incorporates voice memos and influences from multiple genres. (Courtesy of Dana Trippe)

"Lo-Fi Soul" Tour

The Roxy

Sunday, April 28

By Olivia Bridgnell

April 22, 2019 10:28 p.m.

Haley Reinhart translated her love for AM radio into her newest album, “Lo-Fi Soul.”

The Los Angeles-based singer and voice actor released her fourth album, “Lo-Fi Soul” on March 27. Currently touring the U.S. on her “Lo-Fi Soul” tour, Reinhart will perform at The Roxy Theatre on Friday. While her album is a solo endeavor, she has worked with Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox in covering songs such as Radiohead’s “Creep” in a jazz style, and currently voices a character on the Netflix series “F is for Family.”

Reinhart spoke to the Daily Bruin’s Olivia Bridgnell about the inspiration behind “Lo-Fi Soul” and her experiences in the music industry.

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Daily Bruin: How is your new album different from your previous three albums?

Haley Reinhart: They’re all kind of crazy different transitions that I’ve made through my journey as an artist. So I feel like there are probably some similarities – definitely a streamline – between my first record, “Listen Up!,” and “Lo-Fi Soul,” … but I would say on my two original albums, “Listen Up!” and “Better,” you’ll definitely hear a lot of the same kind of, stylistically speaking, moves that I’ve made, because that’s just me. But I do feel like I’ve evolved a lot. So I’ve taken a lot of these different genres that I love so much and finally mixed them together in a way that I think really shows exactly who I am as an artist.

DB: Which song on the album do you think most exemplifies your goal to mix genres such as rock and roll, soul and jazz in one song?

HR: Those are the three genres that I would say define me. And if I had to pick one song, I might say “Shook” – actually between “Shook” and maybe “Lo-Fi Soul” because they both have a little of all of those. There is a little more guttural sound on “Shook” that could get a little more of that rocky edge thing. And (with) “Lo-Fi,” it’s just playing a lot with the lyrics, like maybe in more of a jazzy sense.

DB: What are some of your inspirations for this album in particular?

HR: So I’ve been listening to AM radio actually a lot in LA. It’s 1260 AM. I’ve just been reacquainting myself with the early ’60s and even like a doo-wop kind of sound. So I would kind of just wake up or be kind of lollygagging around town and taking a walk to a coffee shop or what have you, and I’d get these cool melodies in my head that, to me, hark back to even the ’50s. We’ve even taken a lot of these sounds and filtered them directly from my voice memos on my phone into the computer to these new recordings and kept them super lo-fi. And same goes for my little crappy piano playing, because I play mostly kind of the ’50s way. … So it was pretty neat to have a lot of say in how these recordings would go down and be that much more a part of the production process.

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DB: You co-produced your last two albums, including “Lo-Fi Soul” and “What’s That Sound?,” right?

HR: Yeah, and honestly it’s interesting being a young woman in the industry. I’ll say it’s been that way for all of my records. You get to a certain point though, where you realize what you’re truly worthy of and that you’ve paid your dues and sang the blues long enough to demand that that be something that’s a title for you. So that’s what I’ve done – the last two records, it’s like, “Well hey, if I’m going to put in that much work and write a majority of these songs and have it be a co-written collaboration, then I should be getting the co-production collaboration.” … I’m just really grateful to not only work with amazing producers and songwriters but really to have them really respect me and understand … how much I am actually doing for all of these songs.

DB: Another big part of your career thus far has been collaborations with artists Postmodern Jukebox and Jeff Goldblum. So what is it like working with them?

HR: Yeah, I mean it’s been incredible watching how far and wide these videos have gotten across. It’s kind of fun to watch back – like a lot of fans send me reaction videos with different kinds of (critiques) and stuff. It’s truly a humbling experience to see people that are freaking out over the different takes that you do, (or) a version of a song that’s already been created. And somebody like Jeff Goldblum, he is just as fascinating a person as he is an actor. What you see is what you get. He’s never really putting anything on – he’s just as wacky and fascinated by the world as he appears to be. And he’s really giving with his time so I think that it was really cool that he reached out to me – his team. And we literally met and rehearsed the song once, then we recorded it … with a live audience. And there’s things like these that are just lightning in a bottle and like magic.

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Olivia Bridgnell
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