Haley Reinhart Submitted photo

I was a fan of “American Idol” for many years (until “The Voice” came along), but I didn’t catch Haley Reinhart’s appearance on the 10th season of that show (she came in a very respectable third place in that year’s competition) … my loss, it appears, for she’s currently out touring and is actually heading to Maine’s Snow Pond Center for the Arts in Sidney next Thursday, March 30. I placed a call to request a phone interview and was pleased to get a call back from her on Feb. 3. To prepare, I checked out YouTube and her website to find some performances to familiarize myself with her voice and performing style. Now I’m wishing I had paid attention to A.I. back then … my bad! When she called I felt pretty prepared when she began by stating…

Reinhart: I hope you can hear me alright because I’m currently driving cross-country to take my van from Chicago back to L.A. so I can use it for my tour.

Q: Oh, that’s going to be a haul, I think.
Reinhart: It is, it’s a good 30-plus hours.

Q: Well, speaking of that tour, have you performed up in Maine before?
Reinhart: I may have been there with other groups or on my own, but the one that really sticks out is “way back, when I was doing the arena tour with ‘American Idol,” there was actually a hurricane happening so we had to bypass the previous city that we were going to and we just went straight towards you guys, so that was my Maine memory (laughter).

Q: (Chuckle) We helped you dodge a hurricane, that was good.
Reinhart: (Chuckle) Yes, thank you, and it’s beautiful up there, too.

Q: Yeah, it is. Now, I’ve been cruising through YouTube catching some of your videos to get a sense of what you do; and it seems to me that you might have been born in the wrong time period, if you know what I mean.
Reinhart: Yeah, I do.


Q: Like when you do an Ella Fitzgerald song, for example, you seem to be channeling that whole mood and sound and style.
Reinhart: Thank you. Yeah, I used to feel that I was born in the wrong time, and I’d like to think now that I’m the messenger helping to keep that golden age of music alive and well. There’s certainly people out there that are still bringing it back but I’m happy to be one of those messengers, you know?

Q: Well, with that thought in mind, what can folks expect from your Snow Pond Center for the Arts debut?
Reinhart: It’s pretty much a time capsule with different times and eras and generations of music, while also doing a lot of my original material. I like retro soul, rock, pop and so I touch on a lot of different things, there are a few covers mixed in there like everything from Jimi Hendrix to Radiohead to Elvis, I’m just making my show a complete, fresh up-time in genres, so I really like to invite people to just sit back and go on a trip with me.

Q: Speaking of trips, how has touring been for you lately?
Reinhart: I’ve just been touring like crazy on my own for the past six years or so, minus the hiccup of a few years that we all had (laughter), but beyond that, it’s back to heavily touring. So it’s been a great journey so far.

Q: As far as recording goes, what’s your discography like?
Reinhart: I’ve done about four albums and the most recent project I’ve released is called “Off the Ground” and it’s an EP. It’s my first original EP that I’ve done ever.

Q: Does songwriting come easy to you?
Reinhart: Yeah, most of the time; it has a season like everything else, like touring and I like doing voice-overs and acting, so everything kind of has its time and place. But when I feel inspired I certainly have hundreds of voice memos of fragments of songs that are yet to be fully written or thought through. But if I just kind of sit down and really think about it, it seems to flow out pretty easy.

Q: Now earlier we spoke about the generational aspect of what you do, so do you find yourself drawing on the “old soul” elements for your original compositions?
Reinhart: I don’t always intentionally do it but I can write a song and then recognize that it does feel like it was inspired by Stevie Wonder or Michael Jackson or Minnie Riperton, people I just adore. I grew up with music, my parents are musicians so there was always great music in our house, and watching them play live and joining them up onstage, so my whole life has been an organic way of learning all of these different genres. I think this new EP, in particular, finds me channeling more of that R&B and retro-soul vibe.

Q: Knowing that you are currently in transit, quite literally, I think I’ll wrap this interview up with my traditional closing question: Is there anything, Haley that you’d like me to pass on to the folks reading this article?
Reinhart: You can definitely let them know that I really just want to have people come together and have a really unifying night full of music, to have them kind of dig deep and just feel so good because that’s what it’s all about. I hope people will come on out, even if they’ve heard of me or never heard of me, so come one, come all and I’m really excited to connect with people, that’s what it’s all about for me, I hope to do a whole lot of that while I’m there!

Lucky Clark, a 2018 “Keeping the Blues Alive” Award winner, has spent more than 50 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at luckyc@myfairpoint.net if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

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