- What is your name and what city do you rep?
My name is Hailey Livingston and I am a 26 year old artist born and raised in Los Angeles. I grew up in North Hollywood where I still live and love my city. Growing up in LA has given me a lot of insight into the entertainment industry and having a parent actually in the business has taught me a lot. Growing up my parents always exposed me and my brother to art, films and lots of music. I always felt supported in my home to be creative and express myself. I went to Millikan Middle school where I took dance and acting classes every day, then attended C.H.A.M.P.S., a preforming arts high school in the San Fernando Valley where I was constantly exposed to the arts. After high school I went to one year of college at LA Valley College but found myself really only enjoying my dance and sculpture class. I love my city with a passion and am a true LA girl. I love traveling but I plan to live and die in LA!
- What is unique about you and your music?
I think the thing that sets my music apart is my significant influence from poetry and the influences I take from many different genres. The thing that really changed the trajectory of my artistic life towards making music was my poetry. I have been writing poetry my whole life but never shared it with anyone. I have always used poetry as a form of personal therapy and a way to get my thoughts out of my head but I just did it for myself. In 2017 I started attending Da Poetry Lounge on Fairfax and performing my poems live. The audiences response was amazing and really gave me the confidence to share more of my work. I posted videos of my poetry on social media and got a lot of support and encouragement. Poetry was definitely the gateway for me to start writing songs and creating music. My producer Brendan Moore AKA Ferguson and I had a hard time deciding what genre my album is because it pulls from so many different types of music.
After dealing with a complicated romantic relationship I felt very upset and was writing tons of poetry to vent my feelings on the situation. One day I felt compelled to make a beat and try songwriting and wrote the 9th song on my album "WINDOWS". I just couldn't stop and ended up making a whole album. "CLAP BACK" is an edgy female anthem that touches on love, relationships, disappointment, and power dynamics. It's a R&B/Pop vibe and features the very talented rapper Alexander Watson who gives the male perspective. I have always loved hip hop and rap and took a lot of inspiration for beats and rhyme schemes for my lyrics. My music also has a lot of influences from R&B and Pop music. One of the albums that really touched and inspired me was Ctrl by SZA. I had never heard an artist that I related to so much and I listened to that album on repeat dissecting every little part. I remember thinking to myself if I ever made an album I would want it to sound like that. I also take a lot of poetic inspiration from Bob Dylan and his edgy, witty lyrics. Despite the many artist that have influenced me in my life the most significant influence is definitely Beyoncé. I am completely obsessed with Beyoncé! She is not only my idol as a musical artist but also as a woman and human being. Her work over the years has made an impact on me unlike any other artist. From her amazing vocals and performing ability to her beautiful films and music videos, no one compares to her in my opinion. Also her strong focus on women's empowerment makes me so proud to be a woman and use my art to stand up for other women. If I ever get to meet her or work with her I could die a happy girl. I am so proud my album debut "CLAP BACK" and feel like it truly captured who I am as an artist.
- When did you realize you were going to make music professionally?
The moment I decided to pursue music professionally was the night I decided to create my album "CLAP BACK". Meeting Brendan Moore AKA Ferguson, the producer of my album was the key to this project and inspired me immensely. We really understand each other musically and have similar taste which made it so easy to create together. Every time I went to the studio he always had a new song or artist to share with me and we would email each other inspiring things all the time. When we first started meeting up we would just make random songs but had no intension of making an album. After about 4 songs we had talked a lot about my struggles getting over my romantic relationship and he suggested I write about that. I went home and was hooked to my computer all night making music and brainstorming. From that point forward the album had a solid concept and took on a life of it's own. I also knew I wanted to make as many music videos as possible to release simultaneously with the album and ended up creating 5 that are now on YouTube. When I decide to do something I always finish and never half ass it. I put my all into it and never give up. Nobody is going to work harder for me than me and I have so much more I am excited to create and share in the future!
- What type of music do you listen to?
I love so many different genres of music but for the most part I listen to hip hop and rap. As a poet I love rhyming and rap music always inspires me. I also love R&B and Oldies music when I'm in a more mellow or romantic mood. When I meet someone new I usually express how much I love music but they are usually surprised by how much. I literally listen to music from the moment I wake up in the morning until I go to sleep unless I am busy making my own music. I have my speaker in my house bumping music no matter what I am doing and probably drive my neighbors crazy. There is something about music that really moves me and there is nothing that compares to the feeling you get from a great song. I am open to listening to anything and have been to hundreds of concerts from Modest Mouse to Wu-Tang Clan. To me good music is just good music period.
- Who, to you, is the most undervalued music artist?
It might be cocky to say this but me haha. I am currently an independent artist so all of the funding for creating the album and music videos came out of my own pocket. I feel like it was an investment in myself and I love the creative control that being an independent artist gives me. Of course at some point it would be awesome to have a labels support and a bigger budget to make my vision come to life but either way I am not going to let anything get in my way of creating until the day I die. I don't think anyone who chooses the path of an artist ever experiences a completely smooth road. There have been a lot of no's and rejection but I have never let that stop me. I think that is the key to success. Never giving up. If someone says no to you then you are just talking to the wrong person. Since releasing my album it has been so interesting to hear people's opinions. Some people will love it and some people will hate it and that's just the way it is. As long as I love what I create that is all that truly matters to me. I hope to be able to do this as long as possible as a career and reach as many people as possible with my art.
- How do you prepare for your performances?
It is only natural to feel nerves before any performance but I actually really like that feeling. The adrenalin rush you get after completing a performance is a high that is unlike anything else. There is a certain freedom I feel on stage or in front of the camera and I tap into a different part of myself. When I would perform my poetry live at Da Poetry Lounge the best part was the audiences reactions. The energy you get from the audience really plays a role in your performance and can fire you up to do better work. Being in the studio is such a different feeling that performing in front of a live audience and I look forward to doing bigger and better shows.
- What ignites your (song) writing flow?
I definitely feel inspired to write when I am sad or angry. Getting out difficult emotions to deal with through music is so therapeutic for me. The only song on my album that is really a happy positive vibe is the last song on the album "MORNING GLORY". The whole album explores my struggles with a relationship and men but I wanted to end it on a positive note with a song that represents a silver lining. When things don't work out I usually get way more inspired to talk about it than when everything is going good. I am also a night owl and pretty much only create music at night. I stay up sometimes until the sunrise writing and creating beats. I like to create music alone at home and then go into the studio once I am prepared to record.
- What do you do when you don't do music (creative or otherwise) and that you are passionate about?
At this point I don't have any other job other than being an artist and hope to be able to maintain that for the rest of my life. For the album I also produced, directed and edited all the music videos myself so this project is a true piece of my heart and soul that I have invested so much into. Creating all the music video concepts and making them come to life was such an amazing experience. I would have dreams and wake up to sketch down the visuals in my head and while listening to the songs I always saw images to match. I felt it was very necessary to make as many music videos as possible to release with my album to complete my vision for the project. I would love to make music videos for other artists and actually started a company LA Music Video Productions and plan to do that for LA artists who need music videos. I also love being in nature. I feel most at peace at the beach, camping or going on a hike. My mom and grandma have been gardening my whole life and now that I have my own spot I enjoy gardening in my spare time. Another passion of mine is food! I am really adventurous with food and will try just about anything. I love going to try new restaurants with my friends or cooking a delicious meal at home.
Success to me is being able to be an artist and support myself solely on that. Of course it would be awesome to be financially rewarded for my work but as long as I am able to create and survive comfortably I am happy. I also think that happiness and health in itself is success. I am more interested in being truly happy than I am in being successful. I would rather wear flowers in my hair than diamonds around my neck. Not to say that I am not extremely motivated. I am relentless when I have a goal and work my butt off to make my dreams become a reality. If I have an idea I am going to make it happen no matter what.
What do you wish you were told when you first started rapping that you think would help anyone recently starting artists out?
I don't know if I would consider myself a rapper even though a lot of my lyrics are influenced by rap. As a writer the best piece of advice I could give someone is that there are no rules. Don't fall for the idea that there has to be a certain structure or formula to make a good song. Do what inspires you. I think it is better to be unique and misunderstood than to conform to be like anyone else.
My producer and I are currently making more music and will definitely be releasing it within the next year. My initial idea for my album "CLAP BACK" was to create a full visual album with a music video for all 11 songs, however being an independent artist I overestimated what I was financially capable of doing and could only complete 5 music videos. I hope for my next project to be able to make a full visual album. I have always loved film and have created many short film over the years. In 2017 I made a short film involving poetry called "TICK TOCK" that was featured in a few LA film festivals. I am also excited to collaborate with more artist and evolve my sound. I don't want to repeat myself so I am always looking for ways to grow as an artist. I have been working hard on promoting my album and have many exciting opportunities coming up for the rest of 2019.
- Where do we find you music / music project?
My album "CLAP BACK" is out now and available to download everywhere! It is on all music streaming service including iTune, Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, Pandora and more. You can check out the 5 official music videos and some behind the scenes footage on my YouTube channel under my name Hailey Livingston. Hope you enjoy!
Here are the links to download my album and the links to my social media. Thank you again for supporting my music! I really appreciate it.
OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEOS ON YOUTUBE: