Hailey Steele is a young lady who describes herself candidly as ‘just a blue-eyed, certified singin’ fool‘. Hailing originally from South Dakota, Steele now calls Nashville home and has recently signed a publishing deal with BMG Chrysalis Nashville. Set to open on tour with singer-songwriter Stephen Kellogg she has managed to complete her debut self-titled EP, which is set for release on 18th November and was funded by a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign.
Looking through Hailey’s musical influences reveals a list of acts with impressive Country credentials including Dolly Parton, Faith Hill, Patty Loveless and Miranda Lambert. Listening to the 5 tracks on ‘Hailey Steele’ you can hear echoes of the singers that the upcoming artist grew up listening to, given a thoroughly modern Country-pop shine. There are no fiddle and steel guitar drowned heartbreakers here, but there is certainly plenty to enjoy, think Cassadee Pope / Danielle Bradbery and that will give you some idea of what to expect.
‘Getaway Car’ gets things off to a driving start (excuse the pun!), with its energetic guitar strumming and hooky chorus. It also gives Steele a great opportunity to display her vocal talents, softer during the verses but impressively powerful during that explosive chorus. The slower ‘Diamonds’ carries the commendable message that success comes through hard work and determination. One of the most mainstream sounding tracks on the EP, it does feature some lovely atmospheric steel guitar and contains fascinatingly listenable lyrics which are delivered with real heart by Steele.
‘Boyfriend’ features a tale of real honesty, with Steele open admitting ‘I want your boyfriend, I’m not gonna lie. I’ll be his girl when he tells you goodbye…‘. I should add that she also reveals that she will not make an attempt to steal him away, but possibly bide her time waiting for the inevitable ending! An intriguing mid-tempo track, it features a sassier side to Steele, complete with a cheeky sign-off. The term ‘ear-worm’ seems to be cropping up more for fabulously catchy tracks that get stuck in your head, once heard you can add ‘Boyfriend’ to that list of songs.
There’s a real southern bluesy feeling to ‘High Horse’ and its theme of justice waiting to be served, which makes for compelling listening. Steamy blues guitar, exciting fiddle licks and a attitude-filled vocal from Steele make this track a winner. It is particularly pleasing to hear the artist singing & writing material which offers up far more substance than just ‘girl meets boy’ / ‘girl breaks up with boy’.
Sumptuous ballad ‘You Made It That Way’ ends the EP on an emotional note, but with Steele making it clear to her ex the reasons why their relationship ended. Gorgeously sung, with an appealing husky tone during the choruses, and with a big & bold production (lavish steel guitar up in the mix) the track is a powerful finale to the record.
Hailey Steele was a new name to NCUK, not familiar with her appearance on season 2 of US TV’s ‘The Voice’ or music prior to this EP. Having listened to ‘Hailey Steele’ her name is most definitely added to the ‘ones to watch’ list. Across the five songs here Steele shows a hugely appealing maturity in her songwriting by dealing with bigger and worthier feeling themes. She also knows how to craft these in to listenable and memorable tunes, which demand repeat plays. Her vocals are unquestionably impressive throughout, possessing a voice perfectly suited to the modern Country sound represented across ‘Hailey Steele’; a debut EP well-worthy of your attention on its 18th November release date.