Where words can sometimes fail us, music can give us a voice that we didn’t know we had. Sometimes verse and rhyme is the perfect way to get a message across. Such is true for Texas native Drew Haley.
About a month ago, Haley released her newest single “Fool to Remember,” a song that was spawned after she told her father that her marriage was coming to an end. The song poured out of her, and in a way, she says it has helped with her healing.
Her new single comes on the heels of “Wildflower,” her November, 2019 single that has been the top-performing of her more than decade long career and the success with the all-female group The Highway Women. Her new single also serves as a glimpse of what listeners can expect from her upcoming EP; an introspective, personal look into Haley’s life.
We chatted with Haley about her success of the past year, getting vulnerable with her music, what listeners can expect from her EP and more!
Pro Country: Who are some of your biggest musical influences that have shaped your sound?
Drew Haley: There’s been many, for sure! I remember singing every Judds song when I was five and loving their harmony. My parents introduced me to a lot of classic rock and blues. They listened to everything from Stevie Ray Vaughn to Hank Sr. I used to cover “Bobby McGee,” “Rock and Roll,” “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” and “Hard to Handle.” My biggest influence though was my grandmother, who played piano in church and taught me to sing harmony with her and my Aunt. I love gospel music.
PC: When did you realize you wanted to pursue a career in music?
DH: I always loved to sing, but I knew it was what I wanted to pursue as a career when I started writing songs around 12. For the first time, I felt as if I had found my purpose and passion.
PC: What emotions were you feeling as you were preparing to release music for the first time with your debut EP Two Reasons in 2012?
DH: I actually released two albums prior to that under my maiden name, Drew Tichnell. I started recording my first album when I was still a senior in high school, and two years later, released my second in Austin, Texas. I absolutely love being in the studio and letting the creative process take shape! I feel like a little kid on Christmas; it’s so exciting for me.
PC: “Wildflower,” released in November of 2019, has already earned well over 40,000 streams on Spotify. Is there a certain level of validation that comes with having that success with your first single in several years? What do you think it is about that song that has allowed it to connect with listeners the way it has?
DH: That song was inspired by two very beautiful souls in my life: my niece and best friend. Their stories have always inspired me, and I knew others would relate to it that have been through the hard times/struggles and came out stronger!
PC: Your newest single “Fool to Remember” was released in June and packs a pretty heavy emotional punch. Can you talk about the inspiration behind that song?
DH: That song literally fell out and I hardly remember writing it to tell you the truth. I had just told my dad that my marriage was ending and explained to him what was going on, so the emotions were definitely high. Right afterwards, I grabbed my guitar and wrote “Fool to Remember.”
PC: You’ve mentioned that “Fool to Remember” is one of the most vulnerable songs you have ever written. What is it about yourself that allows you to be that vulnerable with your music? Was there a certain level of catharsis that came with releasing the song?
DH: I’ve always joked that I can “say it better in a song” [laughs]. For whatever reason, it’s easier for me to be vulnerable and completely open through writing songs than anything else. There’s been times I’ve written songs and sang them back to myself and just wept because I didn’t even know that was buried deep down. It’s a healing tool, for sure. It’s gotten me through a lot.
PC: Though “Fool to Remember” is a song that’s very personal to you, what do you hope listeners take away from the song?
DH: For me, when I listen to a heartbreak song and I relate to every word, it just feels good to sit in it for a while and feel it. I think it helps process all the emotion in a beautiful way.
PC: Your bio mentions that you sifted through over 300 songs in your catalog for your upcoming EP. What information can you give about the release? What can listeners expect to hear?
DH: I have lots and lots of songs! Well over that number at this point, but yes, I really carefully chose what songs I wanted to release on this EP. I was very intentional about choosing songs that were the most personal and impactful. The world needs it right now.
PC: In September of last year, you joined the all female-fronted band the Highway Women. Can you talk about how the opportunity came to you and what the experience has been like so far?
DH: It’s been so fun! I’ve never been in an all-girl band, so I wasn’t sure what to expect in the beginning. We just released our newest single “Shake the Dust” and the video has already gotten over 200,000 views, so that’s really exciting!
PC: The Highway Women released “God Made Me Right” earlier this year, which has accrued more than 60,000 spins between Spotify and YouTube. What has it been like for the band to see the song taking off the way it has so far?
DH: It’s incredible! We got so much good feedback from our fans on that song since it sends such a positive message. That’s what really excites me the most.
PC: You co-founded Get It Girl Nashville, an organization that offers business and creative support for female singer/songwriters in a male dominated industry. Can you talk about what inspired you to co-create Get It Girl Nashville and how rewarding the experience has been for you?
DH: When I moved to Nashville in 2008 and started playing writers’ rounds, co-writing and networking, it was obvious to me that women in the industry were not getting the same opportunities that men were. And let me tell you, the talent was and still is insane! It blew my mind, and I decided we needed to showcase these talented women because their voices needed to be heard. That’s where Get It Girl Nashville all started! Myself, along with my Highway Women sisters, Kristen Kae & Heather Harper are launching a new platform in support of women in the music industry called “Be a Highway Woman.” We are launching the program in a few weeks! You can check out our new social media pages at @beahighwaywoman (on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter).
PC: 2020 has altered many of the plans of artists so far. Of the things you can control, what are your plans for the rest of the year?
DH: Yes it has! Sadly, I had a tour booked in Germany for the month of September that I had to cancel. I was really, really looking forward to it, but will be rescheduling for 2021! For the rest of this year, I’m just focused on writing and releasing singles. I am also writing and recording with The Highway Women.
*Images courtesy of Publicity Nation and Drew Haley Facebook page*
**Find Drew’s music on The Best of Pro Country playlist!**
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