Mike Leslie talks with up and coming Canadian country artist Hayley about her album and music career.

Its sounds like a love song, but don’t call it Pop-country just yet.

Vancouver B.C’s Hayley has recently burst on the scene with the bite that comes with the bark. She has the look and feel of young pop-country contemporaries, such as Taylor Swift and Miranda Lambert. However, spin her first album, I, and you’ll get a different story of an old soul. The first track, Sounds Like a Love Song, sounds like a well-crafted Sheryl Crowe/Bonnie Rait inspired Pop-Country single. Listening further into the song, you will hear masterful Stevie Ray Vaughan and The Eagles’ Joe Walsh inspired guitar licks. But make no mistake, this isn’t a Nashville hired gun on the track. This is Fender sponsored Hayley behind the production, songwriting, and lead guitar.

Hayley’s first LP, I, is one of those records you put on put on repeat, get in your Chevy, and just start driving. Aside from the virtuoso guitar work, the album is a roller-coaster of hauntingly relatable lyrics, enchanting melodies, and rocking jams. With highlights like Sounds Like a Love Song, Huckleberry Summer, and Names in the Summer, you’ll get a good feel of a consistently honest début album.

If seeing is believing, check out Hayley’s live show. The combo of her signature fender guitars, outstanding band, and delivery make Hayley’s performance very pleasing to the ears and eyes. Including the album cuts, she performs amazing original covers of Emmylou Harris, Golden Earring, and Hendrix. She makes Hendrix’s Little Wing look easy, and trust me as a guitar player, it is not.

I had the pleasure to sit down with the future guitar goddess and discuss all things currently Hayley.

Mike Leslie: So this album is called roman numeral one?
Hayley: Yes it’s my first effort, everything on this album was a first. I wrote a lot of songs about my first love. It was my first time co-producing. It was a great experience and I couldn’t think of a more appropriate name.
Mike Leslie: How long did it take you to get here with a début album?
Hayley: There’s some songs in there that are 4 years old. With “Breaking up with love”, I had the melody in my head since high school. Then there are some songs that are a few months old. You can really here the evolution of where it came from. Looking back, there are some songs that I wouldn’t do right now if someone asked me to pour my heart out on a guitar with a song, but at that moment it was very real. My goal for the record was to make sure it was 100 percent me at that moment.
Mike Leslie: For somebody having a first listen, they pop in the CD and hear “Sounds Like A Love Song”. You here some pop country influences ala Sheryl Crow and Bonnie Rait. Then in storms this bitchin SRV-esque guitar solo.
Hayley: That’s a huge compliment. You pretty much named my influences. I love pop music, love alt country. Sometimes people get a little confused put me. You can put me in the genre of pop country or not. But right now, what is the real definition of pop country? I don’t think I really fit into it.
Mike Leslie: people always say “you gotta find your niche”. Sometimes you have so many different influences it’s hard to find a set style. But I believe if you write from the heart that is essentially your niche because it’s honestly you.
Hayley: If you try to be someone you’re not, it’s not going to come through. It’s a fruitless effort so why spend time doing anything but yourself. I grew up on a lot of different influences and I think you are a product of what you listen to.
Mike Leslie: How long have you been performing professionally?
Hayley: About 5 years, but I started playing when I was six
Mike Leslie: So for you when you start doing music when you are 6 years old do you jump into it full force or is it more gradual?
Hayley: It was never a question of “if” I would do music as a career, it was “when”. Living near the Pacific Ocean I spent a lot of time growing up as a competitive sailor which help fund my guitars. So music’s been something I would do either way. I went to college for a few years and when I was done I realized it was time to do music full-time.
Mike Leslie: So what’s next??
Hayley: Everything is next. What I love about music is that there is no limit. There’s no genre I don’t want to get into, and there’s no tool I don’t want to learn and experience. I’d like the freedom to get up every morning and create. I’m looking forward to more U.S tour dates and experiencing new towns. Why not chase your dreams and what is life if not a daring adventure…

Do yourself a favor, buy the ticket and take the ride with Hayley’s “I”

– Mike Leslie

I and I am Hayley are available from Amazon

I album

I Am Hayley EP

Hayley online:
Website | Facebook | Twitter


About The Author

Mike Leslie is the lead singer and guitarist of the Detroit-based Mike Leslie Band. Formed in 2012, MLB has sold out numerous shows, won two Detroit Music Awards, including the People’s Choice Award, showcased at SXSW 2013 and 2014 and won DOUG FM’s regional crown at Battle of the Bands. In 2014, MLB released their debut album and went on the road for their first headlining U.S. tour. Mike earned a BA in Psychology from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan and minored in Art History and English. His skill as a author and love of the written word was refined in college, but goes back to his early days in high school as an aspiring song writer and musician. Mike Leslie joins National Rock Review as a Celebrity Columnist. He will be a regular contributor with his column, 'Letters From Leslie', covering artists both in Detroit and across the nation.