From your first performance to your last, you're simply the best! Thanks for all the great memories, Haley.

Peace & Love,
Your adoring fans

Monday, September 9, 2013

Happy Birthday, Haley!

Wow, another year has gone by.  Truth be told, I've lost interest in AI since season 10 (Haley's season) even before the Nicki Minaj/Mariah Carey fiasco and have moved on to 'The Voice.'  And I don't see any reason to come back with JLO, Keith and Harry Connick, Jr. as judges, plus the return of 'The Dawg' as a coach. 

Anyway, happy 23rd Haley!  And this is how you 'twerk.'

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Happy Birthday, Girl!

Ah, it's almost Haley's birthday.  Did you forget?  Shame on you.  Let's wish her a great one, shall we?  I'm going to keep it a bit 'low key' this year compared to last year's post, when she was well into the whirlwind chaos known as the Idols Live! tour.  No 'On this day in history' stuff; you can always go back to my post last year: for that.

Still, I couldn't resist putting together a little slideshow for her this year, serenading her with another Beatles song (okay the one last year was technically John Lennon solo post-Beatles, so sue me), this one sung by none other than Sir Paul McCartney himself.  Enjoy.

BTW if you haven't seen her interview on via Haley Reinhart Central do check it out here:  She hinted that after the somewhat ecclectic mixed bag of 'Listen Up!' her next album will be more rock-oriented.  Awesome!  Rock has always been my first love, be it Classic '70's arena rock, '80's hair metal or '90's grunge.  Many contemporary artists give their live performances a touch of the rebelliousness of rock n' roll, from Lady Gaga to Rihanna.

What we need are more Haley Reinharts and less Carly Rae Jepsens in this world.  Curse you, Justin Bieber!
Happy Birthday Haley!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Progress Report

It's been two months since Haley Reinhart released her wonderfully delectable debut album 'Listen Up!" and I think we can consider it an unqualified success for our favorite Idol, entering an overcrowded field as a brand new artist.  A brief look at revealed that 'Listen Up!' made the Top 20 on three separate charts during the week of June 9, 2012, ranked by sales as compiled by Nielsen Soundscan:

#7 on "Tastemaker Albums" (the week's top-selling albums based on a panel of influential stores comprised of independent retailer coalitions and smaller regional chains)

#14 on "Digital Albums" (the week's top downloaded albums across all genres)

#17 on "Billboard 200" (the week's top selling albums across all genres)

On Amazon, it's drawn consistently rave reviews with 4.5 stars out of 5 from 61 reviews as of now, and it didn't even include my own.  One of the most common thing you hear is that "there is not one bad song (or filler) in the entire album."  High praise indeed! 

Alas, Haley's music is conspicuously absent on the radio, at least in my area of LA.  Yeah I know, Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood (and occasionally Chris Daughtry and Adam Glambert) are practically the only Idols getting any love on the airwaves.  Oh well, maybe one of Haley's other singles will take off.  Speaking of hits, if I have to pick one song from her album that I think has the most potential to make a splash on radio, I'm going to have to go with "Let's Run Away."  This reggae-calypso-surf rock piece of pop confection is just so catchy and radio friendly and always puts a smile on my face.  Too bad it's not on her standard 10-track release.  The pop-jazzy "Walking on Heaven" (which is on the 10-track album) comes a close second.  Just my two cents.

Before I sign off until 'next time,' let me leave you with another great duet from Haley and Casey Abrams on the latter's recent debut release.  It's a cover of the Percy Mayfield R&B classic "Hit the Road Jack."  Enjoy.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

It's a 'blast from the past,' so Listen Up!

'This one's mine. Mine, all mine!'

Greetings Haliens, it's been a while.  Like many of you, I've been waiting impatiently for my pre-ordered copy of 'Listen Up!' to arrive.  It finally did on Tuesday and I took the time to give it a few rotations (or 'listen ups!') before I write this.  And my verdict is....... this album is groovy, baby!  More Amy Winehouse and Duffy than Adele, the 14 tracks on this deluxe edition CD gave us a pretty good feel of what type of artist Haley aspires to be.  There's the funky R&B grooves of "Follow Me," "Keep Coming Back," and "Oh My!" featuring B.o.B. (what's an album without a hip-hop collaboration nowadays, right?).  There's also the distinctive Motown sound of The Supremes in songs like "Hit the Ground Runnin'," "Wasted Tears" and "Wonderland."  There are mid-tempo ballads like "Free" and "Undone," and a power ballad in "Spiderweb."  We even hear Haley the Disco Queen in "What You Don't Know" and Haley the laid back Cali surfer girl in the happy-go-lucky "Let's Run Away," which brings to mind the styles of Colbie Caillat and Jack Johnson, not to mention a bit of Bob Marley too.  But among my favorites are the retro '60s and '70s funky soul of 'Walking on Heaven,' 'Liar' and 'Now That You're Here,' which mark Haley as the Dusty Springfield of her generation.

Without Randy and JLo to judge her, Haley isn't trying to impress anyone with her vocal chops here and you won't hear much of her trademark growl in this release.   What you will hear, however, is Haley's crystalline, beautiful vibrato in each and every song, and a good sprinkling of jazz in songs like "Wonderland," "Spiderweb" and "Walking on Heaven."  Likely I'll find jazz in some of the others songs after a few more listens.  'Listen Up!' is sheer retro-cool aural delight, plain and simple.

Then there's the proverbial icing-on-the-cake, a personally autographed (not reproduced) booklet of 14 full-color postcards featuring our favorite American Idol (see picture).  The photos of Haley in the album show us just how much of an 'old skool' throwback fun-lovin' gal Haley is, and a gorgeous one at that.  You can bet your bottom dollar I won't be sending any of these postcards.  If you did not order the deluxe edition CD (now available exclusively from Walmart at $11.88 sans postcard booklet), you missed out on a real treat.

Lastly, let me congratulate Phillip Phillips for taking the crown on Season 11 of American Idol last night, even though I was pulling for San Diego native Jessica Sanchez.  Though I found this season more lackluster than the previous one overall, I have to admit America got it right for once with Phillip and Jessica at the top 2 spots.  Jessica is a true diva in the making with her powerhouse voice, and it is unfortunate that a girl hasn't won the top spot since Jordin Sparks in Season 6 thanks to the demographics of Idol voters, but I have no problem with Phillip winning at all.  He's a bit of a throwback folk-alt rocker himself, with a bit of a gravelly voice like Haley's.  He kinda looks like a young Norm MacDonald with the voice of John Mayer, whom I had the pleasure to see at the Greek Theatre (Mayer that is) some years ago.

Until next time, fellow Haliens, whenever that is.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Haley Reinhart is 'Free' on VEVO

Breaking up is sooooo hard to do....

Haley reached a major milestone yesterday with the release of the music video 'Free' from her upcoming new album 'Listen Up!'.  Though 'Baby It's Cold Outside' was really the first video featuring Haley (along with Casey Abrams), 'Free' is her first professionally produced MTV-style music video and marked Haley's official entry into pop superstardom.

Haley's a throwback '50's pin-up girl through and through, and she professes her love for everything '50's in this music video.  'Free,' as you should know by now, is a break-up song about letting go in a relationship that just isn't working (we've all had those didn't we?).  Set in a '50's style diner called 'Cadillac Jack's' (don't you just love '50's style diners like 'Ruby's,' 'Frisco's' and 'Johnny Rockets'?), Haley breaks up with her James Dean-wannabe 'soon-to-be-ex' boyfriend in this mournful piano ballad infused with soul and R&B.  The more I listen to it, the more I like this song.

With well over 200,000 hits already in only a little over a day, 'Free' is destined to be a bonafide hit for Haley Reinhart.  Congratulations, girl!  You've come a long way, baby!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Haley performs 'Free' on AI Results Show 03-22-2012


Merely two days after releasing her first studio recording 'Free,' Haley performed the song live on the American Idol results show tonight.  I admit I usually regard results shows as a colossal waste of time, but how could I miss Haley live? Impossible!  Finally, 35 minutes into the show and following another snoozer by 'Youtube sensation' and Jessica Rabbit lookalike Lana Del Rey, who proved once again that her SNL fiasco was no fluke, Haley gave the Top 10 results show the much needed boost it sorely needed.  After watching her performance, 'mission accomplished' and I'm 'Free' to turn that dial again.  Thank God!

Looking va-va-va-voom! in a semi-transparent red dress that does her gorgeous legs justice and a retro big coiffed hairdo, Haley stole the night with her performance.  Starting off "imprisoned" in an oversized bird cage was a nice metaphorical touch for this song, even if it was a bit literal.  As Haley said in her Idol segment 'Catch Up with Haley Reinhart,' this song has a little of everything: rock, soul, R&B and pop.  Of course, what I loved the most is that I got to hear her angry growl and light jazzy soft voice again.  'Free' is truly a great song and growing on me after every listen.

'Free' is available for purchase on iTUNES, and be sure to pre-order Haley's new Deluxe Edition album with bonus tracks (14 songs!) and other great stuff (vintage post cards anyone?) from her website:  These 8 weeks between now and May 22 (release date of 'Listen Up!') will be some of the longest in my life.  Until then, I'll just have to content myself being 'Free.' Take care, fellow Haliens. Until next time.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Open Mic Night at the Hard Rock Cafe


Promoting her new single to be released next month, Haley gave us a preview of 'Free' last night at the Hard Rock Cafe in Hollywood for popular LA-based contemporary Top 40 station KBIG 104.3 (MY-FM).  This is the first new material we've heard from the Idol fav and she certainly didn't disappoint. Looking simply rocker-licious in black top and blue jeans, Haley gave a low-key acoustic performance that's filled with feeling and yearning.  The song, a low- to mid-tempo ballad about making peace and setting each other free even when love goes badly, beautifully showcases Haley's range.  She switches effortlessly, as she always does, between belting out notes and just letting her voice slide into that soft jazzy comfort zone we've heard her do so many times before.  It was a divine, inspired performance to whet our appetite for what's more to come.

Part of a set including her crowning achievement 'House of the Rising Sun' (also featured below), 'Oh Darlin' (her audition song) and another new song 'Wasted Tears,' the studio version of 'Free' is due out March 20, with the full album scheduled in May.  Yes, I feel your pain, but what's a couple more months anyway?  Good things come to those who wait and patience is a virtue, right?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Light at the End of the Tunnel

Hallelujah!  After what seemed like an interminably long wait, the "light at the end of the tunnel" is near.  Yes, my friends, Haley is close to releasing her new album; you know, the one all her fans have been clamoring for since late July when it was first announced that she signed with Interscope (wow, has it been that long since my first post???!!!).  Anyhoo, nearly six months and some 20 posts later, Haley finally announced via Twitter that her first single 'Free' is due out in March.  This timing is auspicious, as it was a year ago in March when this ravishing beauty first caught my eyes and ears during her soulful performance of Alicia Keys's 'Fallin' back on March 2, 2011.  Ahhhhh, sweet memories.

What gave me strength over the long months of waiting is my certain knowledge that Haley, along with all her collaborating songwriters and producers, poured their "blood, sweat and tears" into this album.   The project is in many ways a 'labor of love' for Haley, and that makes it so much more special than just making a commercial pop album for its own sake.  So what kind of album is it, precisely?  Just as Haley proved frustratingly difficult to grasp last season, repeatedly eluding JLo's and Randy's vain attempts to categorize or put her neatly into a box or musical genre (maybe that's partly why they were so mean to her), Haley's new album  promises to be equally diverse and eclectic.  And I'll admit that's exactly the way I like it.  Here's a soundbite from her interview with 'She Knows Reality TV Magazine' on 8/15/2011:

"I’m looking to do a very bluesy/sultry album with a lot of different genres incorporated; (I) have a little jazz in there and some funk and rock and I really just see it meshing all together."

And when asked what type of music she'll have on the album by The Daily Herald three days later she had this to say on 8/18/2011:

"I would love to mix it up. I'm really going to try to sneak jazz in. I know I have a lot of that soul R&B in me so I definitely want to try to get that across as well as funk, rock and a jazzy flavor. I think I told you before it sounds like a lot but I mean all of these things compact into one. As long as your style comes through, I think it's easy to tell."

In other words, it's not so much 'what' you sing but 'how' you sing it.  Just consider how Haley changed The Animals' popular folk song 'House of the Rising Sun' into something else entirely, something sultry, bluesy and jazzy at the same time through a combination of a capella solo-ing, rearrangements and altering (slowing down) the song's tempo.  In her 'Austin City Limits' interview, 2011 Grammy-winner Esperanza Spalding (whose fans include Haley and Casey by the way) said every major genre of music, whether it's rock, folk, soul/R&B, jazz or country, are all "deeply stewed" in the blues tradition.  All music are interconnected and interrelated, and you see elements of one genre cross over into another seamlessly.  "Improvisation, communication and solo-ing" are the key elements in all music.

Featured below are two of Haley's performances that further illustrate all this.  The first is her memorable 'Benny and the Jets' swan song at the end of the Top 3 results show.  Improvisation and communication are in evidence there.  The second is her near-a capella 'House of the Rising Sun' performance on Regis & Kelly, in which her ample solo-ing skills are on display. 

Lastly, though I don't usually like to dabble in gossip, James Durbin confirmed at his wedding (congrats!) last week that Haley and seventh-place finalist Stefano Langone are going out.  So I guess we guys can finally just all 'fergedabout it' and go on with our daily lives, haha.  So can Casey for that matter.  Stefaley fans and all teenage girls who think they make a cute couple can rejoice.  Here's wishing them all the best in their courtship.  No, really.

Seeya in a few when I give my impressions on Haley's new single.  L8r.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A (belated) 'Happy New Year!' to all

So another new year is upon us.  2012 is looking to shape up to be a great year, barring any major earth-shattering cataclysms associated with the Mayan calendar cycle or the atrocious John Cusack movie--ugh!--of the same name.  It's a leap year and the "Year of the (oooooh) Dragon" on the Chinese calendar, though that won't officially begin in about another three weeks.  Of course, what makes 2012 particularly special is that our collective patience will be rewarded when Haley releases her highly anticipated debut album in a couple of months or so.  Yeah, yeah, I hear you.  You can't wait.  Deal with it.

And the cycle starts all over again.  The new season of FOX's reality singing competition and ratings juggernaut 'American Idol,' that is.  This show will be entering its 11th iteration and it is still going strong.  The faces may be different, but the talent and variety of music have actually improved from previous seasons (last season being a case in point).  'American Idol' easily trumps 'The X-Factor,' which saw Simon Cowell reduced to a wimp who patronized so-called 'talents' whom he would have criticized mercilessly  on 'American Idol.'  We'll see if the new season can match the quality of the last, probably not since Haley is a tough act to follow.  Alas, the new season begins in less than two weeks on January 18 and 19.  I'm sooooo excited.

Apart from the aforementioned new album and the new season of my favorite reality singing show, what I'm also giddy about (though admittedly this has nothing to do with Haley) in 2012 is that beautiful and big-voiced Season 5 runner-up Katherine McPhee, a local California girl and my favorite American Idol before Haley, will be featured in a new 'Smash' hit next month (see poster below).  'Smash' is a TV series developed by Steven Spielberg and producer Craig Zadan ('Chicago' and 'Hairspray') about a Broadway musical on the life of Marilyn Monroe.  Former 'Will & Grace' star Debra Messing and veteran actress Anjelica Huston also starring.  Unlike 'Glee,' which I also love of course, 'Smash' will feature all original songs.  'Smash' debuts on NBC February 6 (the day after--you heard it here first, folks--the New England Patriots  New Orleans Saints whip the Baltimore Ravens New York Giants -- so much for my predictive powers, huh? -- to win their first Super Bowl since 2004), so be sure to check it out!  Okay, end of shameless plug.

Here's hoping your 2012 will be as successful, healthy, and relatively free of world-ending catastrophes as mine.  Peace!


Monday, December 12, 2011

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

or Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, whatever. It is FINALLY getting cold outside here in LA, especially at night, so it must be Christmas.  I'm still listening to Haley's and Casey's heartwarming duet 'Baby, It's Cold Outside' and loving it.  Their rendition got me to google other recent covers of this holiday fav on YouTube, and there are quite a few.  There's the one Chris Colfer (Kurt) and Darren Criss (Blaine) sang on 'Glee,' of course.  Then there's Willie Nelson featuring Norah Jones, and Anne Murray with Michael BublĂ©.  My perennial favorite Sara Bareilles just dueted this with her co-judge Ben Folds on NBC's 'Sing Off' Christmas special last week (watch their faux interview jabbing at each other before the duet on my YouTube Channel under 'Favorites,' you'll find it quite funny).  And as much as I loathe Country, I must admit that I even found the 'extra twangy' version by Lady Antebellum's Hillary Scott and Charles Kelley likable.  I don't know, I must be in a charitable Christmas mood, or maybe I just grew a little too fond of the song's playful back-and-forth banter on cold winter nights.  So if you haven't downloaded Haley's and Casey's song from iTunes yet, all I can ask is: "What's wrong with you???!!!"

Of course, 'Baby, It's Cold Outside' isn't the only holiday treat from our lovely and talented Haley.  In the spirit of yuletide cheer, I would be remiss to leave out this little gem she sang so wonderfully a couple of years ago with the Harper College Jazz Ensemble, courtesy of HaleyReinhartBR.  Plus, Haley looked so beautiful in that red dress, didn't she?  Happy holidays, everyone!