It’s an exciting time to be Haley Reinhart. The season 10 American Idol favorite recently released her new single, “Free,” off her soon-to-be released debut record, Listen Up!. The song stays true to the jazzy, retro-soul songstress that we came to know on the singing competition a little over a year ago.
The singer has been on quite the press tour as of late, which included making her return to the Idol stage earlier this month, as well as appearing on the popular CW drama, 90210. Earlier this week, Reinhart graciously took the time to chat with me about her new single, having creative control on her album, and what she hopes her fans will take away from Listen Up!.
How does it feel to have your new single, “Free,” finally released?
Oh, I couldn’t be happier. It’s really amazing to finally have some of my own material come out. It’s been very fun. I’m eager to see the charts and wait to see what happens.
How has the reaction from your fans been about the song?
It’s really good. They find out so many things, like it’s crazy. They find out stuff before I do a lot of the times. With the song, they’ve been eager to see what is going to come from me and the sound. I think that they’re pleased with the direction. They agree and know it’s the right direction for me and it’s the kind of artist that I want to be.
I read that you first crossed paths with song “Free” last summer while you were on the Idol tour; what was your first impression of the song?
I had gotten a bunch of songs, and that was the one that I was like, “Wow.” You know, it just had a lot of different things that caught my attention. It had this hypnotic, kind of very retro, sultry vibe to it and it captivated me from the get go, from the first piano chord to the end. There’s a lot of different qualities about it that made it special, and I could just hear myself singing it thinking, “This is the path that I want to go down.”
Was the song’s impact on you something that came into play when it came to deciding which song you would lead off your album with?
Yeah, we just thought that “Free” was perfect on many different levels. For a first thing to come out and to maintain my artistry the way that I want to be represented, as well as letting it have these pop undertones and sending [the song] out to radio and having them take a listen and want to play it. We thought it was perfect in a lot of those different areas.
I think it’s a great first single for you, and I really enjoyed seeing you perform the song on American Idol (Top 10 results show) last week. How did it feel to return to the Idol stage to perform your own material?
That was so much fun. I got to see people that I spent so much time with and reconnect. Being able to come back with my own stuff, it feels great to know that I started on that Idol stage and I’m back doing my own thing.
You started out your performance in this giant birdcage, and I was wondering where the idea for that came from?
Most of the times with the whole album and the creative process, and the video and everything like that, all my ideas have been there. But this one, there’s been so much going on and Idol’s just been one of the things going down. And it’s so important, so we got Wade Robson to come in, creative director, and he actually had this idea for the birdcage. And I’m all about vision, so we made it happen. It’s huge, it weighed tons! It was really cool to actually see it in person and make it come to life.