Photo: Lindsay Elliott
Vancouver-based singer-songwriter and musician Haley Blais is set to release her debut studio album “Below the Salt” on August 25th visa Tiny Kingdom. You can pre-order it HERE. “Below the Salt” is a coming of age story recognizing that there is no real ‘coming of age’, and that there are hundreds of instances of recognition and learning.
We had the opportunity to chat with Haley about her new album, and how she’s using her voice to make a difference.
Kat: Can you talk about the inspiration behind your album “Below the Salt”?
Haley: I like thinking of the tracklist for this album as different bookmarks in my life over the last three years. “Below the salt” is a phrase that refers to someone who is extremely normal and not rich, to paraphrase, and I related to that! Visually, it’s a lot of vignettes of me and my niece, Alma, the smartest and coolest person I know.
Kat: Can you talk about your writing process? Did you have a direction for the album before you started? Or did it just come together naturally?
Haley: It’s a real shit storm without any direction, because I didn’t really realize I was making an album until it was happening. The first track “Someone Called While You Were Out” was written after I had settled on a title, and is a bit of an homage to Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5”, an ode to the working man.
Kat: Can you talk a little bit about your musical inspirations and role models?
Haley: While recording we channeled Carole King. WWCD? It’s a good mantra to carry around with you. Andy Shauf, Harry Nilsson, Jenny Lewis…all big role models for me.
Kat: Recently, you’ve addressed mental health in your single “Rob the Original”, and in June, donated your Bandcamp sales to Hogan’s Alley Society, an organization that advocates for Black Vancouverites who have endured the legacies of urban renewal and their erasure from the official historical narrative. As an artist, (and as someone with a large social media presence) do you feel any responsibility to address these types of issues affecting our communities? What do you hope others take away from your example?
Haley: Yes, definitely. Addressing them is the least I can and will do, same goes for others. To reference Dolly again, “And of course black lives matter. Do we think our little white asses are the only ones that matter?”
Kat: How are you staying connected to your fans and the industry during Covid-19? What’s next?
Hayley: I honestly thought I would be on social media a LOT more, but I’ve been enjoying taking this time to write a lot and focus on personal relationships. I miss touring and wearing insane outfits on stage in front of crowds of people voluntarily, but releasing an album is a direct bond between you and whomever listens to it. I love the unspoken connection between me and someone who relates to my music. I’m excited for that.
For more on Haley Blais, visit: https://www.haleyblaismusic.com