Hailee Steinfeld, teen actress turned musician, released her debut EP HAIZ on November 13. For those who don’t know who Hailee Steinfeld is, she starred in Pitch Perfect 2 as Emily, in True Grit as Mattie Ross, in Ender’s Game as Petra Arkanian and many more. During Hailee’s acting career, she was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, a Screen Actors Guild nomination for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role” and a BAFHTA nomination for “Best Actress in a Leading Role,” all for her performance in True Grit. Hailee began singing at a very young age and aspired to become a singer/songwriter, because she uses singing and performing as a way to express herself. While Hailee was acting, she wasn’t able to express her personal feelings, so she decided to begin writing music.
Hailee got the chance to begin her music career in 2015 when she received the opportunity to be in Pitch Perfect 2. She was finally given a chance to show off her voice and gain connections in the music industry. After Pitch Perfect 2 wrapped up, Hailee was fortunate enough to meet the Vice President of Republic Records, Charlie Walk and have him listen to some of the songs she recorded. This interaction jumpstarted her music career and started the production of HAIZ.
HAIZ consists of four songs, including the hit single “Love Myself.” The EP begins with the song “Hell No’s and Headphones,” which is followed by “Rock Bottom,” then “You’re Such A,” and comes to an end with “Love Myself.” The way these songs are ordered on the EP and it may have been unintentional, tells a story about a girl’s love life. HAIZ begins talking about someone who doesn’t mind being alone and would rather listen to music than be with people. Then it shifts to love song about toughing out the bad times and waiting for them to get better. The next song tells the story of getting over a break up and moving on to realize that everyone can be happy alone and nobody needs another person to make them happy, which is seen in the last song of the EP.
“Hell No’s and Headphones” begins with a soft pop melody that sets the mood for the EP. The beat is slow but still able to be danced to, which fits the lyrics perfectly. This song talks about overcoming slow, difficult times with the narrator’s friends going away and to be happy and uplifting while alone. In the song, the narrator is saying “Hell No” to anyone who tries to make plans with her, because she prefers to be content by herself and spend her time listening to music with her headphones. This theme of self-confidence and self-love is evident the entire EP.
Following “Hell No’s and Headphones” is the slowest song on the EP, “Rock Bottom.” This song describes a love/hate relationship between two individual and even though they are at rock bottom, they know that it will get better. Hailee adds in multiple paradoxical phrases such as, “right side of rock bottom” and “good side of bad karma” to mirror how the love/hate relationship are a crazy mix of good and bad. “Rock Bottom” is the perfect song to describe these relationships, not only due to the lyrics, but also because the song has ups and downs in the volume and tempo which match the ups and down of a love/hate relationship.
At this point in the EP, Hailee’s sweet, slower melodies are replaced by upbeat and more aggressive tones. “You’re Such A” is filled with all the thoughts that go around someone’s head right after a breakup with someone who didn’t deserve them. This song has a very uplifting feel and contains easy to remember lyrics, with background clapping and stomping which makes it irresistible not to sing and clap along. The aggressive tone of this song fits the breakup theme and shows the more adult side of Hailee’s personality. She isn’t trying to make senseless, happy pop music like many other artists; she puts real emotions in her songs and talks about staying happy through tough situations.
Closing the EP is Hailee’s debut single, “Love Myself,” which bring the EP full circle back to the theme of the first song- self-confidence and self-love. All though it has the same theme, “Love Myself” differs from “Hell No’s and Headphones” because it refers to self-love in a more adult way, rather than just mental happiness. This song features a very catchy chorus with a nice beat that makes it hard not to dance to. A song like this really stands out from a teen pop artist because it is entirely about something seen as taboo to talk about and most new artists try to play it safe and put out songs appropriate for all ages.
HAIZ is packed full of meaningful lyrics that are relatable to everyone, accompanied by pop melodies that make this EP great to listen to anytime; it will hopefully be only the beginning of many songs and albums released by Hailee during her musical career.