Despite over a decade of hard work in Music City, country musician and singer-songwriter Hailey Whitters was only recently able to take a step back to reassess why she started this journey in the first place: to create music that she loves on her own terms. Here, “Nashville’s newest unsigned star” explains how she’s been staying connected with her fans throughout lockdown, and how things have finally come full circle on her latest album release, The Dream.
Like many recording artists and musicians, Hailey Whitters was hoping to be out on the road this year showcasing her latest record to the world.
When it became apparent that touring was out of the question, the probing, fearless songwriter from Iowa bounced back, something that she has become quite accustomed with over the course of her musical career.
“I’ve been doing a lot of co-writing, which is not necessarily what I planned on spending this year doing, but I’m just getting into the studio when I can to record new music, stay creative and stay positive,” says Whitters.
At the start of August, Whitters announced a new live in studio session series, which she kicked off with an intimate piano rendition of her song Dream, Girl from her latest album The Dream, released earlier this year.
“I really miss not being out on the road, and we just wanted to do it as a gift to fans so that they could experience the songs in that setting,” she explains. “We had a little bit of fun with the reinterpreted version of Dream, Girl - we stripped it back production-wise and brought the piano to the forefront, and in a way it really reinvented the song for me. It just felt good to be playing music again, and to have that synergy of a live performance with your band.
“It’s a special song to me and one that I’ve always enjoyed playing live. The new live in studio version feels very vulnerable compared to the party girl anthem vibe of the original, so I think we were just really excited to get that one out first.”
It has been a long journey for Whitters, who has now been in Nashville for 13 years having spent many late nights writing songs and building friendships on Music Row. The grind looked to have paid off however when she took home Rising Artist-Writer of the Year at this year’s AIMP Nashville Awards.
“It was just shock, gratitude and massive appreciation,” says Whitters when asked about her initial reaction to receiving the award. “To be recognised by your community of peers as a rising new artist - it just felt very special and very cool to be acknowledged for the work I’ve been doing.”