Those songs are all a part of her debut EP Retrograde, released today (March 24). Along with the EP, she premieres the video for the title track. About the song, Halley explains, “Retrograde is about the making of the EP. I found you can want something so much but you have to trust that everything is happening the way it’s supposed to. I’ve been trying to make this EP for a while now (years) but if I had rushed even one part of it, it wouldn’t have turned out the way it did. It felt like forever but looking back I’m thankful for the process.”
Hiatt also answered a few questions for Singersroom in a short Q&A where she talks about the EP’s inspiration and creation.
Tell us a little about your upbringing and musical influences.
I grew up in Fallsburg, NY a very small but diverse town (about an hour and a 1/2 outside of NYC). My Dad loved the blues and my Mom loved singer/songwriter’s from the late 60’s/70’s and R&B (some favorites being Janis Joplin and Al Green). Although both were very open minded sonically.
I grew up loving R&b and hip hop, but always remained very open minded. After high school I fell in love with Jazz and that was a game changer. It took music for me to the next level. I was amazed by how the same great singers and musicians would perform the same songs and but each performance was unique and could have an entirely new meaning. I also loved how the genre is so “in the moment.”
What has the journey been like for creating your very first EP, Retrograde?
I feel like I’ve been creating Retrograde my whole life. Every move & experience has lead me to the creation and completion of this project.
I faced multiple setbacks (inspiring the title track and name of the project) but that made it that much better when the EP finally started coming together and sounding the way I thought it should. It’s difficult to find the right production to fit the sound your looking for when you’re not producing the track yourself. It’s also extremely difficult trying to do everything yourself.
I named the EP after Mercury retrograde. When most people think of Mercury Retrograde, they think of a constant state of confusion and miscommunication, but the lesser know side of it, is that it’s also a time of reflection and while everything seems like it’s not going right, good and better things are happening because of it. While it’s easy to be distracted by the negative, the afterward can be much more rewarding.
While creating this project, early on I made due dates and set expectations that were missed. However, if I had actually made those dates I would have missed key ingredients that came after and made the finished product what it is and something I’m truly proud of.
What can we expect from Retrograde? (Sonically, title meaning, etc.?)
I’m a huge fan of lyrics and I’m not one to tell you how to feel in a song. I think art should have room for interpretation. So you can expect lyrics that lets the listener draw their own conclusions.
You’re very rare in that you actually claim the R&B genre, whereas now many artists sing in the genre, but don’t want to be called an “R&B” artist. How do you overcome the struggles of being an Independent R&B artist with very few platforms that support the genre?
I have no issue whatsoever with being labeled an R&B artist. I love the genre itself and have been inspired by so many other artists that claim it. I also believe that good music is good music, plain and simple. I would never not listen to something because of how it was labeled and I feel sorry for those that do.
As for the struggles of being and Independent R&B artist, I take each obstacle as it comes. “When something comes easy, you usually let it go the same way” (Nora Roberts). It’s definitely a slower build, but I’ve found that those who are open and do appreciate what I’m doing, appreciate it much more deeply. And that makes all the difference to me.
Halley will perform songs from the EP at the Retrograde release party at the W hotel on Lexington and 49th street tonight. Check the flyer below: