Since forever my day job has been PR person, helping companies get their stories out through trade journals. I love working with entrepreneurs and the media, which I still do each and every work day. But since I started blogging two years ago, I have found myself on the other side of the equation; publicists for new country artists frequently reach out to me with story pitches. And I’m glad they do.
Recently I had the opportunity for a brief phone chat with the Nashville-based, young country artist Haley Mae Campbell in celebration of today’s release for her new EP Lovers Lottery. The EP is an easy-to-take six-song sampler featuring Haley Mae’s self-described, “pop-country-story-telling-mixed-with-an-Americana-rock-kind-of-sound.” The description fits the EP well which is laden with catchy melodies and breezy lyrics, with better production and appeal than much of what pours into my phone via from what seems like a million different places these days.
Haley Mae wrote or co-wrote all of the material for Lovers Lottery. The EP’s title comes from a lyric in the uptempo heartbreaker Take A Chance that’s underpinned by driving fiddle (Haley Mae herself played as a child but has since turned bow duties to Ryan Gilmore), with an infectious rhythm. The current single Oughta Be features a crazy cool fiddle swirl in the middle. It follows a first single Lose My Number that’s enjoyed over 300K streams via Spotify. That song is a danceable done-me-wrong tune that my pal Deb’s daughter Caleista would eat up. Through the Door showcases Haley Mae’s every-girl quality and vocal tone that is reminiscent of Taylor Swift’s first album stuff. No Place to Go fits squarely in the pop country lane. Blisters is an ode to a bad night in poorly fitting Louis Vuittons and plays like a Carrie Underwood hit.
Haley Mae has packed a lot into her life music performance-wise in her 19 short years. She told me she fell in love with performing at age 8 in children’s theatre (which my mind calculated is about the time we bought the car my husband drives to work every day) and began busking on the streets of hometown Charleston, SC, when she was only 13 years old. Coffee shop gigs and appearances around town followed. She ditched high school as a sophomore in order to finish up classes online and concentrate on performing before heading off to college. But plans change and after a year or so playing full time with her band, The Hardware, Haley Mae convinced her parents college wasn’t next. “It became clear to me that (performing) was what I was I meant to do,” she said. Her current band features Gilmore, plus lead guitarist Zachary Manno, drummer Ben Sewell, bass player Levi Post, and keys/organist Justin Brown.
A move to Nashville August 2017 cemented her plan. She has been playing as much as possible around town, including routine acoustic shows at The Row Kitchen & Pub on Lyle Avenue downtown Nashville. She celebrated the single release of Lose My Number at Tootsies on Lower Broadway earlier this year. Haley Mae jokes about getting kicked out of the mother of all honky-tonks right after her set because Nashville law forbids minors from hanging out in bars after 8 PM.
Right now Haley Mae is dreaming of hitting the road on tour with a big pop country act like Dan + Shay. Truth be told, she has already opened for them when they were starting out. Over the years she’s also shared the stage with Luke Combs, Brothers Osborne, David Nail, Lauren Alaina, Love and Theft, Thompson Square and Tyler Farr as well as folk stars The Avett Brothers. In 2015, she performed alongside headliner Sheryl Crow at Charleston’s 9th Annual First Flush Festival. “That was very cool to watch,” said Haley Mae who deftly noted there’s much to learn by absorbing how more seasoned acts perform. “You have to do homework,” she said. Smart girl.
Find Haley Mae Campbell’s new EP Lovers Lottery at these music outlets:
Here’s a list of her next shows: (and I’m hoping for some Midwestern dates soon)
May 11th – Dockery’s (Charleston, SC)
May 12th – My Father’s Moustache (Mount Pleasant, SC)
May 16th – Home Team BBQ West Ashley (Charleston, SC)
May 21st – Red’s Ice House (Mount Pleasant, SC)
May 25th – Wild Wing Cafe (Bluffton, SC)
May 26th – My Father’s Moustache (Mount Pleasant, SC)
*************************************************************************************I hope you enjoyed my chat with Haley Mae Campbell. If you are a country artist or songwriter with an interesting story to share, please contact me.
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