Haley Reinhart didn’t know what to do with herself after her cover of “Can’t Help Falling in Love” hit 150 million streams on Spotify. After placing third on “American Idol” in 2011 and participating in the popular musical collective Postmodern Jukebox in 2015, she released the Elvis Presley cover as part of her album Better. After being picked up by Extra Gum for a commercial, her song amassed popularity faster than she had ever expected.
“It’s things like that that are telling me I’m on the right path and that make me feel really good about all the moves I’m making,” Reinhart said in an interview with The Daily Californian.
Now, having released her first original album, Lo-Fi Soul, last month, the Chicago artist is hitting the ground running in 2019.
“I don’t think it’s just my mushroom coffee that I like to drink — I think it’s just, like, actual crazy excitement and good nerves flowing through me right now,” she said.
The 13-song album, pulling on an old-soul mentality, is a mix of old Hollywood ’60s and ’70s themes from which Reinhart draws musical and aesthetic inspiration. Because, as Reinhart noted, she hasn’t had a chance to release an original album until now, the ballads reflect different moments of her artistic career — some songs were written almost seven years ago.
“I think what was really a pleasant surprise: seeing from my fans and a lot of new listeners how excited they are for all originals,” Reinhart said. “Coming from a place where my covers have done great and I’m looking at the gold and platinum on the wall from ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love,’ it’s like, well … I also have goals as far as hoping to get my own songs to be in that same realm.”
Having produced Lo-Fi Soul separate from a recording label, Reinhart has lately grown in her knowledge of the music industry and of herself as an individual.
“I’ve stepped into a new light of self-worth,” Reinhart said. “I never doubted myself, and I always stepped up to the plate and told people what it is that I deserved. … I’ve learned a lot as a businesswoman just handling it, and I’m really excited to be able to jump back into touring.”
Still, Reinhart recalled that it was covers, after all, that catapulted her into the spotlight in the first place.
“The coolest thing about all these covers is that I’ve picked songs, for the most part, for a reason,” Reinhart said. “The one that I didn’t really pick and kind of fell into my lap was ‘Falling in Love,’ and for me, it was like that changed my life in a crazy, drastic way — going from an Extra Gum commercial and then getting, like, crazy Shazams, played on the radio. I just never saw that one coming, and some of the most beautiful surprises in life are surprises.”
Reinhart was able to thank Priscilla Presley in person for her ex-husband’s contributions to the music industry and Reinhart’s own career boost at a party shortly after releasing the song, noting how it was happenstance that the last time she had seen Priscilla was the day the song had initially been recorded.
This is just the tip of the iceberg for Reinhart, who is already ramping up for “potential things up in the air” for the rest of this year. No matter where she lies in popularity, she voiced faith in her humility and muses to keep her grounded throughout her career.
“I have this crazy wide range of inspirations,” Reinhart said. “They happen to be the kind of people that are so completely different and original — those are the kind of people who inspire me because you know that it’s totally coming from an original, authentic place inside of them, and that’s where I like to reside as well.”
Reinhart seems more than prepared for what’s to come. As she said: “I’m kind of just blooming into exactly who it is that I want to show people as an artist.”