‘I’m just an old soul,’ the ‘American Idol’ alum says.
Haley Reinhart is making music on her own terms. The American Idol alum has unveiled the video for “Shook,” the latest track off her fourth studio album Lo-Fi Soul, and chatted exclusively with Billboard about the next chapter of her career as an independent artist.
Reinhart wrote the track with Tony Esterly and friend Clare Reynolds after a fun night of partying in Nashville, as she explains to Billboard. “It was my birthday weekend, and this was my last session before leaving to go back to L.A. I was hungover and wanted to write a tune that channeled that hazy feeling, mixed with a lusty, love-drunk state of mind."
The accompanying video represents Reinhart's deep subconscious, and "the 'good and bad' angels over my shoulder who follow me in my dream," she continues. "We toy with a boy I’m infatuated with as we dance around him and play dress up in the RagDoll Pink Palace."
The visual, which features Jay Starrett of MTV’s Ex On The Beach as the above-mentioned boy toy, certainly captures Reinhart’s love-drunk vision. In the clip, the 28-year-old vamps through L.A.'s life-size dollhouse wearing colorful lingerie, velvet opera gloves and a pink wig as she and her pals tease Starrett with feather boas and sultry come-ons. Reinhart barrels through the song’s enticing lyrics with the same raw, growling vocals that propelled her to a third-place finish on Idol’s 10th season behind future country stars Lauren Alaina and winner Scotty McCreery.
Inspired by the melodies of the 1950s, “Shook” also gives fans a taste of the soulful throwback vibes that permeate all 13 tracks of Reinhart’s new album, itself a follow-up to her 2017 covers LP What’s That Sound?, which featured the singer’s take on ‘60-era classics by everyone from The Shirelles and The Beatles to Buffalo Springfield and Nancy Sinatra.
"Lo-Fi Soul defines me and all the different colors and characteristics of who I am,” she tells Billboard. “I’m just an old soul who’s constantly connecting the dots in life, smiling all the way…I’ve managed to combine my favorites sounds of soul and rock ‘n’ roll with hints of jazz and R&B. I used certain sounds like 808s, heavy bass, organ, horns, and reverb guitars to bring it all together."
Reinhart’s fourth album marks a new era, involving even more artistic freedom for the singer. After being shuffled through both major and indie labels for her first three releases — from Interscope/19 to ole to Concord Records — she’s taking full creative control on Lo-Fi Soul by releasing it independently.
“Being independent rocks,” the singer says. “I put out exactly what I want, when I want. There’s no compromising or dumbing down my vision when it comes to the music and my aesthetic — and I own it, too. I’ve enjoyed working with labels in the past, but it feels good to be at that point in my career where I can do it on my own. It’s definitely been more work on the business end and overall, but boy is it worth it.”
Reinhart’s manager Larry Rudolph, who counts Britney Spears, Marina and Kim Petras among his famed roster, agrees with the singer’s move away from the label system.
“If anyone can thrive as an independent artist in today's music space, it's Haley Reinhart,” he tells Billboard. “Her unique and undeniable talent, along with her commitment and conviction to her art is unlike anything I have seen in a long time.”
Lo-Fi Soul is out now. Get a first look at the video for “Shook” below.