If you're anything like me, you've probably car karoake-ed some EDM tracks with killer vocals behind it. Ever wondered who that voice is? Chances are you, you've probably sung along with singer-songwriter, HALIENE!
With more than 100 million combined streams, HALIENE has exploded in the EDM scene with multiple collaborations with the world’s top DJs, such as Seven Lions, Illenium, Slander, ATB, Ferry Corsten, Breathe Carolina, Blasterjaxx and Aly & Fila, just to name a few (talk about impressive)!
Two years ago, in 2017, HALIENE won “Tune of the Year” (Armin van Buuren’s prestigious award) for her international hit “Saving Light” (with Gareth Emery + Standerwick). Since then, she has performed all over the world, including a very recent performance at EDC Las Vegas with Tritonal at Kinetic Field.
We had the pleasure of sitting down with Haliene to talk about her background, EDC performances, and busy year ahead!
When did you begin singing and songwriting?
I’ve been singing since I can remember. My mother always said I came out singing! I honestly don’t remember a time singing wasn’t part of my life and my heart. My first performance was at the age of 4. I’ve been songwriting since I was 12, and it began with just lyrics, no melodies. I started writing poetry and short stories when I was 8 or 9 years old, and eventually those poems started becoming songs. I learned to write melodies to my lyrics when I was 15.
When did you first discover the rave community and when did you start integrating your passion for singing and songwriting in with the EDM world?
I discovered my love for dance music and it’s a beautiful culture in 2012, just after I lost both my parents to cancer. A good friend brought me to a music festival and having never been to one I had no idea what to expect. I immediately gravitated to the dance stage and never left. I’d also just left my record label after they wouldn’t release the album I had put my heart and soul into for two years, so I was feeling lost musically and professionally as well as emotionally and spiritually. I’ve always had a huge love for electronic music, but somehow I hadn’t stumbled on dance until that day. As an artist, I was inspired, and I felt there was a place for me there. I heard voices coming out of the speakers but saw no singers on stage.
Coming out of so much loss at once, the community felt like home to me. It was the friends I made, the culture I experienced that brought my heart back to life, and carried me into my future. I met so many creative and brilliant yet broken-hearted souls, that welcomed me with open arms and shared their lives, their crew, their nights and their supplies with me, and I with them. I am proud to say that before I was the singer you see now up on stage, I was in the crowd for years, dreaming and cheering and making and trading kandi, and living for those moments too. I’ll always be a raver at heart.
When/How did you get involved with iHeartRaves?
I was introduced to iHeartRaves about a year ago by a stylist and blogger named Alice, who kindly made an email introduction to @TinyDancer, (Kelcey) and our relationship began from there! I was already performing at many festivals and shows all over the globe, and I was looking for a fashion company to collaborate with that had a similar vision to mine, who’s pieces I could rock on stage. I love how iHeartRaves lifts up women (and men, too) in the rave scene, supports their freedom of creative expression with their outfits. What we choose to wear to a festival is our contribution to the art, and they really understand that.
You just had a monumental point in your career with performing for over 60,000 people at EDC with Tritonal on the Kinetic Field Stage. Can you tell us a little bit about what that experience was like?
Performing with Tritonal on Kinetic Field had to be the largest crowd I’ve ever sang for. It was amazing. I am so grateful to the guys and to the Insomniac team for making it happen. Every time I perform at EDC (this was my third time), it always feels like I am singing for family. They always know all the words, and we’re all singing together. It’s the best feeling in the world! Although I do have to tell you, it was a little scary this year because of the wind! We weren’t sure if the stage would stay open that night (as you might know they had to close it the night before due to high wind), but they and did I got to go on, and my black sheer cape/wings were blowing nicely too!
Not only are you extremely talented with singing and songwriting but you have a great eye for fashion! How would you describe your festival style?
Thank you! I always have an element of flow to my style, especially on stage. I love pieces that feel angelic or ethereal, with a sci-fi edge to them. I typically wear black or white. I wore a red dress in a music video once, otherwise, it's monochromatic for me! That said, I am obsessed with rhinestones and sparkle now too. I love the way they catch the lights, it's stunning. If I had to give you three words for my style, I’d say ethereal, sci-fi/futuristic and glam!
What has been the hardest obstacle for you to overcome in your career?
In my entire career, the hardest obstacle has been staying the course, and surviving the hills and valleys of life, never letting it take me down, but using the pain and heartbreak to give life to new songs, that help and heal. It can be easy when you meet resistance of any kind, internal or external to throw in the towel and say you tried. Sometimes the resistance comes again and again. But if you know in your heart that you are here on this earth with a purpose, to bring something special, you don’t give up. You just find another way around the mountain.
What do you like to do for fun?
I love being outside in nature. I adore hiking and camping. I grew up in Southern Utah surrounded by five national parks, so my spirit craves those beautiful technicolor places. It feeds my soul! I love journaling, doing yoga, and reading. Every chance I get you’ll find me on a hill or a mountain, doing one of those things! I love gardening and cooking!
What’s a fun fact most people don’t know about you? Any hidden talents?
Most people don’t know that I love cooking, and I think I’m pretty good! Another thing most people don’t know is I was the voice on the jingle for Kay Jewelers commercials for a few years… “every kiss begins with Kay”!
Who are some of your biggest inspirations?
I’m inspired by the greats, Annie Lennox, Celine Dion, Barbara Streisand for their ability to stay the course and never compromise their vision as well as preserve their voices and sing safely. I have been studying voice since I was 4. They still sound absolutely amazing, because they sing technically perfect. I admire the greats in songwriting like Sting, Paul Simon…I’ve been incredibly inspired by Jon Hopkins productions since 2013, he’s a genius.
Do you have any advice for girls who want to try to “breakout” in the singing/songwriting world?
I know everyone always says this, but never give up. It can take years to find where you belong in music, and when I say years I don’t mean one or two. I mean like 3-5 or more. It’s all about staying in the game, continuing to hone your craft, being easy to work with, but knowing your value. Write with other people until you find your “writing family”. Listen to feedback only from people you really respect, and even then take it with a grain of salt. Study the greats.
And I have to mention this, because no one says this and they should: take the rose-colored glasses off of being a “superstar” and realize that you are not walking into a glamorous dream, you are building a business, and you are becoming a new business owner. Treat it as such. Educate yourself, like you would if you were opening a restaurant or any other business. Know the business side of things, like publishing, master rights, mechanicals, etc. not just the music. Read Everything You Need To Know About The Music Business by Donald Passman.
What can we expect from HALIENE in the next year? Any big projects you can tell us about?
I have about a dozen collaborations coming out this year, from seriously big names to up and coming names, and I am excited about all of them! A few I can mention are Jeffrey Sutorius (previously known as Dash Berlin), Morgan Page, Markus Schulz, and a few more with Seven Lions. I’m touring all of Australia with MarLo this August, which is a dream come true for me! I’m also working on another solo single too, so stay tuned for that! It will probably be out later this year.