From posting covers on YouTube to see virality over the years, to releasing full EPs and projects, Haley Blais has been, and still is, one of my top favorite songwriters throughout my teenhood. This Canadian artist doesn’t neatly fit into any singular genre (and honestly, who does?) but impressively combines indie and pop styles with a ukulele and echoed harmonizing & backup vocals, all bound together with Blais’ sentimental and warm artistic voice. ‘Late Bloomer’, a three track EP from 2016, is met with a gentle and somber tone among all three tracks; Hayley’s vocals are nostalgic and comforting, guiding the listener through narratives discussing maturity, longing, and heartbreak. The title track, ‘Late Bloomer’, specifically speaks to a theme that I personally relate to, and have rarely found myself represented in this way in music. Feeling inexperienced and immature, yet reluctant to step out of a comfort zone, no matter the context, is such an intimate and terrifying feeling that is beautifully illustrated by Blais. Although this is one of Haley’s earliest releases, it remains to be a very special collection of songs in my heart, and truly displays her roots & history as an artist.
In 2018, Haley released two EPs- ‘Zero Charisma’, consisting of five demos, followed by ‘Let Yourself Go’. One track in particular from Let Yourself Go, ‘Small Foreign Faction’, quickly rose in streams immediately following its release, and became a standout track. I had the pleasure of seeing Haley Blais perform live with The Greeting Committee in DC (TAG ARTICLE THERE) last month, and the majority of the crowd sang along to every word of this song, including myself. “I never wanted anything and I never got it” is one of my favorite lines I have ever heard in my life, and no matter how many hundreds of times I listen to this song, I will never not be amazed by the absolute paradox of its complexity and simultaneous simplicity. ‘Seventeen’ and ‘Severance Pay’ are also two of my favorite tracks from these two EPs, as they clearly showcase Blais’ lyrical dexterity and cleverness. ‘Severance Pay’, off of ‘Zero Charisma’, uses a parallel between a newly ended relationship and a newly ended job, a comparison that absolutely breaks the heart, aware of it’s resentment and pain after betrayal.
“I never thought that I’d be making this song,
You’re the one who said that you liked having a boss.
I don’t have to give you severance pay since you quit,
Now you’re running back you’re such a dumb hypocrite”
Something that I have always admired about Haley Blais is there is a consistent sense of relatability in these narratives. Life isn’t always exciting and fast paced- it can be, if not will be, somewhat average and unspectacular. But the feelings and thoughts that Haley, I, and you, all have during those times, and the intensity of the emotions, are still completely valid & authentic. Haley is writing about her life, as most musicians do, but her ability to orchestrate a whole chaotic plotline is not what draws me in- it’s her authentic and genuine nature in describing the average complexities of life, the nature that makes me feel like this music was made for me.
Make sure to keep up with Haley Blais on Instagram & Twitter, and check out her on Spotify.