Soaring vocals, introspective lyricism
Haley Johnsen is a Portland, Oregon-born musician with a knack for genre-bending and a hard-earned career path that is uniquely her own.
Raised listening to powerhouse singers such as Brandi Carlile, Grace Potter, Eva Cassidy, and Bonnie Raitt, her greatest inspirations become apparent in her soaring vocals, introspective lyricism, and cross-pollinated style of indie-pop, and bluesy folk-rock music. Whether her songs muse on the aches of self-doubt, the joy that can accompany nostalgia, or simply trying to stay afloat in tough times, her bona fide songwriting combined with her performance ability is bound to evoke an emotional response.
“I want my music to encourage people to push through their challenges and continue to have hope and belief in themselves and their authenticity,” she says.
Growing up as a competitive gymnast, Haley quickly learned how to be a daredevil and step outside her comfort zone. This influenced her musical journey by prompting the prolific songwriter to take inventive and unexpected risks sonically at an early age. In the span of about three years, Haley wrote around 200 songs in her parent’s back shed, with the most memorable songs being added to her debut EP, Through the Blue, which was released in 2015. She followed up with her second EP, When You Lit The Sky, in 2017, along with a handful of singles and national tours. It was through her critically acclaimed 12-track debut album, Golden Days, that she gained much-deserved recognition and ignited the interest of Allen Stone who appeared on the album. Later that year, Haley began touring with the power-trio sister-band Joseph and with EDM/Indie pop artist Big Wild, who she currently works with as a bassist and backup vocalist. During her first Europe tour in January of 2019, Haley was further granted the opportunity to record an acoustic album entitled London Sessions at the Legendary Abbey Road.
Her 2021 single “Goner” was written in a bathtub in a vintage trailer in the midst of having an existential crisis. The songwriter confides,
“it came to be about the romanization of nostalgia; the longing for what once was our youth and also the fear of death. It’s about my own internal struggle trying to stay present and at peace with who I am now, where I am now, and realize that my childlike self is still very much alive in me. It’s a reminder that I don’t need to be afraid or insecure with where I am in my life.”
Featuring honey-dipped vocals, breezy guitars, and sweeping 70s-inspired folk-rock soundscapes, “Goner” is a sun-drenched melancholic daydream.
With her latest release “Higher” Haley Johnsen explores “not giving up on yourself. It’s that feeling of knowing that no matter what, you’re going to continue growing, continue dreaming and that in itself is the greatest high. Knowing that you’ve built that trust within yourself to keep going even when life has worn you down,” she confides. Featuring a stirring melodic hook, orchestral percussion and dreamy slide guitar, “Higher” is the perfect anthem of self-love. The single marks the second off of her upcoming full length that promises to be “ quirky, dramatic, soft, sombre, eclectic, and energetic.” Kinda like Haley Johnsen.