Haley Klinkhammer On Inspiration and Songwriting!
Haley Klinkhammer is a singer-songwriter from Wisconsin whose guitar covers and original tracks have been attracting new fans for more than six years.
We spoke with Haley all about discovering her inner musician, songwriting inspiration, and more in an exclusive interview!
Haley explained that she comes from a musical family and has been singing her whole life.
"My dad sings and plays the guitar, my mom plays the flute, my brother, Brandon, raps, my brother, Ryan, plays the drums," she said. "I really enjoy collaborating with my brothers and doing covers with them. They're very talented and I'm so proud of them."
Haley started playing the violin in the 5th grade, but wasn't a big fan of the instrument, and quit.
"My dad had a guitar in the basement that I always would pretend to play and I wanted to learn so my parents got me one for my birthday," she said.
She started learning how to play the guitar soon after, and has now been playing for about 8 years.
Recently, Haley has written a number of incredible original songs, including the beautiful "Breaking Free."
"'Breaking Free' was one of those songs that kind of wrote itself," Haley said. "I was on my way home from school and the word 'disconnected' came to mind. That was the word to describe the way I had been feeling for a couple of weeks before then, but I hadn't been able to put a word to it until that moment."
The entire song is based around that concept of feeling "disconnected."
"It's about crying out to God and breaking free from all of the things that are holding us back," Haley explained. "The uncertainty in our lives. The way that we believe others think of us. Being afraid to show others who we really are because we're ashamed of ourselves."
She said that the song came organically to her.
"I have found that it's more difficult to write a song when I sit down and tell myself that I'm going to write a song," she said. "I believe my best songs come from the times when I'm randomly hit with inspiration. When I'm not expecting it."
Haley uploaded her first video about six years ago. Every year during spring break, Haley and her extended family, including aunts, uncles and cousins, stay at their grandparents house.
While singing with her older cousin, Ashley, Haley was inspired to share her singing with her friends on MySpace.
"We went out in the patio with a camera and my brother, Ryan, helped us video record us singing it," she said. "YouTube was kind of new at the time and I wasn't really planning on doing anything more with it."
Haley never expected that strangers would start watching and commenting on her videos. New fans urged her to upload more.
"So I did," she said. "It became something I never imagined it would be. I never dreamed that I would be where I am today."
She said that it means so much to her that people listen to her music and love it enough to share it with their friends.
"I never thought that I would be able to touch peoples' lives with my music and be able to inspire them. To help them. To be able to share my story and hear their stories," she said. "It has changed my life and I am so incredibly thankful."
When it comes to performing covers, Haley does what she can to pick songs that will inspire and encourage her fans.
"I feel that a lot of the popular music today is inappropriate and degrading and I stay away from doing covers of those songs," she said. "I like to do a lot of uplifting music."
She said that fans of music shouldn't be a victim to the negative messages in a lot of pop music.
"We live in a world that is constantly telling us that we're not good enough and we need to do this or that to be 'cool' or to prove ourselves," Haley said. "I think we all need a reminder sometimes that we're awesome just the way we are."
Haley's biggest piece of advice for aspiring musicians is not to be too stuck on their plans for success.
"One, nothing happens the way you plan for it to," she explained. "So many things in my music career and my life in general have happened that I wasn't expecting at all. My life looks nothing like I expected it to, even a couple of years ago, and that's a good thing."
She said that people shouldn't be afraid of change and things not going exactly according to plan.
"Don't worry," she said. "You'll get to where you're meant to be."
Secondly, Haley stressed how important it is never to give up.
"It's not easy and it might seem as if you'll never get anywhere, but one day you'll look back and be amazed at how far you've come," she said. "And I think that goes for every aspect of our lives. When times get tough, don't let yourself give up."
Haley has been hard at work doing a lot of writing in the previous months and hopes to have a new album out sometime in the future.
She's also planning to play more shows, and she has a few covers planned with her brothers and some friends!
Interested in Haley Klinkhammer's music? Check out her social pages!
Are you an aspiring musician? Share your talents with us at Sweety High!