Backstage with American Idol's Haley Reinhart
Thursday, August 9, 2012 at 11:52 AM | Ashley Kolpak
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Joonbug sat down with Haley Reinhart, the first American Idol contender to play the big festival. Smart and soulful, Haley reflects on her career so far.

Ashley: Congratulations being the first American Idol contender to perform at Lollapalooza. How did the set go?

Haley Reinhart: It was amazing. I was more nervous just anticipating how the huge festival is and the fact that I’m a part of it. But when I got up there, the nerves went away, because I really enjoy live performing and I had my band and my whole family up there with me.

Ashley: What does it mean to you to be the first Idol performing at such a huge festival?
Haley: I am so happy to be a leading force in that nature. It kind of just tells me how far I’ve come and the fact that I’m breaking through. I’m breaking a lot of barriers, I’m showing people hopefully, that my music has depth and substance to it. I’ve been working really hard on it and it’s gotten me this far, so I’m really, really thankful.

Ashley: You have such a cool, retro vocal style. How did that develop?
Haley: I do give a lot of thanks to my parents just growing up in a musical household , filled with of classic rock and blues and soul and funk, and pop and more modern as well. I grew up with all that stuff. For me, it’s all been imbedded in my brain. It just came out naturally. I’m not trying to be anything in particular, I just love all kind of music. If I can just try things together and make my own sound, that’s great.

Ashley: What artists inspired you from your hometown of Chicago?
Haley: Doobie Brothers, The Blues Brothers, there’s so much music going on out there. Especially blues and soul. I’ve been all over town. My parents’ band played all over. My parents have been playing for over 40 years together, so I grew up in pubs. It’s really been in my blood.

Ashley: Do you have a favorite Chicago venue?
Haley: I’ve been to plenty of shows myself, all kinds of different venues. I love the theaters, like the Congress Theater. I love the intimate setting.

Ashley: You’ve made the move from the Midwest to L.A. What do you enjoy most about California and what do you miss most about home?
Haley: L.A. is the land of opportunity; it’s been an amazing journey out there. My experience has been so bright and wonderful; I love the weather! But we have wonderful summers out here in Chicago. I miss my friends and family out here like nobody’s business. So as often as I can make it out here, I try to.

Ashley: What was the most helpful advice or criticism you received from the American Idol judges? What really stuck with you in developing your career?
Haley: You know, I think going with my gut and following my intuition was great advice. Being true to self and finding what that niche is. Taking whatever cover you might be doing and making it “you” and putting your own little twist on it, bringing out all the great things you embody.

Ashley: Define the idol experience in a sentence or less.
Haley: Unbelievably huge platform and experience.

Ashley: What’s your advice for someone trying to break in the music industry, coming from a show like American Idol?
Haley: I think American Idol can take you in a lot of different directions, like anything in life. If you truly have your heart set on something…for me, I believe in intuition and faith. I just had a feeling this was going to be the only thing I wanted to do for the rest of my life—do or die, I was going to make this career. I think it’s all about timing, too. Do what you can, work hard for it and be dedicated.

Ashley: Any important updates for the near future?
Haley: I’m really close to some big touring dates. There are a lot of things popping up this fall. Check it out!

For more about Haley Reinhart, be sure to check out her official website.

Tags: Haley Reinhart, american idol, All Access Pass, lollapalooza