MEGAPHONO 2019 Artist Feature: Haley Heynderickx

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By Erica Howes

Indie-folk artist Haley Heynderickx is in Ottawa this week and will play the Bronson Centre on Friday as part of MEGAPHONO 2019. We got to know Haley and asked her a few questions about her latest album, musical influences and life as a touring artist.

Haley is a singer-songwriter from Portland, Oregon and said her faith and Filipino background influence much of her music.

“Growing up in a church where inklings towards mystery and spirituality were mostly fulfilled through the singing tunes together. It was a guttural relationship with the void, with community, with ideas drenched in lovely melodies,” she said.

The Filipino communities also greeted her with enthusiasm and love, but she said it was her mother’s outgoing nature that kicked her out of her shyness.

Haley’s story of getting into music may sound familiar if you come from a musical family. With a mom who blasted Mariah Carey through the ‘90s and a dad who played the Beatles on the way to school, music was a part of her childhood growing up. She picked up the guitar at age 11 and grew to become the artist she is today.

Now with an album and hundreds of shows played in the past year, Haley said one of the challenges is touring and how much time that means away from other things.

“The travels are heavy on the heart, I admit. Body too. You miss your family and loved ones and sitting in a vehicle for six hours doesn’t help too much. It’s funny how touring feels like 90 per cent commuting, 10 per cent music making.”

With performances across Canada and the United States this month, I was curious about how Haley finds the variety of music scenes.

“Each evening is very different but you never know the feeling till you walk into the room!”

With her performance at the Bronson Centre on Friday, she said she’s excited to experience Ottawa’s music scene.

I Need to Start a Garden

Haley tells an emotional story of self discovery balancing exposing and protecting herself on her debut album I Need to Start a Garden with Mama Bird Recording Co. Her voice is calm and soft-spoken yet loud and powerful, taking the listener through the journey of the album with her.

There are beautiful metaphors and images around growing a garden, and Haley weaves many of them into her melodies. She sings about tending “to your garden like heaven / hell” in her song “Jo” with the background of guitar. In “Bug Collector” she lifts the tone, singing about insects intruding in her house but instead of killing them, collects them and sets them free.

The record was released in 2018 and co-produced by Haley and engineered, mixed and co-produced by Zak Kimball at Nomah Studios in Portland, Oregon.

With all this in mind, I asked Haley one last question - what advice would you give your fourteen-year-old self?

She said forget the advice.

“I’d just give her a hug and tell her it’s all going to be ok. Even if I had a wise proverb in my pocket, there’s nothing I could say that could have prepared her for this odd, ever-evolving, media-saturated world. She’d probably ask me why I’ve got these purple rings under my eyes, though.”

You can see Hayley Heynderickx live with Andy Shauf this Friday February 8 at 8 p.m. at the Bronson Centre.