by Kimberly Shires. Photo by Eric Nielsen
Hayley Fahey is a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Rockville, MD. Her next single, “Back to the Ocean” will be released on the first day of summer, June 21st along with a video (Pre-save here). The song will give us a nice summer soundtrack as Hayley takes us through a lyrical journey about finding your true self. We can expect this single to have more of a pop bend than what we have heard from Hayley in the past.
“Back to the Ocean” was co-written with Austin Bello, formerly of the pop/punk band Forever the Sickest Kids. Austin reached out to Hayley to suggest a collaboration. Hayley recalls that the partnership was so natural as they traded late-night ideas over voice memos. “It was like I wrote half a line and he wrote half a line.”
Hayley comes from a musical family. Hayley’s first music teacher was her grandmother, who fronted a band called, “Shirley and Her All Boys Band”. Hayley laughed, “Sometimes that’s what I feel like I am doing, you know ‘Hayley and Her All Boys Band”. Whenever the Fahey tribe met, they grabbed their instruments for an impromptu family jam. When Hayley was just twelve years old, they took their act to the open mic hosted by The Outta the Way Café, just a few miles from their home. Hayley fronted her first band with her dad on the guitar, uncles on the mandolin, and cousin on the trumpet.
Hayley identifies with artists such as Eva Cassidy, Kelly Clarkson and Christina Aguilera, Bonnie Rait, Jason Mraz, Colbie Caillat and Maren Morris. Hayley’s music is a fusion of pop and soul. If Hayley had the chance to sit down over dinner with any of these artists, she would pick Kelly Clarkson. “She’s literally an Idol. She would have so much good advice as a woman navigating the music industry and just being the powerhouse that she is. Plus, she would just be really fun to talk with.”
Hayley constantly writes lyrics in her head as she goes about her day. Hayley’s phone is full of voice memos humming out song parts and hook lines for future development. In addition to writing solo, she enjoys the exchange of ideas and the energy created through good collaboration. Hayley regularly collaborates with her bandmates, John Trupp and Julian Lofton, who alternate playing guitar and bass. Hayley has also collaborated with Michelle Murray out of Washington DC and wrote “Just Believe” off her first album with Jon Sexton from Nashville. Sexton wrote the theme song for Smallville. If Hayley could dream big, she would love to enter into a collaboration with the Zac Brown Band. She loves their vocal harmonies and how they can take any song and give it their own signature sound.
Hayley considers songwriting to be a spiritual experience. It elicits an emotional response where it feels like she has tapped into a “universal energy”. This intrinsic response does not in any way mean that the song is a hit, but it does mean that she has found a meaningful landing point for the message she wants to communicate and provides a signal that the song is worth developing. Hayley added, “Sometimes you just write random words and metaphors down and think, what does that even mean?” Her collaboration with Austin Bello taught her to lean into the stream of consciousness. It is an opportunity to dig into those words to discover their meaning and their story.
Hayley, influenced by folk traditions, shapes the mysterious lyrical imagery from her subconscious into a coherent storyline. Hayley remarked, “I think storytelling is one of the best things you can do in a song.” Hayley shared the magic of this process from a recent collaboration. Her bandmate, Julian, was strumming through a melody and the line “Baby I’ll be waiting for the morning” just fell out of Hayley’s mouth. Hayley admitted that the words meant nothing to her at the time, but the duo dug deeper to find what that lyric might mean. Hayley and Julian decided it was about a person who wants to leave a difficult situation but feels stuck. The only resolution that the person can settle on is to just wait for the morning. Hayley and Julian crafted the storyline around that theme. Hayley’s lyrics come just as much from her personal experience and stories as they do from the stories inspired by her subconscious.
Hayley is a firm supporter of women and girls in music. Last summer, Hayley helped a group of young women write songs, which they performed at the DC Capital Fringe Fest. She has also volunteered coaching and filming for ProjectHERA. ProjectHERA is a non-profit started by Cathy DiToro. It provides workshops and a platform for women entering the local scene through open mics.
Hayley teaches private guitar, piano and voice lessons to kids and volunteers with her former middle school. Hayley attended their rock band program, which changed her life. She came back years later as a volunteer and guest artist. Hayley also gave the kids a special gift when she recorded an original song with them.
Outside of music, Hayley has a passion for animals and creating a sustainable environment. She demonstrates this through volunteer efforts and by living a plant-based life.
Hayley contributes to the local music village through her video production company, DC Music Video. When not performing, Hayley also produces videos for local artists. As a matter of fact, she said if she did not tell stories through song, she would tell stories as a videographer.
Hayley keeps it local when developing her projects. She has tapped into local graphic artists, photographers, videographers and web designers such as Dave Fimbres, Mark Webster, Ari Strauss, Good Foot Media and Sandi Redman to name a few. She is so grateful for everybody she has been able to interact with, especially her bandmates John Trupp and Julian Lofton.
Hayley added that the people in the DMV are hungry for music and have a diverse taste. “There is a very vibrant music scene here with a lot of talented people who are really well connected with folks in Nashville and L.A. A lot of people come to the DC area to make money from cities like Nashville quarterly because there are so many great accessible venues here like the 9:30 Club, City Winery, The Hamilton or Pearl Street Warehouse. I can name so many.”
Hayley frequently performs around the area. Check her out this summer and let Hayley Fahey take you to the ocean too! hayleyfahey.com
Kimberly Shires is a native of the DC Metropolitan area. Kimberly is a freelance writer, music degree holder, road bike warrior, songwriter, corporate ladder climber, and a Subaru driving nature enthusiast.
Recent Articles by Kimberly Shires Eli Lev’s third EP, Deep South, is released December 13th, just in time for the holiday season. You can stream Deep