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A Little Awkward
Release date: 6.24.16
Press Releases View All
Hailey Knox Joins AJR on 11-Date US TourRead More
Hailey Knox Joins Us The Duo on 18-Date North American Tour in 2017Read More
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With her 2016 debut A Little Awkward, Hailey Knox introduced the world to her heartfelt soul-pop and disarming songwriting approach: an ultra-genuine vulnerability that made the EP’s title track an anthem for outsiders everywhere. Having spent much of the past two years touring with artists like Charlie Puth, the 19-year-old is prepping the next step of her emotional evolution and self-assured songcraft.
In a departure from the acoustic, stripped-down feel of A Little Awkward, Hailey has made an effort to expand her music to incorporate more diverse layers to create a more groove-heavy and lushly textured sound. “With the first EP, I was still growing,” says Knox in reflecting on the shift in her sonic palette. Mainly by collaborating with songwriter Maggie Peake and writer/producer Andy Seltzer, Knox took greater creative control over her craft to sculpt the intricate melodies of her next batch of songs that will later this year find themselves on her yet-to-be-titled sophomore EP. At the same time, she further explored the nuances of her lithe and soulful voice, which included adding beatboxing to her repertoire.
Knox’s closely detailed lyrics capture the not-so-glamorous experience of shyness. “A lot of my songs touch on being an introvert and having a hard time opening up to people,” she says. From track to track she shares her stories with gutsy honesty but never turns self-serious, as shown in her laid-back references to Sour Patch Kids and Super Mario Bros. And while her songs still wrestle with self-doubt, Knox deepens her perspective with a newfound clarity and sense of constant self-discovery.
On her latest single “Don’t Got One,” Knox brings that clarity to an infectious yet intense meditation on how social media warps our sense of connection. Written with A Little Awkward-era collaborators Peter Zizzo (Avril Lavigne, Jason Mraz), Michael Mangini (Joss Stone, Jillette Johnson), and artist-songwriter Imani Coppola, the song unfolds in urgent beats and stark guitar work as Knox delivers a series of uncomfortable truths (e.g., “Alone is the new crowd,” “Shallow’s the new deep,” “Like is the new love”). “With social media you can make it look like your world is perfect, when in reality you really feel so alone,” she says of the inspiration behind “Don’t Got One.”
With “Traumatized” — an R&B-flavored new track built on breezy rhythms and bright guitar tones — Knox recounts her struggles with anxiety, but ultimately finds relief in owning up to being “a little less cool than advertised” and embracing a certain innocence (“Ain’t ever been to a rave/And what is MDMA?”). Meanwhile, her fierce vocal performance on the anthemic “Siggy Freud” speaks to the undeniable thrill of confronting your fear.
Along with breaking new ground as a songwriter and vocalist, Knox has pushed into new territory as a guitar player since her first EP. “Don’t Got One,” for instance, first took shape from a chord progression that she’d composed, then achieved its beat-driven arrangement thanks partly to production work from Anderson .Paak collaborator Dan Edinberg. Knox has also begun experimenting with production on her own, sketching out tracks on GarageBand and using her loop pedal to conjure up new sounds. “It’s cool to bring in a chord progression or some of my GarageBand ideas and loop pedal ideas into a session, and then expand on that lyrically and add melodies,” she says. “It gave me more confidence to start writing on my own.”
A native of upstate New York, Knox first picked up guitar at age seven and learned to play from her dad (an amateur guitarist who also sparked her interest in singer/songwriters like Ingrid Michaelson). Citing artists like Tori Kelly and Allen Stone among her other influences, Knox began performing with her sister at age 12 and eventually caught the attention of Zizzo and Mangini through the covers they’d posted on YouTube. After receiving a loop pedal as a Christmas gift, Knox started posting solo videos and gradually earned an online following, with artists like Meghan Trainor tweeting their praise for her talents. By the end of 2015, she’d landed a deal with S-Curve Records, and soon set to work on A Little Awkward.
In addition to joining Charlie Puth on his We Don’t Talk Tour in 2016, Knox has recently hit the road with such acts as Us The Duo, Ruth B., and AJR. Taking the stage with her guitar and loop pedal, she turns out intimate performances that continually strengthen her close relationship with her fanbase. “During the meet-and-greets people will tell me, ‘My Enemy’ helped me so much,” says Knox, referring to A Little Awkward’s closing track about dealing with lack of confidence. With her road-tested growth and sharpened musical and songwriting chops, Knox hopes that tracks like “Siggy Freud” take that connection one degree further and offer her fans a moment of empowerment. “That song is about how even though you feel insecure about all these things, you’ve got to not think about it so much,” she says. “It’s telling yourself that it’s going to be okay and it’s not that big a deal — you’ve got to just let it go.”
- Paste Session
- Aquarian Weekly
- CBS Music Minute
- Culture Collide
- The Drum
- Galore Magazine
- Good Day New York
- Hollywood Life
- Idolator (video premiere)
- Idolator (spotlight)
- J-14 (video interview)
- J-14 (video premiere)
- J-14 (Print Feature)
- Justine Magazine
- Metro US
- The New Nine
- The New York Times
- Pancakes and Whiskey
- Pancakes and Whiskey (September 2016)
- People (Ones to Watch)
- People.com (performance)
- Standard Sounds
- Sweety High
- Sweety High
- Teen Vogue
- TODAY Show
- What's Trending
- What's Trending (Facebook Live)