Hayley Cass Brings The Live Energy To Adelaide Fringe

American soul-blues artist, Hayley Cass makes her Adelaide Fringe debut in 2023.
Anna Rose loves hard rock and heavy metal, but particularly enjoys writing about and advocates for Aboriginal artists. She enjoys an ice-cold Diet Coke and is allergic to the word 'fabulous’.

If there was an encyclopedia of every single female soul, funk, blues, or pop artist, singer Hayley Cass would be the book's binding.

Hers is a rich voice that substantiates a plethora of sonic styles, absorbing them in such an effortless way that, really, you only need to look to Hayley's work to meet your music needs in any of those areas.

From the jazz, funk and hip hop-inspired scenes of north-eastern United States and Hayley's native New York, to the southern and country mecca of Nashville, Tennessee, Hayley's debut album, 'Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea', not only fosters the characters of great women in music before her, but is an amalgamation of her time spent living and working across America.

From Nashville, Hayley says she attributes much of her music experience to her parents. "I was raised in a Baptist church – my dad was in the praise band and we were in church every Sunday," she says, "but I also loved hip hop, pop music, rock, I love blues so much.

"I think what I loved the most was just singing the melody, writing a melody, and everything fell to their own places.

"With this album, it's kind of an experiment. The first couple of songs are just, 'You know what? I'm just going to let these go. I don't know if I want people to hear them, but I know I want to be an artist, to sing, to perform, so I want to let the words go because they're so important to me.'

"Lyrics are so powerful to me. So even though I love the musicality, the lyrics are so meaningful in so many ways and I want to share that with the world."

For everything Hayley is trying to accomplish with her music, she doesn't want to point her finger at one genre.

"Every musician says, 'I'm not just this genre, I'm not just that genre,' but that is the hardest thing, because putting music onto something like Spotify, they force you to say, 'What is your genre?'.

"Nashville never pigeonholed me into being a country artist, but it definitely opened up my world to using some of those beautiful influences, say country or blues, to write things that I write today that are from my other experiences and background in hip hop, gospel, and soul."

Such is Hayley's blended background of influence, sound, and encounters, it's quite easy to draw parallels between her sound and that of Australian artists; The Teskey Brothers and Miiesha spring to mind. So, at this year's Adelaide Fringe, Hayley's appearance will provide an opportunity to witness a true universal performer.

"I love to put shows together with other artists, a community of musicians, they're my people. I am going to the Fringe and I am putting together a band out of the sky!

"It's not the worst thing, it's something I love to do. Can you trust your musicians on stage, talk to each other and have this dialogue on stage, because the live musicians also bring a different feel or genre than I will bring.

"A live performance is just so much energy and so fun for me; there's dancing and bouncing around, I bring my piano and everything. So when you meet all these different people, from so many different countries, is such a plus for me."

After her time at Fringe, Hayley says with certainty she'll come away having been inspired by her time and exposure to Australian culture.

"People aren't out to win in the Australian culture – in America sometimes it's [all] ego. In music in Australia, people will help you. The whole Australian culture for music is great, I learn about so much different music, too."

Her continued experiences and movement will, Hayley says, inspire her future material. "There's so much emotion that comes, even with travel, and the different people you're with.

"There's a song I wrote that I'll be debuting at the Adelaide Fringe, an epic, stunning song. I wrote it when I was across the globe away from home.

"It influences me, not just because I do like to have a little bit of that osmosis of where I am the type of music I'm surrounding myself with.

"But at the end of the day when I write, it's just about the emotions I'm feeling at the time – sometimes they happen to have the influence of where I am, and sometimes they have the influence of where I will be."

Hayley Cass plays a number of shows throughout Adelaide Fringe: The Yurt at Migration Museum 18 February (3.30pm), The Warehouse Theatre 18-19 February, The Gov 26 February, 12 & 18 March, and Arkaba Hotel 19 March.

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