By Adesuwa Okoyomon
“Growing up I always told people I was going to be a singer. It never felt like an aspiration or a dream I had, just a fact. So I kind of carried on with my life just knowing that, but never really working for it,” says Vancouver singer/songwriter Haley Blais whose first EP, Late Bloomer was inspired by the loss of her dog and the emotions that followed. “The response [the EP] got from listeners and more importantly, myself, made me realize [singing] is what I’m meant to be doing.”
Blais took classical singing lessons for 10 years and her voice is a beautiful magical thing reminiscent of Birdy and Gabrielle Aplin. Her music is “for when something you love is gone, for the painfully average existence, or for when you’re obsessed with pasta.”
Let Yourself Go, Blais’ second EP, is a 5-track treasure that blends pop, folk, and indie rock. “The whole process [of writing and recording] and the amount of support it’s already gotten, really solidified my vision as an artist” says Blais. She started writing the songs last spring but did not plan on recording them. But after Brennan Doyle [Blais’ drummer] added his drums to the tracks and introduced Blais to Trevor Lang [now Blais’ lead guitarist] who “really understood the direction I wanted to go musically” she realized the songs should be put out as an EP. In August 2017, they started work on the EP which Lang produced, recorded, and mixed. “I’ll credit myself for the songwriting, but Trevor and Brennan really gave the songs life,” she says.
The title track “Let Yourself Go” is about “society’s perception of beauty, and how someone who doesn’t confine to those constructs could be seen as unattractive or they’ve let themselves go” Blais explains “The phrase began to take on a new meaning that felt a lot more like a statement of total freedom and I loved that message.” Recording the EP was also Blais’ first time working in a studio backed by a full band, and the experience served as a testament to her musical growth and discovery.
After the release of Let Yourself Go, Blais will be dropping a music video for “Remove Tag,” the second song off the EP. After her album release show, Blais will be heading out on tour across Canada, including a showcase at Canadian Music Week. She hopes to tour as much as possible. “Being on the Internet for so long, I have a lot of sweet, sweet international faces I want to sing to.”
Blais’ music gives life to all the feelings we have and while Late Bloomer found her putting loss and grief into her songs, Let Yourself Go shows her growth as an artist and gives us a glimpse of what’s to come.
Haley Blais’ latest release Let Yourself Go is available now.