Meeting Hallie Newnam: The Multilingual Songstress
Self-taught singer and songwriter Hallie Newnam didn’t always have the path she wanted to go down envisioned crystal-clear. Having written her own poetry since she was 14, writing had always been a creative outlet that she held close.
A fter asking Newnam how she really got into songwriting, she said, “My sophomore year of high school after quitting all sports, I changed my path and started teaching myself guitar, piano, and ukulele. It wasn’t until my junior year that I combined them and began songwriting.” She also credits her friends Logan and Lukas for pushing and encouraging her to start singing.
“Two of my good friends in high school, Logan and Lukas, produced their own music, and I always sat in on their studio sessions. One day they asked me to sing on a track and they really encouraged me to gain the confidence to start recording, producing, and releasing my own music. I wouldn’t be anywhere without them!” she said.
When it comes to genres, the musician doesn’t stick to just one, saying she finds that it can be “restricting as an artist.” At the moment she is still trying to find out the kind of music she enjoys creating the most — bouncing from acoustic folk, to deep house and to anything else that sparks her interest.
After nearly 3 years since releasing her first song Someday, Newnam refers to music as it feeling like her only option. It’s been about 3 years since releasing her first song, and ever since then, it felt like making music was the road she was meant to take in life. “It’s my way of processing and releasing my emotions. It is my safe place—my refuge,” she said. The songstress also mentions that the process became more motivating and exciting as she received feedback, since hearing positive words about how her music touched others drove her to create more improved songs.
While working on her music, Newnam mentions that a huge thing this journey has taught her is the importance of collaboration. “I did a lot of collabs with people I met through SoundCloud and it really helped me get the ball rolling. Bouncing creative ideas off other like-minded artists has always been something I value, and it keeps me accountable when facing deadlines and such,” she said. “Also, I have learned, and am still learning, the beauty of flaws and vulnerability. I am a huge perfectionist in every aspect of my life but creating music has shown me that it is not always going to be perfect or how I originally envisioned the song to be in my head. I have learned that sometimes the best thing to do is to just come as I am.”
“I find inspiration in my everyday life. Sometimes, it may be a pretty big event such as a heartbreak, experiencing a season of change, or overcoming a fear,” Newnam said when asked how she finds inspiration for her music. “On the other hand, it could be something as small as seeing how the sun shines through a window and creates a rainbow on the floor. I also find a lot of inspiration by listening to music in other languages. I have always loved learning languages, and I believe they are an artform in and of itself! My songs, Someday and Wbu have some French lyrics in them and I plan on incorporating other languages into my lyrics in the future.”
Newnam notes that Someday was more on the stripped down, acoustic side of pieces she’s worked on. The single includes mostly just her vocals and guitar, but through more years of learning about production, she says she continued exploring deeper into synth soundscapes and other styles. “In the past 3 years since I started making music, a lot of big events have taken place in my life and I think that has shown in my lyrics.
The songstress especially tries to incorporate those she looks up to into her music, saying she loves the eerie harmonies, synth sounds and emotions lead singer of The Japanese House Amber Bain’s work evokes. Devonte Hayes from Blood Orange, Yaeji, and Beach House are among the other musical inspirations Newnam tries to emulate through her own work. “As for writing, I take a lot of inspiration from the lyrics of Phoebe Bridgers, Angel Olsen, Angèle and Archy Marshall (King Krule). Finally, and most importantly, I am constantly inspired by all my artist friends that I am blessed to be surrounded by. I actually made a playlist on my Spotify that features music by all my really talented friends who deserve the world. You can find it linked on my artist page! I feel like I could go on forever about all my inspirations but those are some of the top of my head.”
As we all know, music has the ability to evoke emotions in us when we listen to it. While asking the songstress if she had a specific feeling in mind she intended for her listeners to feel when hearing her music, she gave an open-ended answer. “My music is meant to evoke whatever the listener wants it to. I guess, whatever it is, I hope it is a strong, intense feeling.”
Newnam hopes that whoever listens to her music feels something from her work. While she doesn’t have a specific target audience in mind, the singer-songwriter wants her songs to evoke emotion in her listeners and leave them feeling some way they might not have prior to hearing her songs. “Listening to music is how I connect to the world and myself, and my biggest dream is that I could do that for someone else. I also am a huge lyrics person – every time one of my favorite artists releases a new song, I read the lyrics as I listen for the first time. I really hope that whoever listens to my music reads the lyrics too!”
Even though she is still unsure if music is something she will continue to do throughout her entire life, it is still a passion she enjoys and cares deeply for. “I am not quite sure if I am going to pursue singing or songwriting as a career yet, but I know that it will be something that I hold close to my heart for the rest of my life,” she said when asked where she saw her music career in the next decade.
“ I am sure in 10 years I will still enjoy singing and jamming out, but who knows if I will still be writing and releasing music. I am minoring in music business, so I am confident that I will still be tied to the music industry whatever my career may be.”
One of her newest singles, goodnight is now out on SoundCloud. “Here’s my most recent song, for now it’s only on SoundCloud, but it will be on all other platforms soon!”