Hi Haley, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
I’m in LA, currently enjoying the sun and all of the vibrant colored flowers and plants that are beginning to bloom… A perfect environment to sit and answer your awesome questions! Life hasn’t really slowed down much in my world though and for that — I am grateful! I’m continuing to put out new music and getting creative in all kinds of new and exciting ways.
From all the iconic songs out there, why did you choose to cover Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart”?
This song and I have history. At this point in my life, it actually feels like it has a piece of my heart haha… I’ve grown up listening to my Mom bring the house down singing this with her powerful vocals, and my dad shredding guitar right next to her… My parents and their band “Midnight” have always picked the most quintessential yet eclectic songs to perform that define classic rock. Piece of My Heart takes me right back home with them in Chicago. I also chose to perform it live on American Idol when I was on the show, which allowed me to showcase my rock n roll roots. These days, I perform it with my own band on tour and also with rock legends, such as Robby Krieger from The Doors. I can’t escape this song no matter where I go! 😉
This being such a big song, what was the approach you went after this track? How much did you go on balancing the original with your own take?
I wanted to pay homage to Janis and her amazing rendition, so we didn’t stray away from her iconic version. There are of course some different choices stylistically, but the structure is really the same. We actually begin the track with a very lo-fi sound, so compressed — you can almost hear it playing on your am radio station. It quickly evolves into a high-fi sounding recording, which is meant to represent the late 60’s version flashing forward through time, making its way to our generation!
How was the recording and re-writing process?
The recording process was a complete family affair! What may seem unconventional to some, was a must for myself and my co-producer Morgan Dorr! Him and I laid down the bare bones of the track, then my folks recorded background vocals and guitars in Chicago. Then I asked killer musician Dylan Elise to lay down drums. Finally, we landed at Seahorse Sound Studios and let it all hang out. Morgan’s Dad recorded bass and I laid down more vocals, till I was shredded… The Whiskey and honey helped a bit. 😉 What a good time!
What was it like to work with Morgan Dorr and how did that relationship develop?
Morgan Dorr is an absolute dream to work with. He’s such a go with the flow kind of guy and really helped make this all come together the way that it did. It’s always a treat to work with somebody that just gets who you are right off the bat. It feels like we’ve been working together for years already… and I hope we do!
How much did he get to influence the song?
Morgan totally understood how important it was to me that we stay true to Janis’s rendition. He was my co-pilot the whole way through and it wouldn’t have come out like this without him. He’s a wonderful producer and mixer, always on the same page!
I understand your family joined you on this cover – was that always the plan from the very beginning or it just happened?
That was my hope and dream all along, yes! I can’t tell you how gratifying it is to include my parents (the ones who have given me the gift of music) and continue to share it with them as a family. I take any opportunity I have to do so… They also helped me record my third album, ‘What’s That Sound?’ which was made up of a few originals and mainly our favorite 60’s classics. There’s nothing like a family blend and I definitely don’t take ours for granted.
So you went into this song with the idea of recording a professional song or more like an improv session with the fam?
It’s kind of a mixture of a professional recording meets jam session with the fam! Seeing as though we recorded this in four different studios and two different states, I’d say it came out damn good! 🙂 One of my favorite moments recording was right at the end of our final session in LA. We all grabbed a bunch of crazy percussive instruments and jammed out as the song built through the last chord… It was spontaneous and a total group effort. I’ll never forget being in the round like that jumping around, getting into a groove, and laughing with each other… That’s what it’s all about!
What would you call the most challenging aspect of recording this song?
Janis’s recording with Big Brother and The Holding Company was so utterly raw, gritty, and old school… One could never truly capture that exact same vibe in a studio. It sounds completely live, like a one take wonder and I’m not here to try and match that or make a “better” version. What I am here to do is carry the rock n roll torch, put my unique spin on it, and hope that my fans fall in love with this and help it live on for generations to come.
Does the new song mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?
I’m always looking three steps ahead into the future… I’m currently working on a new EP and you’re the first to hear about it!!! There is no set release date or title quite yet, but I am in the process of recording it and it‘s going to be super funky and soulful..!
What else is happening next in Haley Reinhart’s world?
Well, I am first and foremost sending love to everyone during these crazy times! My U.S. & European tours have been postponed, but tickets are still available and will all be honored when the dates are rescheduled and confirmed. Check out haleyreinhart.com/tour for more info and follow me on IG at @haleyReinhart
Make sure to check out ‘Piece of My Heart’ along with my latest album, “Lo-Fi Soul.”
I voice a lil’ redheaded boy in the original animated Netflix series called, F Is For Family! If you haven’t seen it, check it out and prepare to laugh. Season four is coming out soon as well!
There is a beautiful documentary I had the pleasure of being a part of and performing on a few songs that were recorded directly to tape and wax vinyl… Stay tuned for “The Impossible Project.”
I’m also going to make my film debut in the new Robert Rodriguez film titled, “We Can Be Heroes,” also coming soon to Netflix! 🙂