Hailee Steinfeld Biography
“My parents will tell you there’s never a time when I wasn't singing,” she says.
In realizing how much she enjoyed singing and performing as other forms of expression, Hailee challenged herself as an artist to explore opportunities to grow as an actress and eventually, a singer/songwriter.
At 14 years old, the Coen brothers cast Hailee in her breakout role in True Grit, which earned her an Oscar® nomination for Best Supporting Actress; a Screen Actors Guild nomination for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role”; and a BAFTA nomination in the category of “Best Actress in a Leading Role.” Subsequent major roles followed in Ender’s Game, Romeo and Juliet, Three Days to Kill, and Begin Again, all the while as Hailee continued to privately hone her vocal skills. In 2015, we discovered just how versatile Hailee is when she shared with the world her musical talent in Pitch Perfect 2. It not only set the stage for her to blossom as an artist but established a platform for Hailee to launch her musical career.
“I wanted everything to happen exactly the way it’s happening now. After True Grit, I was looking and waiting for a role in which I could segue into making music. When Pitch Perfect 2 came along, it was the perfect opportunity to begin that transition. Part of the role involved being in the studio, recording, and performing. That’s when I realized, ‘I have to do this!’”
Once Pitch Perfect 2 wrapped production, Hailee was in New York City attending an event when serendipitously she found herself seated next to music industry trailblazer and Republic Records Executive Vice President, Charlie Walk. Hailee casually invited Charlie to hear some songs she recorded. The relationship was solidified instantly.
“I’d never played my music for anybody before,” she admits. “It was crazy! He was listening to it like he was at a concert. I felt like I met someone whose excitement matched my own. The conversation was so exciting. He called us, we met, and we got the deal done.”
In early 2015, Hailee hit the studio with producers Mattman & Robin, Julia Michaels, and Justin Tranter to record her debut single “Love Myself.” The track heralds Hailee’s arrival with a soulfully seductive verse, entrancing production, a danceable bounce, and an unforgettable chorus.
“When I first heard it, I immediately gravitated towards the hook." That’s what caught my attention. Then, there was the overall message. Ultimately, the song is about taking care of and indulging yourself. Sure, it’s nice to have someone provide for you—whether it be emotionally, physically, or with material things—but there is such power in being able to provide all of that for yourself.”
Working alongside these producers, Hailee started to unlock her own songwriting. She constantly penned notes and ideas in her phone that would evolve into song.
“Being in the studio awakened something that was always there,” she continues. “A lot of times, people think I’m obsessively texting when I’m really just writing endless thoughts and anecdotes in my phone. I can’t wait to continue writing about the things that inspire me and everything I go through because life is constantly changing. I love to get that on tape and share it with people.”
Music provides a creative and personal platform for the real Hailee for the very first time. “I’m able to be really honest and candid through these songs,” she affirms. “When I’m doing a movie, it’s a character I’m playing—it’s not me. I feel like everybody will finally get to know me through this music. The experience of opening myself up has been awesome.”
“It’s amazing when people feel a connection to what you’re doing,” she leaves off. “These songs are experiences I or my friends have had, and they’re easy to sing along to. I hope everybody can take them, feel that, and sing out loud with their windows down and mean it.”