Los Angeles native Hailee Steinfeld took her first acting class at age eight and, only five years later, gave an Academy Award-nominated performance as Mattie Ross in the Coen brothers’ frontier western True Grit. Although she was taking vocal lessons and recording song covers in a studio at the time, as acting became a serious pursuit, her musical beginnings were sidelined in favor of the screen. When the opportunity to combine the two interests arose in the musical comedy Pitch Perfect 2, however, Steinfeld became an a capella singing Barden Bella and began creating her own music.
In November 2015, the now 19-year-old released her debut EP Haiz (Republic Records), taking its title from a fan-given nickname. Her first single, the pop empowerment anthem “Love Myself,” was a telling, bouncy introduction that didn’t shy away from self-love—literal, or otherwise—with Steinfeld confidently singing, “Pictures in my mind on replay / I’m gonna touch the pain away … Gonna love myself, no, I don’t need anybody else.” Last week, Steinfeld released the music video for “Rock Bottom,” the second single off of the EP and featuring DNCE (a band she admits she’s “so obsessed with”). Collaborating with the four-piece was an obvious choice; Steinfeld’s friend Joe Jonas was working on DNCE’s debut EP at the same time Steinfeld was working on hers, and with the same team. As Steinfeld tells it, Jonas cut the second verse on the song and “it felt right.” The result is a catchy tale of a turbulent young relationship, perhaps best encapsulated by the lyric, “We play hard with our plastic guns.” Continue reading “Hailee speak about how music informs her acting, songwriting, and more”