When Hailee Steinfeld released her second EP, Half Written Story, in 2020, it was only one part of the story she was meant to tell. Following a more reflective period during the pandemic, the singer, songwriter, and actress began writing a collection of songs entering a new era of her life—more confident and less angsty, all starting with the easy breezier “Coast,” co-written and recorded with Anderson .Paak.
“I had this idea that I should get into this bigger picture project that I have been dreaming of making,” Steinfeld tells American Songwriter. “On ‘Half Written Story,’ I got off my chest what I needed to, which was a range of emotions from being angry and very emotional and frustrated and sad, which I had been feeling for a while. Then, I got into this other world, and ‘Coast’ was the first song that came about.”
Working with Canadian producer Koz, known for his work on Dua Lipa’s 2020 release Future Nostalgia, Steinfeld enters a more lightened scene on “Coast.” Also co-written with Mikky Ekko and Gabe Simon, “Coast” emits more dopamine highs and sunnier (California) days—You’re the wave upon the ocean / Poundin’ rhythm and motion / It’s a full moon kind of night / I don’t wanna go home yet / You can question my devotion / Wear my heart on my shoulder / Just relax and let the riptide pull you close … Parties in LA feel like holidays / Hit the PCH and we on the way.
“It’s one thing to write the music and be in a room with incredible people and feel like you’ve got to put it out into the world to take on a life of its own,” says Steinfeld, of songwriting now. “It’s out of my head and into yours. There’s a whole new life beyond what my original connection to the song is, but after putting those songs out [‘Half Written Story’], I wanted to create this world full of creativity and freedom.”
Holed up during the pandemic, Steinfeld began crafting her new world of songs, including “Coast,” which she initially began working on in her makeshift home studio before rerecording at EastWest Studios in Los Angeles, where The Beach Boys recorded Pet Sounds. Continue reading “Hailee Steinfeld on Writing the ‘Second Half’ of Her Story, and Anderson .Paak Collaboration”
From the first notes of “Coast,” Hailee Steinfeld‘s latest single, we are beachside, beer in hand, with waves crashing distantly ahead, the golden sun slowly inching toward the horizon. It could be Malibu, or it could be any other location that this feeling calls to mind. Though for Steinfeld, who was born and raised in Southern California, it almost certainly is Los Angeles, the song a conduit for the nostalgic, delightfully chill energy of the west coast.
It wasn’t enough for Steinfeld to take “Coast” solo; she brought along fellow SoCal extraordinaire Anderson .Paak to give the song yet another dopamine boost, and Paak, as always, delivers. But “Coast” definitely marks a new era for the singer, songwriter, and A-list actress. After her second EP, Half Written Story, came out in May 2020 — her first release since her 2015 debut — Steinfeld knew it was time to change things up from the EP’s vulnerable, heart-on-her-sleeve approach.
“I didn’t want to live in that space anymore of feeling confused, sad, frustrated and, you know, maybe a little angry,” she tells Consequence. “I wanted to feel good, I did feel good. And I wanted to make music that felt good.”
In between releasing Half Written Story in 2020 and “Coast” back in July, Steinfeld kept busy with her various TV and film projects — perhaps most notably her role in Disney+’s Hawkeye series, where she plays the smart, athletic, and hilarious archer Kate Bishop. But in all the various cinematic worlds that Steinfeld finds herself in, she’s the most eager to explore her own. “Coast” is set to be the lead single for what Steinfeld calls a new “body of work,” a new collection of music that she constructed throughout the pandemic with esteemed producer Koz, known for his work on Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia.
Though “Coast” was initially recorded in Steinfeld’s makeshift studio in her Los Angeles home, she took the song to EastWest Studios to re-record it, and ended up working in the same room that The Beach Boys recorded Pet Sounds in. “I would just sit there and think ‘what the hell was Brian Wilson saying to everybody in this moment, right now? What were they talking about? What were they fighting about?’,” says Steinfeld. The Beach Boys and their California jams certainly loom large in Steinfeld’s new project, and their signature idyllic energy is exactly what she’s looking to recreate.
Consequence recently sat down with Hailee Steinfeld to discuss “Coast,” writing and recording new music during the pandemic, her sonic inspirations, and what this new direction means for her music. Check out the full Q&A below. Continue reading “Hailee Steinfeld on Her Anderson .Paak Collaboration “Coast” and How She’s “Building Out a World” with New Music”