Haley Reinhart Says Working With Jeff Goldblum on a Song Was ‘Cute, Comical and a Little Sexy’
Since taking third place during the 10th season of American Idol, Haley Reinhart hasn't slowed her roll. She has released three albums, headlined a number of tours and even nabbed a starring role on animated Netflix sitcom F Is for Family.
More recently, she released her fourth studio record, Lo-Fi Soul, in March. Co-producing and penning the tunes for the album, Reinhart put her all into every part of the process. On the album, she doesn't just bring her signature old school vibe but shows many of the other colorful sides to her sound.
"I took songs that I wrote eight years ago and waited for the right time to put [them] on a very special album that made sense," she tells PopCrush. "This was that time to take all the things, songs, pieces of me and make it as true as it gets for me."
Last month, Haley Reinhart sat down with PopCrush to talk about what Lo-Fi Soul means to her, what it was like working with Jeff Goldblum on a song, and how some fans reacted to her surprising Netflix gig.
You were really involved in every step of making Lo-Fi Soul. How does it feel to finally have it out?
It does feel that much more special and rewarding already. It was cool to see it charting for a while. As soon as I was done and got to sit back and take a breather, I got really sick. I think it was the first time I was able to breathe.
Between the old and new songs on the album, what were you trying to convey on Lo-Fi Soul?
I wanted to reveal more to the people, especially newer listeners, who I am and what my personality type really is — all the shades and hues and what that feels and sounds like. I've done many different kinds of records. There were originals and a bunch of the covers. You can get painted in a certain way, and this was my opportunity to take these 13 songs and make them all have such different personalities and really a mesh of genres. And I want people to know it's old school. It's me. It's vintage in many ways, but it's also modern-esque. We're still making it fresh.
What's the most memorable song on the record?
"Deep Water" comes to mind, not necessarily because it was a challenge, but I felt like I was channeling something from my past like in my first album. It's this kind of Motown-inspired [with] hints of R&B that I haven't really touched or tapped into in a while. And it's such a big piece of me. That's just one example of where I wanted to start the record off with that song because it starts off with a really pretty guitar. And I want you to get lost in it. The other theme of this record is total whimsical dreamlike state. You get lost in these songs.
Since you've done a number of covers in the past. Is there a song that you'd like to put your own spin on that you haven't done yet?
I really like '90s songs. I really like switching them around because they do have a lot of elements of other times. I'm a huge Nirvana fan. They've always been one of my favorite bands, next to '60s and '70s stuff.
Any particular song?
Yeah, I've done one. Their take on David Bowie's "The Man Who Sold the World" before with a big New Orleans brass band. That was cool. But I love "Lithium" and "In Bloom." There are so many, and they're so melodic. So it's fun for me to take them and spin them on their head and also keep it gritty.
You worked with Vicetone on an electronic song called "Something Strange," which is not something we'd expect from you. How did that collaboration come about?
I wrote the full melody and lyric at a writing camp, potentially for another pop artist. And I was down to write it and [was] disconnected from it enough to where I didn't need it for me. But the boys at Vicetone really wanted me on it. They wanted me to sing it. And I was like, "Whoa, I've been at this crossroads before where I was asked to this kind of genre." And I've turned it down several times.
So I think it was just about timing and the fact that I did write it. And at least, I connected to it enough where I liked the song. They're great guys. There were so many elements to why I wanted to give it a chance and also branch out a bit. Get new listeners and get new people to try out the old school-ness of my sound.
You also did a version of Nina Simone's "My Baby Just Cares for Me" with Jeff Goldblum. How did that happen and what was it like to work with him?
Literally stuff like this happens so quickly and out of nowhere. His team asked me and said, "We're looking for Haley to come. Would you be interested in singing a song for his record?" And I said, "Yeah!"
I've heard about the nights he does as a residency at the Rockwell. So we went there to practice, and he was so nonchalant. He was so sweet and cool. We just ran through the song once. Then the next night or something crazy we did this one-take live performance. And that's how we recorded the whole album. One show, one take and then it was live with an audience in the room in Capitol Studios dressed up like a speakeasy, like he does at his normal gig.
It was very spontaneous in a way. We definitely had a connection, like a synergy thing happened where it was cute and comical and a little sexy. It was super fun and fresh for me. And I just learned the song in a day. I remember I was doing this show in Punta Cana, and I was like "Yes, I want to do this. Let me learn that. I have to learn it now!" But it's Nina Simone —classic stuff with a beyond classic man. He's the wackiest, coolest dude ever.
One thing some might not know about you is your voice work on F is for Family. What's that been like?
We're on Season 4. I feel so honored alongside these incredible seasoned actors and actresses where basically most of them got awards. Laura Dern and Sam Rockwell and Mo Collins and all these people. I'm just like, "Holy crap. This is crazy." And they're all such great souls. Bill Burr is amazing. They're so supportive of me, and we are of each other.
And it's hilarious! I was performing at the Holiday Bowl in San Diego for New Year's Eve. I was singing the National Anthem before the game, and I hear a couple behind me talking like Anthony, one of the characters from the show. And I said, "Hey that's Anthony." And they're like, "Yeah, yeah. That's our favorite show." And I'm like, "Well, I play Bill." And it was the weirdest thing. They were like, "What?" They missed that I did the National Anthem. They were freaking out. It's cool to kind of run up on people that are just professing their love for the show and don't know I'm part of it. And when they do, that's cool, too!