Halie Loren: Doing Jazz Her Way From Alaska To Japan
Like many musical entrepreneurs, Halie takes a hands-on approach to every aspect of her career
Halie Loren, a jazz ingénue hailing from the Northwest, began her music career at the age of 10 when she performed at the Sitka Fine Arts Camp in Alaska. Three years later, Halie was writing her own music. Since then, she has worked and collaborated with Grammy-winning songwriters and producers including Jud Friedman and Rick Chudacoff. From the Fine Arts Camp stage in Alaska, she has moved up many levels, and is currently scheduled to perform in Vancouver, BC, Tokyo and Hawaii over the next couple of months.
The recent release of "Stages" marks Loren's fifth album, following "They Oughta Write a Song" which was released in 2008. These latest two albums consist of live performances, covers of classics and Halie's own original compositions. Her first solo album was released in 2006, entitled "Full Circle" on which she performed vocals and self-taught piano. Before launching her solo career, Halie recorded "For the Love" with Matt Treder in 2005 and a holiday album, "Many Times, Many Ways: A Holiday Collection."
Recorded live in 2009, "Stages" features Loren's performances of jazz classics, original songs and others, backed by Matt Treder (piano, background vocals), Mark Schneider (bass), Brian West (drums) and Tim McLaughlin (trumpet). Halie flexes her vocal muscles with timeless tunes like "Summertime" and "The Girl from Ipanema", her own creations such as "Free to Be Loved By Me" and the title track from her previous release "They Oughta Write a Song". The album even includes a surprising and interesting arrangement of U2's "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For".
In the early years of her career, Halie Loren performed at large concerts and festivals including the Oregon Folklife Festival, the Willamette Valley Folk Festival, and the John Denver Tribute Series. She describes these as "the most meaningful and influential experiences" that shaped her career path, giving her confidence in her identity as a performer.
Halie has also been recognized in the industry, receiving Independent Artist Awards for Female Rising Star, Songwriter of the Year, and Alternative Folk Entertainer of the Year for 2000 when she was just 16 years old. Also in 2000, Halie earned first place in the Austin Songwriters' Contest for three of her songs in the Country, Singer/Songwriter, and Jazz categories.
Halie Loren counts artists like Nat King Cole, Etta James and Mose Allison in her list of musical influences. And with "Stages" being so well-received by those in the music industry, Halie is destined to join the ranks of modern female vocalists such as Diana Krall, Sarah McLachlan, Tori Amos, and Norah Jones, all of whom Halie also considers her personal favorites. Her music has been described as "a sea of lush, jazzy warmth" with her vocals being labeled with words like velvet, buttery, and silky smooth.
Like many musical entrepreneurs, Halie takes a hands-on approach to every aspect of her career – from mixing to marketing and even graphic design. On "They Oughta Write a Song", Loren produced and mixed the entire album and co-arranged the songs with pianist Matt Treder. She also engineered a large portion of the album and designed the album cover. Halie says that "it is a lot of work when it's all added up, but definitely something I love to do. I really enjoy the satisfaction of seeing a project through from beginning to end."
Her involvement in her own career has apparently paid off for her. Halie Loren recently signed with JVC/Victor Entertainment in Japan for a distribution and licensing deal. She has also signed on for national distribution with Burnside Distribution in America and a sub-publishing deal with Hotwire Inc. in Japan. Halie says "The fact that ‘They Oughta Write a Song' is now being released on a major label like JVC/Victor just blows my mind."
Even though she works hard on her music career, Halie still takes time to relax and indulge in some of her favorite activities. "I am definitely a huge nature lover, " she says, adding that "camping, hiking, kayaking, biking... anything to get me outside is my favorite thing to do, besides music!" Halie also enjoys traveling, cooking and yoga.
Most of those enjoyable activities are things that can easily integrate into Halie's daily life. She points out that "there certainly isn't a whole lot of time for non-music or business related things, especially not right now, as I am working on yet another album that is slated for release this fall. I enjoy my work much of the time, luckily!"
Not only is Halie lucky that she enjoys her work so much but it makes her fans lucky too. By adhering to what she calls the best advice she's been given in her music career – stay true to yourself as an artist – Halie has followed her creative voice and allowed it to guide her. And that voice has led her on a path to a blooming career as a talented artist with an authentic voice.