RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW LA ARTIST HALEY FISHBERGER
What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
Music was a thing for me ever since I was about four. I found old videos of me singing songs I made up, and they were surprisingly dramatic. I made the solid decision to pursue a career in music when I realized it was the thing I always returned to, no matter what was going on in my life. It has been my rock over the years.
My decision is always validated when I’m playing live. There have been shows, where mid-song, I hear a voice that says “Yep. This. This is it.”
Introduce us to you and your musical history.
I was born in New York, spent my teenage years in Miami, and moved to Los Angeles a year ago. I wrote my first song at about 9 years old, about an unrequited crush. I then fell in love with accompanying myself on the keys and guitar.
After doing many 2am open mics in strange warehouses at the end of high school, I played my first gig: an ‘All you Can Eat Crab Night.’ Imagine singing sentimental ballads while trying to dodge shellfish! The eccentric gigs continued to include performing on top of a truck, in front of a train, and in the rain. I wouldn’t trade these memories for the world. Through the years, my shows grew to include the Faena, Pianos NYC, Sofar Sounds, the Viper Room, and the Hotel Cafe.
When I moved to Miami, I found my zest as an artist and a human being. I made friends who made life juicier and met incredibly unique and wise mentors. I began to form my current genre: Persona Pop, pop with a cinematic spice and a lot of character. It’s also the place I discovered my love for music production. Last year, I put out my first self-produced single, “Seltzer.”
As far as influences go, Brandi Carlile and Sara Bareilles have my heart forever.
The music industry is the hardest industry in the world to progress in, How do you feel you are doing?
It is? I had no idea!
Just kidding! I have learned that it is nearly impossible to find an objective measurement for success in this industry. Comparison is a real jerk, and doesn’t actually accomplish anything. Recently, I’ve been creating my own definition of progress that feels true to me. It involves asking questions like, “Does this sound like the current version of me?” And “Do I actually want to work with this person?”
For me, it also looks like doing things that scare me. If a project, show, collaboration opportunity, or even a simple email feels daunting, that’s a sign to do it. I’ve learned that the things that scare me the most, are the things I care about the most.
Lastly, I have been prioritizing fun. The joy of it all is why I started in the first place, and it’s so easy to lose sight of that. I know I’m doing well in this industry when I protect the main reason I started at all costs.
We set up RGM USA and many other countries in the world to share music with America and the UK, good idea?
Great idea! It’s an incredible thing to help artists have a global reach.
Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories?
I do not, but my guilty pleasure is reading about conspiracy theories for movies and TV shows. I find them quite fascinating.
Let’s share the love, what bands are doing really well in your Town / City?
I’ve had the opportunity to play shows with some phenomenal artists/bands this year. A few of my favs are Soviet Jesus Choir, Hot Mom’s Club, and Nabyl Sohle.
What advice would you give other artists starting out?
Trust yourself. There’s going to be a lot of information thrown at you. Some of it will open your eyes, and some of it will make you feel small. It’s up to you to choose what to listen to.
Make stuff simply because you like the way it sounds, and put it out into the world. Then, do it again.
If you can, go out and meet people in person and live music events. Put networking in the back of your mind, and instead, focus on having real conversations with people you’re drawn to. Those people end up being the best collaborators. It’s quite fun; you never know who you might meet.
As often as possible, do something or see something or listen to something that reminds you of your “why.” Something that reminds you why you started.
Did you buy anything you don’t need during the pandemic?
I bought a lot of flimsy sound absorption foam for recording a project in my bedroom. It served its purpose, but it made my room look like a villain’s lair.
What was the worst experience on stage?
About four years back, I played an original song in a local competition back in Miami. I had a very bad cold, but I usually was able to override it in the past.
Not this time. There was a particularly high riff in the song and my body decided it was the perfect time to cough. Let’s just say that the cough was the opposite of cute.
For some reason, I still won the competition and it’s a mystery to me to this day.
Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about.
I have a stand-up comedian alter ego. I do small shows and open mics to blow off steam. It’s so much fun.
If you had to describe your music to an alien how would you describe it?
Zesty, honest, warm, and bold, with some big notes thrown in to hit you in the heart.
What makes you stand out as an artist?
My name definitely helps me stand out, as well as my lack of filter.
Growing up, I was somewhat shy, but music has always been the place where I say it like it is. Even when I’m telling stories in between songs on stage, there’s something cool that happens that allows me to drop any walls.
I hear you have a new music, what can you tell us about it.
My newest release is “Sweetheart,” out October 21st! It’s a fiery pop/rock anthem that dares to be raw, witty, and blunt.
Talk me through the thought process of the new tune
I wrote this song as a reaction to the countless experiences, personal and universal, of women putting up with objectification on a daily basis. There is no break from it. It shows up in bars, in parks, in early-morning catcalls, at live shows, and more.
Because it’s so common, there is an expectation to simply shrug it off, as if it is a just a fly on your shoulder.
“Sweetheart” does the opposite. It is satisfyingly unleashed and rightfully unhinged, and my hope is that it serves as a release for those listening.
What was the recording process like?
I recorded the instrumental tracks back in Miami with Justin Chervony as the lead engineer and some pretty epic musicians:
Guitars: Dylan Lawrence Monti and Stanton Hudmon
Bass: Reese Ortenberg
Drums: Jack Dratch
Keys/Organ: Ali Murphy and Sean Merlin
I recorded the vocals when I moved to LA, as well as self-producing and mixing the record in my home studio before getting it mastered by Christal Jerez.
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tune?
The biggest obstacle (and later on, gift) was learning how to bypass perfectionism. This song called for unleashed anger, which is supposed to be messy. Like many producers, I have found myself fixating on making the little things as shiny as possible. For this track, I understood that this would not be beneficial. I am grateful to “Sweetheart” for teaching me that production is so much fun when you allow space for some raw imperfection.
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
Honestly, no. That’d be exhausting.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
There’s a rumor going around that I’m also dropping a Sweetheart music video. This rumor is true, so stay on the lookout!