Born just outside of Boston, Massachusetts, Hayley Reardon discovered a passion for writing folk songs on her mother’s old guitar at a very young age. She quickly established a name for herself in the storied Cambridge, Massachusetts folk scene. Reardon was named a Bostonian of the Year by the Boston Globe Magazine in 2012 in celebration of not only her music but her work to use it as a vessel for empowerment. Her latest album, entitled “Good” was entirely fan-funded by a highly successful Kickstarter campaign. Produced by Lorne Entress (Lori McKenna, Catie Curtis, Erin McKeown), the album is a dazzling reflection of a period of immense growth and change.
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Chris Remmers: We’re going to talk about the places you’ve been, your experiences and how that’s molded you into what you’re doing now. So, why don’t you start off telling us a little bit about where you’re from?
Hayley Reardon: I’m from a little town just north of Boston, Massachusetts, called Marblehead. It’s a very quaint, New England town. I consider myself from Boston, but now I go to college in Nashville. I’m super happy that I found my music from up north, because Boston breeds a unique singer-songwriter community. It’s not an industry town. It’s not a place someone goes to “make it”. There are a lot of artists that are in it for the art itself. It’s a great place to grow up a learn about that.
© Mass Matt
CR: Absolutely, it sounds like it. What kind of music inspired you? Being from an area like that you probably heard so many different things.
HR: Yeah, I started writing really young. When I started playing songs for people I couldn’t go to bars. I was having trouble even just finding open mic’s that would let me come play. I’ve always done mellow, singer-songwriter music, and that only really works in a certain space. So, I discovered this church basement, coffee house scene. It was kind of in the folk music circuit. A lot of my favorite artists were people that I would see. There is definitely a great scene for that.
CR: How did you know that music was something that you wanted to pursue?
HR: I was at a Lori McKenna show with my parents. I was about 12 or so. I just loved it. I loved that setting — the singer-songwriter thing. It was a really small, intimate room. Just someone with a guitar.
CR: Yeah, the energy those rooms can generate is really cool. So, where has music brought you in your travels?
HR: It’s brought me a lot of places. I went to Alaska one time for a show. It was so beautiful. I was so struck by how connected to the land the people are. They are just very in touch with nature. I also work in schools doing this whole empowerment program for kids. So, when I was there I did that. It was very cool to hang out with the kids and families there. It was very down-to-earth. I was in Anchorage.
I played 30A Songwriters Festival last winter in Florida’s Panama City Beach area. That was so beautiful. It was a little cute stripe that I’d never been to. I would never have gone to either if I wasn’t a singer-songwriter. That was really fun. It’s always different when you go to play somewhere then when you go just to hang out.
© Ian D. Keating
CR: Have you ever been somewhere where the show’s crowd was in line or even completely different from that city’s overall atmosphere?
HR: I don’t know. I’m kind of looking for what I like and not really comparing it to each city, because those are the places my music thrives. So, my dream venue wouldn’t necessarily be the top place on your list to go and party. That’s where I feel I do my best and that’s where I’m connected. It’s usually in rooms that are really about listening. That’s a tough question.
CR: When you travel are you looking for a beach scene, a city to see the sights or in the mountains?
HR: All of it. I like all of it. I want to go everywhere. There’s nowhere that I’d say no to. I’m down for all of it. I love the outdoors. As long as it’s not going to kill me, I’m not the most active person, I’ll love that stuff. Especially if it’s a new place. I love cities and city life too. There’s not one particular theme that’s on my list. I just want to go wherever I can.
CR: Before you said that you’re dream place to play probably wouldn’t be someone else’s favorite. What would that place be where you were on stage and felt like you made it?
HR: At a certain level it would be cool to play all the big venues that anyone would say, like Madison Square Garden or the dream venues. But, my dream career would be more like a theaters tour, something much more intimate.
CR: If you had the choice to put your finger on a globe today, and tomorrow you would go wherever your finger lands, where would you go?
HR: I really want to go to London. I’ve never been, and I have friends there. There’s so much music there that I love. A lot of it is for the music. A lot of my favorite artists are British – Ben Howard, Laura Marling. There’s just such an appreciation for singer-songwriters there. I just love a lot of the music from over there. That would be my next trip.
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For more on Hayley Reardon visit her website: