Fusing musical genres always makes for an intriguing proposition, especially when combining radically different concepts like rock and emo with classical music and opera. And that’s exactly what we get from Hail, a Southampton-based, Swindon-born solo artist who offers up a gothic rock sound she describes as “emotional, dramatic and dark.”
Hail is the work of Hayley Phillips, who was trained in classical and musical theatre and performed in some light operas when she was growing up. But, as Hayley tells us, her musical performances always harboured after something a little heavier.
“The music that I had always loved to sing along to was the rock and emo scene,” she said. “A few years ago, I entered the Open Mic UK competition and, although I didn’t win, I was offered the opportunity to record my own songs. I decided to create songs that followed in the footsteps of the music that I loved, which is how I’ve somehow ended up performing rock without a band!”
Our latest taste of her sound is I Can’t Breathe, which was released last week. It starts out with light piano that continues under mellow vocals that gradually build at the end of the verse and burst into a huge chorus that begins “I’m dead inside, My heart feels so hollow, It’s too hard to swallow, I can’t breathe.”
That drops into another light verse, this time with more instrumentals in the background and again builds up to a powerful chorus. This time the chorus extends into powerful vocals and screeching guitars, which feed into delicate high-pitched vocals and light piano. And it goes out with a bang with a final blast of the chorus.
On the track, hayley told us: “I’m so happy with the reception its received and grateful for everyone who has shared the song. If you’ve not heard the song – then if you like piano driven symphonic rock then hopefully you’ll like I Can’t Breathe!” Give it a listen here:
While if you like your rock a little grittier, then Hail’s debut single Got The Faith may be just the track for you. While a personal favourite is A Stain In Time, which opens up with palm-muted guitars and a meandering lick that continue under Hayley’s engaging vocals. The vocals build into a deliciously catchy chorus and impressive high-pitched vocals over stabbing guitars. That drops into a lighter verse, which again gradually builds up to a massive chorus. Check it out here:
Hail’s music has been majorly influenced by the likes of Evanescence and We Are The Fallen, as well as the likes of Paramore, Radiohead and Queens of the Stone Age, which first drew her into the broad rock genre.
And, as Hayley tells us, her musical tastes and upbringing have given her music a diverse feel: “Eclectic is certainly how my music has been described! No two songs that I’ve written so far seem to fit together because my taste in music is so flippant – I just wanted to try a bit of everything! But I’m really enjoying this piano driven gothic vibe and it’s where I plan to stay for a while.”
And on what inspires her to write music, Hayley adds: “I tend to focus my music around my emotions and thoughts. I put those down on paper and then build up a world around them. I admit, I do tend to focus on the more negative feelings which has led to topics like death, guilt and murder…”
Hail’s music combines mellow sections and delicate vocals with powerful in-your-face, belt it out loud anthemic choruses. And there’s more to come as she has another song in the works to record when lockdown comes to an end. Until then, you can also catch her doing livestream gigs.