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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 20 years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, and B-movies. Part time ninja. Kicked cancer’s ass. My memoir, ChemBro, is out now!
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Hayley Coupon Finds Her Voice & Everyone Wants To Listen
Thursday, February 19, 2015

In a bustling Rockwood Music Hall a diminutive blonde makes her way to the stage. Midway through her first song everyone has stopped talking, and turned their attention to her, enraptured by the voice they’re hearing. This is the power of Hayley Coupon.

With vocals that are reminiscent of Fiona Apple’s, and lyrics that dig deep, like A Fine Frenzy’s, this type of reaction has become a common occurrence when the New York City native performs.

“There’s a really wonderful energy on stage,” Coupon says of her live shows, “I can feel it reflected back at me in the audience. There’s like a tangible spirit in the room. That’s always really exciting for me as a songwriter, and as a performer.”

Although she has the presence of a veteran, Coupon is a relative newcomer when it comes to songwriting. “I’ve always been singing, and it’s always something that gave me probably the most joy of any activity,” she explains, “but in terms of my voice as a songwriter, it wasn’t until just a few years ago that I actually started writing my own material, and pursued performing, and recording, and playing with other musicians in any kind of way, serious, or just for fun. It took a long time for me to find my voice in that respect.”

Her desire to dive into songwriting was sparked in early 2012. “I had just ended a very intense, and toxic, relationship,” she remembers, “and I think that I turned to music in that time as a source of comfort, and as a way to channel my mind somewhere else, as sort of a cathartic release after a breakup, but also kind of as a way to reflect on what the relationship had truly been.”

In addition to the breakup, Coupon had other forces in her life that were pulling her towards songwriting. “I was at a full time job, and I felt really creatively unfulfilled there,” she explains, “and I was looking for ways to have my own side project.”

It just so happened there were a few people looking to help her out with that, as at the same time all of this was going on, she met a group of musicians who took an interest in her voice, and wanted to record her. According to Coupon, “It all just kind of came to a perfect intersection of everything where it seemed to be the right moment, and I started writing.”

At age 26 at the time, Coupon was already a bit older than many artists looking to break into music, and although she says that when she was younger, “I think I definitely had enough material,” she adds, “maybe I just didn’t have the words yet.”

She has the words now, and they’re on full display on her new EP, Do the Right Thing, Like You Said You Would.

According to Coupon, the EP’s title, while assertive, isn’t necessarily a demand on another person.

“What I liked about it, and what I wanted to get across, is that it’s not only a command for somebody else, it’s supposed to be turned inward,” she explains, “it’s me telling myself that, as well.”

“It could obviously be about a relationship, and I’ve definitely thought that in relationships in the past, but I’ve also thought that to myself, so I think there are many interpretations of what it could mean, or who it could be addressed to, and that was purposeful in making that the title.”

The lyrics of Do the Right Thing, Like You Said You Would feature a common theme of disappointment. That said, the EP isn’t completely in a depressing light, as two things that help quell the feeling of disappointment for Coupon, and her songs, are distance and time. The final song on the EP, “Bastille Day,” is evidence of this, as it’s about something that happened in her life a decade ago, and it’s placement on the EP is intentional.

“The last track, I meant for that to be the last track always, because that song is sort of ending on this hopeful note that sometimes separation that leads to independence can actually be the best thing. That sometimes you’re meant to go your own separate ways, and that there’s some kind of beauty in that. So I always meant to close the EP on a hopeful note.”

Coupon’s personal hopes include following her EP with a full length effort, which she plans on recording in the spring, and then hitting the road for a tour. Until then, she’ll be continuing to win over NYC audiences one powerful performance at a time.

Interview originally ran on Arena.com.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 1:00 PM  
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