Hailey Knox is a 20-year-old singer-songwriter who has been cutting her teeth on the road the past two years since her debut EP release A Little Awkward, touring with Charlie Puth, Ruth B., and AJR, and making her festival debut at Austin City Limits’ 2018 festival. Because of her live shows, Knox has grown into a powerhouse, building her songs onstage with a loop pedal. She just released her ‘Hardwired Mixtape’ and we were so excited to have her on Unheard Gems
Unheard Gems: We are really excited to have you on Unheard Gems today! We love your music on our team so much and you’re all over our playlists.
Hailey Knox: Thank you so much! Excited to be talking about new music I’m releasing!
Unheard Gems: Just for our readers who may be new to you, can you give us a bit of your background in music? (how you started out, any inspirations, etc)
Hailey Knox: I started playing guitar when I was 7 years old and have always been
surrounded by music growing up. I performed upstate NY in local coffee shops, the middle school talent shows, charity events and open mics. I released my first EP “A Little Awkward” over two years ago and then my song “Don’t Got One” in January. I’ve had the honor of touring with incredible artists like Ruth B, AJR, Alexander Jean, New Beat Fund, Charlie Puth, R5, Us the Duo and We are Sheppard. I performed using my loop pedal for most of these tours and am now starting to play with a band which is exciting!
Unheard Gems: How have you seen yourself evolve as an artist since starting out?
Hailey Knox: I feel like my writing has definitely improved since first starting out. I’m becoming more and more confident in my own ideas and collaborating with many other songwriters has helped me learn a bunch. I also have learned to record demos/ ideas on my own and produce a bit. Touring and working with other artists have inspired and taught me so much.
Unheard Gems: You recently released a new song called “Runaway” from your Hardwired Mixtape coming November 16. What is this song about and what was your process like and inspiration for this song?
Hailey Knox: I worked with my super talented friends Greg Hvnsen and Paris Carney on the song Runaway. I remember talking to them about touring and how much traveling you do as a musician. I find myself missing tour when I’m home but when I’m touring I miss home. The song is about wanting to runaway and escape, but it also reminds me to pay attention to where I am right now and to stop wishing I’m doing this or that.
Unheard Gems: I’m really looking forward to the mixtape. What can you tell us about the mixtape and what should we pay attention to?
Hailey Knox: The songs on “Hardwired Mixtape” are lyrics that I connect to the most. There are some songs from three years ago that I’ve been playing on tour the past few years which I’m really excited to finally release. Others are from me creating ideas on GarageBand at 3 in the morning. This one song in particular I started in my room and finished writing with my good friend Maggie Peake called Hardwired. It’s one of the most honest lyrics I think I’ve ever written and we named the mixtape after it. I’m really proud of all of the songs on here and have even produced and written some of them myself which is crazy, nerve wracking, but super exciting.
Unheard Gems: Starting out on YouTube and YouNow how do you think that acted like a stepping stone for you if at all?
Hailey Knox: Live-streaming helped me with improvising and quickly learning songs. I play by ear so when people request a song it’s fun to make up my own version on the spot. YouTube and YouNow have definitely helped me. I’ve made some incredible friends, and musicians that I’ve collaborated with. Some of the covers I’ve played online end up being songs I play on tour too!
Unheard Gems: You’ve had some pretty big moments in the past year or so, performing at Austin City Limits festival, what has been the most surreal or memorable moment in your career that really validated your sense of yourself in the music industry?
Hailey Knox: Austin City Limits was incredible. It was my first time playing a festival!
Sometimes I forget about the things I have accomplished because I’m often thinking about what’s next, but when I look back at all the amazing people I’ve written with, toured with or just been able to meet, I realize how amazing it’s all been. If I had to choose one memorable moment it would be when I walked the red carpet at the iHeartRadio music awards and both my sister and I were just freaking out that Ed Sheeran was less than five feet away from us. Just knowing that I was on the same carpet as some of the artists I look up to was such a cool experience.
Unheard Gems: If you could recommend to us another artist you think deserves more recognition in the music industry who would you recommend and why?
Hailey Knox: There are so many incredible artists. My friend Victoria Canal is unreal. I met her playing at this event in NYC and her voice is so soulful and she plays piano and guitar so beautifully. She is so talented and a wonderful person.
Unheard Gems: Lastly, for all of our readers, where can they find you and your music?
Hailey Knox: You can find my music everywhere! Just look up my name Hailey Knox on iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, Tidal, anywhere you listen to music!
Interview by Hannah Schneider