Hailee Steinfeld Talks Sampling Annie Lennox & Nat Cole on New Album, Dickinson Season 2 & More!

By Allison Crist May 22, 2020 5:57 PMTags
Watch: Hailee Steinfeld Speaks Her Truth With "Half Written Story" Album

Hailee Steinfeld just released new music, and there's much more to come.

The singer-songwriter and actress joined Scott Tweedie for HappE! Hour on Thursday evening, and the two delved deep into the creative process behind Half Written Story, the first of what will be a two-part album.

While penning the album, Hailee said she prioritized transparency for the sake of her own sense of self.  

"It took a lot for me to sort of regain that; regain my sense of self after what I'd gone through what I'd been through. And writing was such a huge form of release and it was just a way through it for me," she explained. "So yeah, I don't know, when it came to releasing these records, I just felt like I had accomplished what I set out to do in being really honest with myself and speaking my truth. And that's something I think everyone is entitled to do."

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In doing this, Hailee found herself particularly inspired by Annie Lennox's 1995 hit "No More I Love You's"—so much so, in fact, that she sampled the track in one of her own songs, "I Love You's."

"I, in some form or another, said to myself, no more 'I love you's until I'm okay," she told Scott. "Because I think I just hit this point of realization that the only thing that was going to make me feel okay again was time on my own without the distractions of another relationship."

Hailee added that having Annie Lennox as part of her album is "really an honor."

Another famous song that Hailee sampled on Half Written Story? Nat Cole's "L-O-V-E."

Watch: Hailee Steinfeld Answers Fans' Burning Questions

"I was looking for a word I could make an acronym and somehow, I didn't get much further then love. I thought, what if we made love stand for everything love is not?" she said. "I guess I just started humming that melody...the lyrics that we had sort of come up within that melody and it just worked so seamlessly."

Thus, "End This L.O.V.E." was born. It's the third track on the album, which wraps up with "Wrong Direction." It's this tune, according to Hailee, that "really sort of grounds the project."

"...it's not just one emotion that we feel when we go through any form of heartbreak or loss, and these songs represent everything from being super lonely and alone and isolated and introverted to a little bit more confident and empowered to angry and pissed off and frustrated," Hailee expressed. "I think 'Wrong Direction' sort of wraps it all up."

Hailee Steinfeld Answers Fans' Burning Questions

The second part of Half Written Story will be released later this year, but Hailee didn't want to reveal much. She did, however, admit that collaborations are "TBD" and that she's been working with a range of writers and producers that she thinks her fans will be excited to see. 

"But as far as features and whatnot, I guess you're going to have to wait and find out!" Hailee added. 

Hailee's fans can also look forward to another season of Dickinson at some point this year. In addition to playing the lead role of Emily Dickinson, Hailee's also an executive producer for the Apple TV show. 

"One thing I've learned throughout my whole film and TV career is that—and I've realized this way more having produced the show—is that as a single artist, I truly am nothing without my team and without the people around me," Hailee noted. "Having produced the show, I've seen that on a different level. With music, I think the same goes for music. It takes sometimes a village to make a song...to execute an entire vision and a whole story. I don't know, I just really learned to appreciate that."

Hailee Steinfeld Play's E!'s "Half Written Steinfeld Story" Game

Scott then asked Hailee who she's worked with that has been particularly transformative or inspirational for her, and she quickly offered up her answer: her True Grit co-star Jeff Bridges.

"I worked with Jeff Bridges on my first movie and along with just about everyone else I worked with on that movie, I feel like there are so many things that I'll do honestly in my everyday life, but mainly with my work, where I almost remind myself of that experience because I know I'm doing things I picked up from them.

She continued, "It was just amazing to see these people come to work every day and have the most absolute fun, but take it seriously and create the best art that they could, and then go home to their families and do it all over again. I constantly refer back to that experience."

Watch the complete HappE! Hour interview here!