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“Hallway” by Vocalist Drew Haley

In her tempting new single “Hallway,” singer Drew Haley isn’t as focused on impressing the audience with poetic virtuosities as she is cutting into the silence with a deadly melodicism that has been anything but common in the last few years. The pop elements in this single become minuscule next to the potent tone of the harmonies that Haley unfurls with profound ease, and if there was any debate as to the credibility of this songwriter before we had the chance to listen to her work in this exciting new single, I think it’s going to be a thing of the past come this January. With her voice and a slinking beat, we find a player ready for the next level in “Hallway.”

Despite the buoyancy of this groove, there’s never a moment where it sounds like Haley is having a hard time clinging to the melodicism in the mix. On the contrary, she sounds like she’s the one leading the charge here, verifying to us with her every movement just how worthy of the spotlight she is. There’s not enough time for us to over-interpret the words she’s singing – the presence of her voice and the backdrop it’s straddling is just too provocative for us to pay attention to anything other than what is happening in the here and now. I like the urgency of her performance and the excitement it can rile up without a lot of pomp on the backend of this mix, and not simply because other songs lack these features.

I don’t know whether or not it’s a studio element or not, but the way that Haley can exploit the atmospheric tone of the hook in this release makes me want to hear what she can do in an extended jam session where there are no rules within which she has to operate. There’s a lot of adrenaline that’s pumping in her veins here, but she’s not being so forward with her attack as to make us feel like the walls are about to come down on us. From where I sit, she’s got the personality of an old-school crooner with the punctuality of someone who knows a thing or two about the contemporary postmodern pop scene, which is quite a find as I see it.

“Hallway” leads us down a mysterious but melodic path toward the warm center of its singer’s greatest gifts, but something in my gut says that we’re not quite seeing everything this player can do in a pinch just yet. She’s restrained just enough in this performance as to leave us guessing what might be coming around the next bend, but she’s also capable of showing us the kind of raw power she can wield without sounding like an artist in love with the concept of her music. All in all, Drew Haley is a supremely confident and vivacious singer/songwriter with a lot on her plate at the moment, but she doesn’t sound like she’s in over her head here at all.

Cleopatra Patel

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