Lost In A ‘Dreamland’ – Exclusive Interview With Halia Jack

by Lucy Lerner

13th September, 2019

London-based singer-songwriter Halia Jack offers a retro twist on a contemporary sound which is sealed with her distinctive vocals. There are elements of jazz, R&B, and neo-soul throughout her new EP ‘Dreamland’ underpinned by a funky groove.

‘Dreamland’ is as welcome as a fresh breeze on a warm day. Jack captures the feel of a modern woman through everyday thoughts and feelings in her lyrics.

The EP launches straight into 80s disco vibes with ‘Waited Long Enough’. ‘Threw It Away’ has a fun pop sound, and ‘Criminal Love’ has warm 80s flecked synths enhanced by Jack’s sugar-coated vocals. ‘Heartbreaker’ is dreamy but with the Halia Jack groove bedded into the sound. ‘You In The Dark’ is offers a slower vibe but is still finger-clickingly danceable and the John Calvert Remix of ‘Waited Long Enough’ rounds off the EP with a track you can sway to as you’ll be tired after all that dancing.

We caught up with this exciting rising artist to find out more about her new release and musical inspirations.

Tell me about your latest single ‘Waited Long Enough’
It’s the second song I wrote for the EP and it’s really just a feel-good summer tune. It’s about getting ready for a night out, and wondering if you’ll finally get together with the guy you fancy. I wrote it in my first session with producer Raph A, who’s got an authentic 80’s sound. The song came together really quickly and I knew straight away it had to be the 1st single!

Your new single has retro influences, was this your intention and what inspired you?
Yeah, definitely! I wanted to write a pop song with elements of the ’80s, soul, and disco. I’m really into throw-backs and I was listening to loads of Michael Jackson and Nile Rodgers’ stuff at the time – they were my main inspirations for the sound.

Can you tell me about your EP ‘Dreamland’?
Each song is based around a feeling, reflecting on my own dating experiences. In the writing process, I tried to be straight-up with what I wanted to say, but at the same time, you can dance to the whole EP and just have fun with it. I got to collaborate with some awesome producers who each brought their own sound to the record – it’s all very retro.

What are some of your favourite tracks from the EP and why?
I like all the tracks but I love the second single ‘Threw it Away’. I just think it’s funny and has attitude. I’m pretty much telling an ex to piss off.

I love ‘Heartbreaker’ too, it’s the last song I wrote in for the EP and the most emotional. All of the lyrics are what I was feeling at that moment and laying down the vocals was a huge release for me. I got to work with Blue Lab Beats for the first time, they’re amazing musicians!

What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I can’t swim. I still jump in the sea though, as long as I have a life-jacket.

The up-and-coming artist you love the most is…?
Jennifer Kamikazi

What top 5 tracks have been on your playlist this summer?
Truth Hurts – Lizzo  
Borderline – Tame Impala
All Day and Night – Jax Jones  
Never Loved – Bellah 
To the Brim – Jennifer Kamikazi

What moment are you most proud of?
Probably finishing the EP because it took so long and I rarely finish things.

If you weren’t in music what would you be doing?
Probably trying to make it as an actor. Or working for a charity.

What do you think about the British R&B / Neo-Soul landscape at the moment and where do you think you fit in? 
Both scenes are so strong at the moment – lots of UK talent out there, but I wouldn’t put my music in either of those categories. All of my songs start out as pop in terms of melody and form, and that means I can be flexible with harmony and sounds that I explore, but for this record, I was influenced by earlier forms of R&B, soul, funk, disco. If I have to put it under a category I go for alternative pop! I guess my voice is pretty unusual so I can see why listeners would put me under those two genres – it doesn’t bother me too much…

Who would play you in a movie and why?
Amandla Stenberg. She’s a great actress and I like her hair.

Guilty pleasures
My whole music taste is just guilty pleasures haha. My big sister got me into lots of 90’s dance tunes. ‘Ride on Time’ by Blackbox is a tune.

‘Dreamland’ is out now.

Previous post

Be the first and never miss an update!