Hailee Steinfeld Interview: "I'm not playing a part in a movie, this is me."
25 August 2015, 14:08 | Updated: 8 May 2017, 17:09
PopBuzz chat to Hailee Steinfeld about loving yourself, duetting with Norah Jones and stalking people on Instagram...
We'll admit that we get pretty excited about a new popstar, especially when that new popstar's debut single is as good as Hailee Steinfeld's debut single, "Love Myself".
If you frequent PopBuzz often, you'll know that we're not even low-key obsessed with this song. We literally can't stop playing it. In fact, when we first heard it we went in search of any other thing that Hailee might have ever sung on, which now includes a duet with Shawn Mendes, as well as a certain film soundtrack.
Oh, yeah, did we mention that Hailee is also an Oscar nominated actress who has started in films including Pitch Perfect 2 (that's the film soundtrack), Begin Again and True Grit? She even made a cameo in Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood" music video as 'The Trinity'. Essentially, there's loads of reasons why she should be on your radar.
So we jumped on the phone and gave Hailee a ring to chat about loving yourself, duetting with Norah Jones and stalking people on Instagram...
PopBuzz: Hello Hailee. How are you?
Hailee Steinfeld: I'm good thanks. How's it going?
PB: Good thank you. Let's talk about "Love Myself". We've been playing it non-stop, back-to-back.
HS: No way!
PB: Yes way! Are you aware that you have a monster song on your hands?
HS: You know, I feel like I'm becoming more aware of it every day. It's so crazy how people are responding to it. It's really amazing.
PB: How do you, Hailee, love yourself?
HS: I love indulging. Recently I've been home a lot; I've kinda felt like this has been my first real summer in a long time and I've taken more spontaneous trips down to the beach with my friends. I think that's a way of me putting my phone away, putting everything on hold for a moment and going to relax. It's kinda how I treat myself, really. That's the biggest thing, just taking time for myself.
PB: That is very important. Also, you just finished school, right? How has that been?
HS: It's funny, and this has changed so much since I finished school, but I thought that when I graduated I was going to sleep forever and everything was going to be great and all I'd do is watch movies. But it's been quite the contrary, which I've been completely ok with, but I think I slept more when I was in school.
PB: I suppose you can't really go on a gap year or go travelling when you're trying to launch a pop career.
HS: Right, exactly. I've been begging my parents and my brother to, like, somehow do some sort of family vacation and it's been kinda crazy because of the launch of all of this. But it's been incredible and I wouldn't want it any other way.
PB: If you could sum up "Love Myself" in three emojis what would they be?
HS: OH MY GOSH! Probably the dancing lady in the red dress, that's one...Oh man...Shoot, this is hard! I'd probably use the fire emoji and maybe the globe because I think everyone around the world should love themselves [laughs].
PB: Amazing. In the video it looks like you're having lots of fun. Did you feel like a proper popstar shooting it?
HS: It took me a while to get used to the idea that I needed to be singing into the camera. I didn't sleep the night before because I was so excited. I got out there and was like, "this is so not what I'm used to." As an actor, you don't necessarily look into the camera, or you're not meant to. So I couldn't get over one, looking into the camera without feeling awkward, and two, seeing my reflection. But it obviously turned into a massive dance party and I had some of my friends and family on the shoot with me. It really was an amazing first experience for a music video.
PB: This is important Hailee: where can we get a "self-service" body suit or a "love myself" bomber jacket from?
HS: [Laughs] Oh my god that's amazing that you asked! I wish I had an answer for you. But how amazing are they!?
PB: The body suit is everything.
HS: It's so good, right?
PB: Absolutely. The bomber is amazing, too. If you do more merch please do the bomber jacket as we would buy loads.
HS: You know I'm looking at mine right now and I wear it all the time. I will consider that.
PB: Let's talk about the album. Have you finished it?
HS: It's nearly finished.
PB: What's the overal vibe?
HS: I find it hard to describe it myself. I'm describing it how I think it is and it's so not that way [laughs]. It's very positive; I feel like it's sophisticated; and it's interesting because in being part of the process of all of these songs coming together they've really come together organically. It's never been a matter of sitting down and talking about my life and who I'm dating or what I'm doing and then write a song about it. It's always come out in conversation or these experiences that I've had that I've gone in and told to the team that I'm working with, which is Julia Michaels and Justin Tranter, who are the writers, and Mattman & Robin, the producers. It's just been the best time. Something I think that people can really expect off of this record is the fact that a lot of these songs are just based on personal experiences, things that have happened in my life and things that resonate with me. I'm not playing a part in a movie, this is me. It's exciting and nerve wracking at the same time, but I'm really looking forward to people hearing it.
PB: Is it odd going into this being you, Hailee Steinfeld, rather than playing a character like you would in a movie?
HS: It does. I've been acting since I was eight and to some degree I feel like I've made the rounds and I've been here and done that. But this is a whole other side to this world that I didn't know the way around. It's been interesting learning the ropes and diving into it head first.
PB: We loved your duet with Shawn Mendes.
HS: Thank you!
PB: Has anyone like him possibly crept up and featured on a track...?
HS: Possibly...maybe...[Laughs]. I will though that I'm so obsessed with that version of "Stitches" that we did. I've been a fan of Shawn's for a while. There was a lot of back-and-forth as to what we could possibly collaborate on. The way that all came together was so cool. I just saw him play a show in L.A. at the Greek Theatre, and he was so amazing. That's a side note, but I love him.
PB: Right, let's talk about the "Bad Blood" video. When you were shooting the video was it, like, the best girls day ever?
HS: Honestly, it was amazing. In fact, I feel like amazing is really an understatement. It was the best girls day ever. You couldn't believe that you were there with a bunch of your friends and you just happen to be making one of the most incredibly videos that has ever been made [laughs]. It was so much and kinda that thing where you're like, "man, regardless of the outcome this is amazing." Then of course the outcome is WAY more than you expected it to be and you're like, "yeah, that whole thing was fricking awesome!"
PB: I'm hoping that there's going to be a massive recreation of the video at the VMAs with everyone there in costume...
HS: Oh my gosh that's such a good idea!
PB: We should make this happen. It's essential.
HS: We should have a phone call...
PB: Right Hailee, you might be 18 and you don't want to wish your life away but fast foward five years where is it you see your career? Would you be the biggest popstar in the world? Would you be starting a vegas residency? Would you be recording a duet album with Norah Jones?
HS: In five years...Ha - recording a duet album with Norah Jones? [Laughs]. Out of the options that might be the one. But I don't know. Right now it's so crazy to see how much is happening and I'm learning so much everyday about how all of this works. Really, the only thing that matters at the end of the day is that feeling that I get when I make music. I never want that to go away, so I guess I don't ever want to stop making music. As long as I continue doing that and I love it I don't know where it'll take me.
PB: You're also quite active on social media, especially Instagram. How important is that outlet to you as a modern popstar?
HS: Let me say, just as a side note, that a couple of months ago I released the title of the song. Fans knew that I was recording music, they didn't know anything about what it sounded, they just knew that the title of the first single was going to be "Love Myself". I tweeted that and people took the title of the song and started making fan edits for the single cover, and they started making videos saying why they loved themselves and what they do to love themselves. All of this stuff stemmed from me tweeting the title of the song. Going from that to being able to give them the song and seeing how many people over social media have reacted to it has been so amazing that the least I can do is thank them. Having the opportunity to do that over social media has been amazing so I really do enjoy being active on it and staying in touch with the fans.
PB: Do you ever stalk fans on social media and go back a year in their timelines and accidentally like a photo?
HS: [Laughs] As clumsy as I am I have yet to do that! I do find that I fall down the rabbit hole of stalking my fans. It can be very entertaining.
PB: Oh I bet. I imagine some of the things you see are out of control.
HS: It's been, erm, interesting to say the least [laughs].
PB: Obviously the single has just come out but what is next?
HS: In terms of me?
HS: I'm leaving here at the end of October to film a movie for a couple of weeks. Really it's hard to answer this question in terms of music, timeframes and when more is coming. But it's all happening and it's coming very soon. I'm kinda along for the ride with you because I don't really know what's happening.
PB: One day you'll just wake up and there'll be a single out and you'll be like, "Oh, ok."
HS: [Laughs] Yeah, great!
PB: Well, thank you Hailee this has been lovely. Goodbye.
HS: Thank you!