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Style Profile: Hayes Warner



Musician, Hayes Warner is a talented artist renowned for her empowering songwriting, ambition and determination. As a New York native,  her music encapsulates the city’s vibrant energy and eclectic spirit of the city. Modeliste caught up with this rising star to learn more about the inspiration behind her song, her latest swingle and her upcoming projects. Read on to find out more!


Let’s start at the beginning – can you tell us how you found interest in music – do you come from a musical family?

Hayes:  Ever since I was young, I was obsessed with artists like Avril Lavigne, P!NK, Joan Jett, and Gwen Stefani. I grew up in NYC and would sprint to Irving Plaza or Bowery Ballroom if any of my favorite artists were playing. As a kid, I loved playing piano and that quickly spiraled into songwriting. I’ve always loved being on stage performing – whether it be covering my favorite song at an open mic night or performing a song I wrote (which were terrible back in Middle School). When I reached High School, I started taking songwriting extremely seriously. I began thinking maybe I could do this – it turned into an obsession to the point where I couldn’t see myself doing anything else. I took any opportunity to get into a writing session or work with a producer and was able to really hone in on who I am as an artist.

No one in my instant family is musical, which has been both a blessing and a curse. I’ve really always known I wanted to pursue a musical career, and that was at first really confusing and scary for my family since it was unclear to them that that might look like. But they’re super supportive of me following my dreams and give me great advice about which are their favorite songs, or good feedback post performances. I’m super grateful for them!


We read that you studied musical theater in college – growing up in New York City – were you exposed to the musical theater community and what did you think? Do you have a favorite musical?

Hayes:  I have a HUGE respect for musical theater and how TALENTED musical theater musicians/actors are. The training to be able to be a singer/dancer/actor triple threat and also to build the stamina to perform 8 times a week is so impressive. I was lucky to be exposed to amazing musical theater in New York City – whether it was grabbing $15 same-day box office tickets, seeing friends of mine in productions throughout the city, or getting to watch insanely talented performers train in master classes, growing up in New York gave me access to such amazing talent and also showed me the work ethic of people in musical theater. I have a few favorite musicals… top three are probably Legally Blonde, Dog Fight, and Next to Normal!


While you were in college how did you balance being a student and focusing on your music and songwriting career?

Hayes:  I went into college knowing that I wanted to pursue an artist/songwriting career. Going to school for musical theater specifically gave me access to a network of talented student producers/artists/writers/musicians that I was able to collaborate with. I improved as an artist/writer by working with other students that I met in classes. For me, performing at college was a huge part of helping me form a fanbase of other students who supported my music. College offers so many live performance opportunities with built-in audiences. I performed at every acapella concert, student-improv, or fundraiser I had the chance to, and the first people to support my music were my classmates and friends! Also, the life experiences I had in college definitely shaped a lot of what my song content is about.


We know you are releasing “Airport” soon – tell us more about the track? And the accompanying video? What was the songwriting process for “Airport” like?

Hayes:  I wrote “Airport” after landing at my hometown airport (JFK) for the first time after a long-distance breakup. It hadn’t really hit me until I returned to the place where the relationship started. As soon as I arrived at that airport and realized he wasn’t there to pick me up like he usually would, I felt myself start to grieve in a way I hadn’t allowed until that moment.

I wanted the song to really paint a picture of my journey through the airport –  landing, baggage claim, getting in a cab, deciding to reach out to my ex to let him know I’m home. Because I focused on crafting a lot of descriptive details, I aimed for the music video to reflect the lyrics: we shot the Airport video at JFK and the TWA Hotel (which was an old Airport hangar). The video follows me coming home from the airport and realizing my ex isn’t there to pick me up. The song will be released on March 29th, and the video on April 5th –– it’s one of my favorite songs I’ve released yet.

It was fun to document the process of writing “Airport” on TikTok. I posted videos of myself singing a rough version of the chorus on the piano, recording final vocals, and creating the music video. These videos have now accumulated over 2 million views and helped me to grow a following of over 50k on TikTok. It’s really exciting to feel like there’s an audience that has seen the lifecycle of the song and are excited for it to be released.


Your single “Shut Up” is out now – how does it feel having it out there and how has the response been with your fans?

Hayes:  The day I released SHUT UP I had a huge adrenaline rush. It was exciting to release the song, but it was even more overwhelming and validating seeing the song I was proud of receive love. It was surreal seeing it on my favorite Spotify Editorial Playlists–from New Music Friday, to SALT, to New Pop Picks, and hearing it play on Hitbound Radio on Hits 1 SiriusXM which I grew up listening to. Also, I loved getting to connect with people who responded to the song on TikTok or used it in one of their personal TikTok videos. But my favorite part of releasing SHUT UP is getting to perform it live post-release and hearing people sing along to my lyrics. I can’t wait to release “Airport” and my debut EP!


Growing up did you have a chance to see a lot of concerts? Do you remember the first concert you went to?

Hayes:  I saw my first concert when I was 8 years old: the Black-Eyed Peas were performing in NYC with Ludacris opening for them. I was starstruck and so obsessed with all of the background dancers/the production. It really opened my eyes to my love of performance, and as I got older, I constantly went to shows throughout NYC (Mercury Lounge, Irving Plaza, and Bowery Ballroom) to see performers I loved or friends of mine performing. So crazy – I remember I had tickets to see Dua Lipa perform at Mercury Lounge in 2016! I love seeing artists perform and am always on the hunt to support new artists, so I’ve gotten to see artists I love perform at early stages of their career and watching them grow after that has been so inspiring. I performed at Mercury Lounge for the first time this year and it was really such a full circle moment!


And speaking about concerts do you have any live shows planned for the spring or summer? Can you tell us how you envision your live performance? Will you have a band?

Hayes:  Yes! I love performing live and have a bunch of gigs lined up with my band that I can’t wait for. Tomorrow I’m flying to Austin, Texas with my band to perform at SXSW. I’m also going to be performing at Mercury Lounge on April 26th to kick-off a Northeast Tour that I’ll be announcing dates and more information about soon!


You will open for Lewis Capaldi in the fall in Dubai – will this be your first international show and how are you preparing?

Hayes:  I am such a huge Lewis Capaldi fan, so opening up for him on his tour is definitely one of my 2023 highlights. For me, I feel that I improve with every live show I do – I tweak my setlist and add new songs that I’ve written, I change choreography, I get to interact with different crowd energies – so performing live as much as possible is definitely a big preparation for tour. I am also always rehearsing with my band (who I write a lot of my music with) to make sure the show is in the best shape it can be. I’m about to get my in-ears molded for the first time, which is definitely a live performance landmark moment I’m excited about.

You are going to release an EP this spring – what can you share with us?

Hayes:  I’ve been in the studio so much lately that creating my EP was more of an editing process of which songs I should include. When it came to deciding which songs I should put on my debut EP, I wanted to design it, so the individual songs included each spoke to a different emotion. Like an a-la-carte experience where you can listen if you want to cry in the car, or where you can play something else at a pre-game.  Recently, I’ve really been inspired by artists like UPSAHL and Fletcher – I think they’re both able to make music that speaks to such a huge range of emotions, and that’s something I really want to replicate when I start releasing larger bodies of music (like my debut EP and album). “SHUT UP” and “Airport” are the two singles off of it!

I also love using Tiktok as a tool to tease unreleased music and get real time feedback as I work on my music. TikTok really helps me decide which songs resonate most with my listeners, and I love getting messages/comments from people asking me when I’m releasing specific songs. I want to make sure the TikTok favorites are included on the EP. I’m super proud of the music I’ve been making recently and am so ready to release this EP!


Let’s talk fashion and beauty: 

How would you describe your fashion sense? Is there any person whose style you love and why? 

Hayes:  A big part of my creative inspiration is my style. My best friend from High School (Chloe Harting) and I style all of my outfits together, and we worked hard to interweave my musical style into my outfit and makeup. When it comes to my music, I aim for it to be edgy, sassy, rhythmic, energetic, and emotional. Whether it’s a guitar, bass, or a synth, I want my music to have grit. The same goes for my fashion sense – I love graphic eyeliner that is sharp and focused, but also glitter that references the fun-loving attitude of my music. I also gravitate towards dark clothing with accessories that add a flare of edginess and playfulness, which is also how I would describe my sound.

There are a ton of designers I love – Dion Lee, NENSI DOJAKA, Jean Paul Gaultier is some of my favorites and I spend hours looking at their old runway looks. In terms of people whose style inspires me –– for musicians, definitely 2000s Lady Gaga, Ashnikko, Grimes because I really admire the way they all really push the envelope. I am also a huge fan of UPSAHL and a few fashion influencers like Lauren SoYung and Ruby Lyn.


Do you have a stylist or designer you would like to work with, if so who and why?

Hayes:  I have such a long list of ~dream stylists~ I would love to work with who I think do such an amazing job reflecting artists’ music with their outfits. Chloe & Chenelle Delgadillo are literally wardrobe scientists – they style artists like Rosalia, Olivia Rodrigo, and Willow Smith, who all have different musical and fashion styles, but so flawlessly mirror each of their music in their individual style. Each artist’s look is different, but so in touch with their musical sense, while also pushing the envelope. Some other stylists I’m manifesting getting to work with are Zoe Zhou, John de Peralta, Jac Fleurant, and Tabitha Sanchez.


How does fashion play into your live performance?

Hayes:  I think fashion is as much of a part of the performance as the lighting, the staging, and the choreography. I want my stage outfits to reflect my music, but also be performative, loud, and catch people’s attention. I love sewing and creating my own pieces of clothing or altering clothing I’ve thrifted to make it even more uniquely personal. I also need to wear clothes that I can get down on the floor, jump around, and sweat in!


What is your self-care regime like?  And why do you think it is important to have self-care?

Hayes:  I think it’s so important to have self-care so that I can be my best self. My self-care regime is definitely skin, and haircare related, but what’s most important for me is taking care of my mental health. I am super open about being on antidepressants (yay Prozac <3) and believe in reducing any stigma around taking prescribed medication. Sleep and exercise are really important for me – the moment either of those two things aren’t prioritized, everything goes downhill (I sound terrible in live shows, I get sick almost immediately, and mental health totally worsens).


Any must have beauty products?

Hayes:  I am obsessed with Charlotte Tilbury’s setting powder. It’s my must-have for when I do my stage makeup! I’m usually running around sweating on stage, but that stuff totally keeps my makeup in place. Also, I’m a huge fan of the Makeup By Mario Master Metals Eyeshadow Palette. Those colors POP and they’re so fun to play around with when you want a fun eye makeup look.


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