After the global box office success of 'Pitch Perfect 2', it was only natural that Hailee Steinfeld find herself exploring a career in music, after her character Emily Junk revealed to the world that the actress-turned-musician could sing - like really, truly sing.
Coup De Main caught up with Steinfeld recently to talk about the empowering message behind her debut single, 'Love Myself', whilst she was at home cleaning her room...
"The exciting thing about me putting out this music, is that it's not me playing a role. It's me, myself and I, and it's exciting to sort of give people the opportunity to get to know me..."
COUP DE MAIN: In your 'Love Myself' music video, you and your friends have fun dancing alongside your reflections in a mirror, which perfectly compliments the powerful message of your song. Having come from the film world, is it important to you to match visuals to your music?
HAILEE STEINFELD: Oh yeah, absolutely! Music has always been a huge part of my life, but especially as an actress it has always been a part of my preparation, and it's always played a huge part in everything I've done. I think visually, if ever we take a song and we listen to it, we can interpret it how we wish, and the most amazing thing I feel about music is it can take you anywhere and it can bring back memories from a certain time or place that you were in. So visually, I think it's really important to match visuals to the music. And with this, with the 'Love Myself' music video, we talked for a while about what we wanted to do visually. And when we came up with the idea of doing this sort of social experiment, where we placed a mirrored box in a heavily trafficked setting, we were able to see that people from all over, whether they were going to or leaving work or going home or wherever they were headed, they would stop and look at themselves in the mirror with the words 'Love Myself' written across it. And it was just kind of amazing to see the different reactions of how people would interpret that.
CDM: In a digital age where a lot of people measure their self-worth by how many likes an Instagram selfie has received, do you think that self-confidence and vanity can coexist without one becoming fully self-absorbed?
HAILEE: Absolutely! Just for me, this song has been so... it continues to mean more and more to me every single day. And it's been the most amazing reminder I think, because there is sort of that notion of... there's this image that we're fed that we're supposed to be like or supposed to look like to be loved or to love ourselves. And like you said, people basing off how many likes they get on a selfie on Instagram - if you love that photo and you're confident enough to post it, it doesn't matter how many people choose to comment or to like it or to stop and think about it. And that's one thing about this song is, I love it so much and it makes me feel good and empowered and not necessarily self-absorbed, but I do think that there is an amount of self-love and self-confidence that you can have without becoming self-absorbed.
CDM: You’ve said that 'Love Myself' represents the power in providing for yourself, which is a really empowering thing to hear because a lot of pop music is written about needing another human to make you feel whole. Do you think that there’s a social stigma attached to lone wolves? Especially, like how with older woman it’s frowned upon if they’re still single and haven’t "settled down" yet.
HAILEE: In speaking in terms of this song-- somebody told me along the way that - and I had played them other songs that I have, that I am able to share with you guys very soon - there's a matter of people being able to relate to these songs, but there's only a certain amount that can express it. And I have songs on my record that represent the idea of-- and actually, in speaking of 'Love Myself', the message is definitely saying, "I don't need anybody else." It's not necessarily saying I don't want anyone else. It does represent the power in being able to provide for yourself, but then again, it was so funny because there were talks of like similarly with the music video, how can we show that I don't need anybody else? And it kinda came down to everybody collectively saying, it's not a matter of not wanting other people's help or a significant other or anybody to help you do what you need to do, it's just a matter of knowing and being confident enough that you don't necessarily have to have anyone else to provide for yourself.
CDM: Is it important to love one’s own self, before you can even love anyone else?
HAILEE: I think so. I mean, I'm still young and I'm still learning, but I do know that there is… I've realised that more in the last couple of months than I really ever have, how much power there really is in loving yourself. But yeah, I dunno, I'm still… I think learning, the answer to that question.
CDM: 'Love Myself' is a totally empowering anthem for self-sufficiency, but it also ties into ideas around sexuality. How do you think those two themes relate in your music?
HAILEE: Obviously the song is ultimately about taking care of and indulging yourself, and like we said earlier, whether that means emotionally or physically, or with material things. It's nice knowing that you're able to provide for yourself and realising how much power is in that. I think the way that they relate is basically just kind of, it’s empowering, it's empowering to know and there is that underlying subject and it all really ties in.
CDM: Charli XCX also has a song about similar themes on her latest album, and we talked to her recently about the issue of men being able to sexualise the female-form in music and it be normal, but when women talk about their own bodies like that then it’s shameful and scandalous. Now that your single has come out, do you find yourself agreeing or disagreeing with those sentiments?
HAILEE: I don't have any like real opinion towards that subject in general. But I think with this song, I have nothing to be ashamed of and I'm completely proud of this song and I think ultimately it's about taking ownership of your happiness and your sexuality, and I think that's nothing but something to be proud of.
CDM: It’s great to hear you on Hudson Thames’ new song, 'How I Want Ya' - how did that collaboration come about?
HAILEE: That collaboration came about not too long ago. It's so funny, because it happened that I recorded the song and then I actually met Hudson afterwards and we made this crazy connection that we actually have like a very close family friend in common, that we didn't know before we worked on the song together. So it was kinda crazy I met him afterwards, but I love that song and it's so cool that it's out and people are really loving it too.
CDM: For the next few questions, just say the first thing that pops into your mind… If your album were a colour, which colour would it be?
HAILEE: I'd say, hot pink.
CDM: If your album were an animal?
HAILEE: Uhhh shoot. Maybe a... I dunno. I'm looking at a shirt that has a tiger on it, I'm gonna go with a tiger. <laughs>
CDM: If it were a movie?
HAILEE: Oh snap. That's so hard! If my album were a movie, what movie would it be? Shoot. I'm defeating the purpose of a quick-fire round - come back to this one.
CDM: If it were a type of cereal?
HAILEE: Oh my goodness, it would be like fruit-loops.
CDM: If it were a dance-move?
HAILEE: I feel like a new dance-move is gonna be created for it - I hope, anyway.
CDM: Have you finished recording your album yet?
HAILEE: Still working on it.
CDM: Will there be more stripped-back acoustic-type songs, or is the album a non-stop dance party?
HAILEE: There's both - definitely both.
CDM: We’re now going to play a quick game of 'True or False'? So, true or false, your album will be released around Christmas-time this year?
HAILEE: That's what it's looking like. I'm not completely... I can't give you a 100% confirmation on that yet.
CDM: There are a lot of other strong messages in the unheard songs on your album?
HAILEE: Yes! True.
CDM: When you go on tour, you will make The Bellas proud with well-rehearsed dance routines?
HAILEE: Ooohhh, true! <laughs>
CDM: You’ve already jammed with Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz and Shawn Mendes, what other artists would you like to make music with?
HAILEE: I would love to make music with Tove Lo, I'm a huge fan of her. With Lorde, I would love to make music with her. Taylor [Swift], of course. Bruno Mars I'm a huge fan of, I would absolutely die if that happened. That’s to name a few.
CDM: What do you hope for people to take away from listening to your music?
HAILEE: The exciting thing about me putting out this music, is that it's not me playing a role. It's me, myself and I, and it's exciting to sort of give people the opportunity to get to know me. I think I'm most excited for them to get to know me off this record.
CDM: What do you think is the difference between a good song and a great song?
HAILEE: Ooooh, a good song and a great song... I think any song that can make you feel something is an amazing song. Whether it be an acoustic or a pop or a country song, whatever kind of song it is, if it makes you feel something I think that makes it pretty special.
CDM: If H.A.I.L.E.E. were an acronym, what would each letter stand for?
HAILEE: Oh my goodness. Okay, let's do this. H, probably... Hilarious, even though I'm probably the only one who would ever say that about myself. A would be… oh man, help me out. Throw out words for me.
HAILEE: Yeah! Awesome! I would be Incredible. No, I'm kidding, this is awful. Hailee... I need to think about that; that's pretty funny. Ummm H-A-I, what's L? Lovable, I'm so lovable... Oh god, I'm kidding, don't say this. I don't know, this is hard - this is too hard, I can't come up with anything!
CDM: You can have this as homework, and then next time we talk I will expect you to have an answer.
HAILEE: Okay! Please do 'cuz I will have one, I promise.
CDM: We’re now going to play a little game of 'Would You Rather?'... So, would you rather have a lifetime’s supply of free pizza or pancakes?
HAILEE: Ooohhh, pizza!
CDM: Sing a duet with Beyoncé or beat your brother Griffin in a NASCAR race?
HAILEE: Uhhh surprisingly enough, I think a Beyoncé duet would maybe be more realistic.
CDM: Live at Disneyland or be able to make Sophie Turner do anything you want?
HAILEE: Oh my goodness, live at Disneyland or make Sophie do whatever I want? Maybe make Sophie do whatever I want, because I could make her take me to Disneyland all the time.
CDM: Never be able to eat ice-cream again or never be able to type in caps on Twitter again?
HAILEE: OH MY GOSH! If you've seen my Twitter you know how much I tweet in capital letters. That is so hard! Oh no, I might have to go without ice-cream. I'm too enthusiastic to not tweet in capital letters.
CDM: If your characters, Emily Junk ('Pitch Perfect 2'), The Trinity ('Bad Blood'), and Mattie Ross ('True Grit') were all to meet in real-life, do you think they’d be friends?
HAILEE: Hell yeah, I think so! They're all pretty bad-ass and confident and all have their own thing going for them - I think that they'd get along.
CDM: What's left on your bucket-list that you'd really like to achieve?
HAILEE: Oh man, what's left? Things are added everyday. I have a list of people that I'd love to work with, some of who I told you before that are on my bucket-list. I really-- it's on my bucket-list to come to New Zealand, I'm not gonna lie. I've always, always wanted to go there. I guess, perform live. I've never performed live before and that's been on my bucket-list for a while and now that I have music to perform, it kinda takes it to another level, but that's definitely on the bucket-list.
Hailee Steinfeld’s single ‘Love Myself’ is out now - click here to purchase it via iTunes.
Watch the ‘Love Myself’ music video below…