She recently sent fans into meltdown by releasing what many believed to be a 'diss album' about her rumoured ex-boyfriend Niall Horan.
And Hailee Steinfeld, 23, has now fuelled the rumours by hinting that a messy breakup was the inspiration behind the album, which is titled Half Written Story.
Speaking to Adelaide Now on Sunday, the pop-star said of her new EP: 'I wanted to be honest with myself about feelings I was having.'
While the brunette never mentioned Niall name, she did describe the 'cathartic process' of writing her album's lyrics - which includes lines such as: 'My brother hates you, my mother hates you / My father and sister, too / Wait, I don’t even have a sister / But if I did, she'd hate you.'
For me, it has been cathartic to write these songs but I remember at one point, way back in my mind, I was saying to myself "Just write the song! No one has to hear it,"' she explained.
'That gave me the freedom to be as vulnerable and honest and truthful as possible,' she added.
When you get an Oscar nomination at 14 years old starring opposite Oscar winner Jeff Bridges in a film from Oscar winners Joel and Ethan Coen your lot is cast as an actor in the eyes of the world. Such was the case for Hailee Steinfeld after her breakout role in 2011's True Grit.
But like many, Steinfeld is blessed with multiple talents. The list of greats who succeeded in both music and film is a stunning one, from Barbara Streisand and Frank Sinatra to more recently Jared Leto and Beyonce. And despite the fact there is a proven track record of talented musicians who have dual talents (Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell were also acclaimed painters) there does sometimes remain a prove it to me attitude from fans when it comes to actors who make music.
Steinfeld proves it without a doubt on her stellar new Half Written Story, the first of a two-part collection out this Friday (the second half of the project comes out later this year). When you hear her intimate, her attitude in the joyous pop, the production and the passion she brings to the first five songs it is clear her love of music is genuine.
To Survive, Emerging Art Spaces Like Paradice Palase Are Selling T-Shirts and Face Coverings When you talk to her about everything from the Weeknd and Billie Eilish to the Eagles and Fleetwood Mac it is even more evident that, to paraphrase Elvis Costello, Steinfeld's aim is true.
On the eve of the release of Half Written Story I spoke at length with Steinfeld about her passion for music, rediscovering vinyl during the pandemic and revealing so much of herself on the new songs.
Steve Baltin: People have gone different directions in releasing music during this time. What was your thought process in releasing the EP now? Hailee Steinfeld: It was a combination of things for sure. These are songs that I am so proud of and have had for a while now. This is a project that, unbeknownst to everyone else, has been pushed quite a bit. And if I could have put this music out the day I wrote it I would have. But obviously there's so much to take into consideration. I was also away working on a TV show [Dickinson] and this was always sort of my time that I carved out for music. I try and do my best in working with my teams and making it so that I can focus on one at a time. So that whether it's music or acting it's getting 110 percent of me. So it is a very strange time to be putting out music. But I also sort of feel music has such a unique ability of connecting people and bringing them happiness. And for me music is such a release. And any time a favorite artist of mine drops new music it's like there can never be a wrong time for that.
Baltin: What have been the songs or albums you have turned to during this time? Steinfeld: I've had the Weeknd's new album, After Hours, on repeat. I love his music. I love the production on the record. I think that he is amazing. But I've also been doing a lot of deep dives into old albums that I grew up listening to, which are a lot of the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, a bunch of Pink Floyd this morning. And I have all these vinyl's. I've actually been putting together a little home studio and so I've been wanting to hang my vinyl's up on the wall. I pulled out a bunch I totally forgot that I even had. This has been so amazing to actually sit and listen to an entire album from start to finish without any distractions. I can't tell you the last time I did that. I of course will download albums when I'm on planes and traveling. But I'm either falling asleep, someone is interrupting or you're distracted. But to be able to just sit and listen to these records from start to finish has been really cool.
Baltin: New music takes on a different life live. Thinking about playing these songs what tracks are you most excited to see how audiences respond to them? Steinfeld: I haven't performed new music in a very long time. So the idea of performing these songs live is truly exciting to me and I do hope that's something that can happen soon. But you're right, it comes to life. I went on tour with Charlie Puth and I played a song I wrote that I never released. It was a song that I really loved and it was a new song. And for me it was just so exciting, this was kind of a little treat for me. And I realized by the second show there were fans singing it in the audience. And it's because fans who saw it the first time of course posted about it. And it was so incredible to just see it had reached so many more people than I ever thought it would within 48 hours having never been released. And that was live. So the idea of performing these records, that's when you get to see how it resonates with other people and how they connect with it. I'm excited about the idea of performing all of them live.
Baltin: It feels very much like a break-up record and when you put yourself out there like that I do think people connect with it more deeply. Are you finding that? Steinfeld: I greatly appreciate you saying that. Obviously an album is, for me, the ultimate goal. And with this being my first body of work since my very first body of work four years ago, even though it's a small collection, these five records, I really do feel like it was an accomplishment to come up with a small collection of songs that represent multiple, if not all, of the emotions that you feel when you're going through a breakup. Or at least for me. It's like one day you wake up and you're angry and pissed off. That's one of the records. The next day you wake up and you're confused, frustrated and lost. And then the next day you're empowered and confident and getting yourself back and it's an amazing feeling. That all happens in waves, it's not even stages. I was going in and out of feeling all of those things. So I really do feel proud of the fact I was able to come up with these records on one small project. And it's not all of it. There's more to come.
The singer-songwriter and actress joined Scott Tweedie for HappE! Hour on Thursday evening, and the two delved deep into the creative process behind Half Written Story, the first of what will be a two-part album.
While penning the album, Hailee said she prioritized transparency for the sake of her own sense of self.
"It took a lot for me to sort of regain that; regain my sense of self after what I'd gone through what I'd been through. And writing was such a huge form of release and it was just a way through it for me," she explained. "So yeah, I don't know, when it came to releasing these records, I just felt like I had accomplished what I set out to do in being really honest with myself and speaking my truth. And that's something I think everyone is entitled to do."
In doing this, Hailee found herself particularly inspired by Annie Lennox's 1995 hit "No More I Love You's"—so much so, in fact, that she sampled the track in one of her own songs, "I Love You's."
"I, in some form or another, said to myself, no more 'I love you's until I'm okay," she told Scott. "Because I think I just hit this point of realization that the only thing that was going to make me feel okay again was time on my own without the distractions of another relationship."
Hailee added that having Annie Lennox as part of her album is "really an honor."
Another famous song that Hailee sampled on Half Written Story? Nat Cole's "L-O-V-E."
"I was looking for a word I could make an acronym and somehow, I didn't get much further then love. I thought, what if we made love stand for everything love is not?" she said. "I guess I just started humming that melody...the lyrics that we had sort of come up within that melody and it just worked so seamlessly."
Thus, "End This L.O.V.E." was born. It's the third track on the album, which wraps up with "Wrong Direction." It's this tune, according to Hailee, that "really sort of grounds the project."
"...it's not just one emotion that we feel when we go through any form of heartbreak or loss, and these songs represent everything from being super lonely and alone and isolated and introverted to a little bit more confident and empowered to angry and pissed off and frustrated," Hailee expressed. "I think 'Wrong Direction' sort of wraps it all up."
The second part of Half Written Story will be released later this year, but Hailee didn't want to reveal much. She did, however, admit that collaborations are "TBD" and that she's been working with a range of writers and producers that she thinks her fans will be excited to see.
"But as far as features and whatnot, I guess you're going to have to wait and find out!" Hailee added.
Hailee's fans can also look forward to another season of Dickinson at some point this year. In addition to playing the lead role of Emily Dickinson, Hailee's also an executive producer for the Apple TV show.
"One thing I've learned throughout my whole film and TV career is that—and I've realized this way more having produced the show—is that as a single artist, I truly am nothing without my team and without the people around me," Hailee noted. "Having produced the show, I've seen that on a different level. With music, I think the same goes for music. It takes sometimes a village to make a song...to execute an entire vision and a whole story. I don't know, I just really learned to appreciate that."
Hailee Steinfeld reflects on ‘True Grit’ as the 10-year anniversary of the film approaches. She also talks to ET’s Katie Krause about ‘Dickinson’ season 2.‘
The Relationship Status Of Hailee Steinfeld And Niall Horan
As per the sources, we come to know that Hailee Steinfeld is finally ready to love again. If you forget about the relationship between the two, then I will remember you. They both come in a relationship in 2018. That was a great time for Hailee and Niall. They both enjoyed the company of each other. We had seen them kissing, holding hands, and dancing at backstreet boy’s concerts. But their relationship didn’t air much. The busy schedule of Hailee Steinfeld might be the reason for their breakup. They don’t have time for each other. But they still love each other. Well, now, Hailee is ready for a new relationship. This is all stay tuned with us for more!