Haley Johnsen is a Portland, Oregon-born musician with a knack for genre-bending and a hard-earned career path that is uniquely her own. Raised listening to powerhouse singers such as Brandi Carlile, Annie Lennox, and Bonnie Raitt, her greatest inspirations become apparent in her soaring vocals, introspective lyricism, and cross-pollinated style of indie-pop, and folk rock music. Whether her songs muse on the aches of self-doubt, the joy that can accompany nostalgia, or simply trying to stay afloat in tough times, her bona fide songwriting combined with her performance ability is bound to evoke an emotional response. “I want my music to encourage people to push through their challenges and continue to have hope and believe in themselves and their authenticity,” she says. Haley has the type of showmanship that is electric, earnest, and wholeheartedly endearing. With or without a band, you can be sure to leave her shows with a smile on your face while wiping tears from your eyes.
Not fully diving into her artistry until her early 20’s, Haley got serious about music after an exceptional journey to the top 24 on American idol season 11 in 2012. Upon coming home, Haley wrote around 200 songs in her parents back shed over the span of about three years, with the most memorable songs being added to her debut EP, Through the Blue, which was released in 2015. She followed up with her second EP, When You Lit The Sky, in 2017, along with a handful of singles, national tours, and a lot of cutting her teeth with her hometown band.
Haley had a monumental year in 2019. Only one day into her first European tour, she was asked to join Indie pop artist, Big Wild, to tour the following month as his bassist and backup vocalist, who she currently still tours with. After landing in Germany and finding out the news, having never played bass, she bought one for €100 the next day and learned all her parts in the backseat of a car cruising down the Autobahn between her own shows. Being in Big Wild has led her to experience playing festivals such as Lollapalooza, Coachella, Bonnaroo, and three sold out shows at Red Rocks Ampitheatre. At the end of her European tour, Haley flew to London and was further granted the opportunity to record a live acoustic album entitled London Sessions at the Legendary Abbey Road Studios. Only a few days after her first Big Wild tour, she immediately began touring and opening for power-trio sister-band, Joseph. In May, Haley released her highly anticipated 12-track debut album, Golden Days, where she gained much deserved recognition and ignited the interest of Allen Stone who appeared on the album on her blues driven song “Weekend”. In 2021 and 2022, Haley supported KT Tunstall on a handful of tours around the U.S. She even had the opportunity to jump on stage with her on New Year's Eve 2022 as KT opened for Brandi Carlile at The Moda Center in Portland, OR.
Her latest 2022 full length twelve track album Goner, written and recorded during the peak of the pandemic, is about "this constant push and pull between confidence and self doubt. Fear and trust. This longing to be PRESENT with myself. To be grateful for who and where I am. Not worrying about the past or future, or getting caught up in the desire to constantly WANT as opposed to just BE," confides Johnsen. “Goner cascades over loss and grief and mending one’s soul in nostalgic drips of time, all carried by ’80s-tipped synth-pop and brushes of reflective ballads” (American Songwriter). Her entire catalog of music as well as her showmanship promises to be quirky, dramatic, soft, inspirational, eclectic, and fun.” Kinda like Haley Johnsen.