This week NBC announced a last minute change that would see Thayer, MO native Halie Wooldridge (styled as HALIE) represent Missouri in the final qualifier episode of the American Song Contest. But who is this new artist you might be wondering? Well thankfully we got a chance to interview her to learn more about her career, her music, and her song “Better Things.” World – meet HALIE below!
Welcome to ESC United HALIE, we’re super excited to have you for an interview! Why don’t you introduce yourself to our readers?
My name is HALIE, I’m from Thayer, MO and now live in Nashville, TN. I sing, write songs, and model!
And you’ll be representing your home state of Missouri in the American Song Contest this Spring. How has life been for you since you were announced as a last-minute participant?
Life has been moving pretty fast, a lot of things had to be done before I flew to LA., but it’s nothing I’m not used to being in the music industry!
Since we have so many international readers, they might not be super familiar with Missouri. What are some facts or characteristics about your state that you think our readers need to know?
Missouri is a very split city. You can enjoy beautiful nature, but then be in the city in multiple places. We have a massive amusement park called Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO. And you can even see the famous Arch in St. Louis!
Now how did you first discover your passion for music and performing? When did it officially transition from a passion and into a career?
I was 8 years old when my parents discovered that I could sing, and then at age 11 I taught myself guitar. Then, at 12 years old I wrote my first song. Immediately after graduating high school, I moved to Nashville. So my career started at just 18 years old!
Wow – that must have been quite the experience and turn around! Speaking of songs, I’m also interested to learn about your songwriting process – how do you normally write a new song? Are there specific topics or themes that you prefer to write about?
Getting a new song idea can stem from hearing a melody in my head, and voice memoing it as quickly as I can, to having a conversation with someone and thinking “hey, that could be a cool song idea!”
And if you were asked to describe your music using only five words, which words would you pick?
Storytelling, emotional, sincere, uplifting, and happy.
Now I was reading up on you and noticed you have a previous tie to NBC though their show “Songland” back in 2020, where Martina McBride selected your song to be recorded. What was that experience like for you as a songwriter?
Having a song cut by Martina Mcbride was a dream come true. I grew up listening to her, so when she chose my song I immediately fell to the ground and cried. The entire reaction is on YouTube if anyone wants to see it! haha But it was an amazing experience and I’ll never forget it for the rest of my life!
What is one thing that our readers would be surprised to learn about you? Like a secret hobby or talent that they couldn’t find on social media or the internet?
I’m a pretty open book, but I think one thing about me that people don’t know is that I can yodel. I’m definitely not a professional, but I do love to sing what I do know in that profession.
Now here’s a bit of a fun question, if you had the opportunity to collaborate with another American Song Contest contestant to record a new single, who would you want to work with and why?
I actually really will be honest with this one, I don’t know that many people because I got thrown into the ringer pretty quickly, but if I had to choose, probably Jewel or Michael Bolton!
Speaking of ASC, you’ll be performing an original song for the contest which I’m sure is a big deal for you as an artist and songwriter. What can you tell us about the song you’re competing with?
The song I’m competing with is called Better Things. It’s a true story about a breakup I experienced recently. In the song I sing about moving on, wondering why my ex is still trying to call me, and me explaining I’m just doing my own thing, and that he doesn’t need to worry about me anymore.
For those who want to connect with you ahead of or after the contest – where can they find you and your music?
Last question – is there any message you’d want to share with the ESCUnited readers?
I just want to say thank you for taking the time out of your day and reading this article to learn about more about me. I appreciate it so much!
Well HALIE, thank you so much for taking some time to speak with us and we wish you the best of luck during the American Song Contest!
Remember #YOU can catch HALIE on the next episode of the American Song Contest April 18th at 8 PM Eastern/7 PM Central. #YOU can also jump into the ASC discussions happening on social media @ESCUnited, on our discord, or on our forum page!