There are many reasons for looking forward to C2C 2024 but one of the main ones that has #TEAMw21 all of a flutter is the chance to see the UK debut of Halle Kearns. Choosing to start your career just as a global pandemic starts was probably not ideal, but those little singles that built up to her debut EP were like little shafts of light in a somewhat gloomy world.
Halle's writing has a definite homespun charm about it, her parents crop up in a couple of songs notably "Big Shoes To Fill" and "I Drink Whiskey" yet at the same time she can be like like a Springsteen ( Bruce not Alana ) the voice of the working man or woman - detailing how she works 9 to 5 as in her debut single "Pick Me Up" and sounding entirely as plausible as The Boss! Halle' has also not been afraid to touch on trickier subjects with a great degree of sensitivity in songs like "Are You Okay?" or "Happy In This Bar", Her sound has also not strayed to far from the acoustic sounding roots of the early singles - there are not layers of studio trickery trying to supplement her talents.
All of this glowing introduction brings us to her latest sings "High School Friends" which although not written by her - Caroline Watkins, Nicole Croteau and Lauren Hungate created this one, however it chimes perfectly with all that we have mentioned above and Halle will no doubt connect with some of the lines in a song about personal aspiration, peoples expectations and looking at what might have been had the decision to follow the dream not been taken yet still having the desire to push on. It all goes to make quite possibly herb est and most complete song yet.
Opening with Halle pulling up outside her old High School, to a backwards guitar intro - musically referencing this trip back in time - the guitar shifts to a more normal sound the moment she turns the engine off!!
"It hasn't changed - even though it's been 10 years"
It should be a glorious homecoming but the outer image being displayed is at odds with an inner turmoil
"I'm sitting here self conscious about the tags still on my dress
and I hope that they can't tell that I've whiskey on my breath!"
The yearbook accolade of "Most likely to succeed - is still hanging over me" - adding additional pressure on this emotional return. The chorus bursts into life and seems to tie in perfectly with Halle opening the doors to a Grand Hall housing all her former school friends.
"I walk in they ask me how I've been - I ain't seen them since God knows when
They've all got husbands all got babies - but I can barely pay my rent
I'm living the dream as far as they know but they[re naive to how this goes
So I'll do what I do best - and put on a damn good show just for tonight
I might lie so I can be that girl again
Cos I was really something to my High School Friends"
The song goes to highlight the sacrifices to be made, for while her friends go to college - Halle has to support her dream by holding down a job as a waitress. There is also that strange human aspect covered in the song that by not succeeding, in some way you are letting other people down - which would be a terrible demon to live with.
"I hate that I ain't everything they thought that I would be
But just give me ten more years - I'll be a somebody"
The song really resonates because it feels so true - every aspiring artist is always just one song away from that breakthrough
Fortunately for Halle, when she does return to her High School it will be with tales of singing her songs in another country to attentive crowds who will no doubt be mouthing her lyrics back to her. Fasten your safety belt Halle - next month is going to be a wild ride in the absolute best of ways.