Lily Halpern

Fear isn’t in the vocabulary of Boston native Lily Halpern; the 18-year old singer/songwriter hasn’t met a risk she hasn’t embraced, and honestly, conquered. Trusting her abilities and those closest to her, Halpern packed up her bags and strolled into a town called New York City – ready to make an impact. That takes guts (especially if you’re from Boston!). Obviously, we weren’t surprised to hear Lily’s bold approach to writing her lyrics – she says “I don't really try and hide things most of my real life relationships are directly written about blatantly in my music. And when those people hear the song they know it's about them.” Telling ya! This girl is a beast!

Honesty is typically the line that separates the great artists from the good ones, and fortunately for us, Lily takes to her music whenever she’s looking for a release. You can sample some of this material on her debut EP, “Not Gonna Cry”, a mix that’s “danceable pop music with a shot of soul”. Halpern continues, “My music is a soundtrack to every teenager’s life. It's the kind of music you'll want to listen to when you're driving around with your friends on the weekend, with the windows down, and the kind of music you'll want to listen to alone in your room to cheer you up, and the kind of music you can listen to while doing homework.” Check it out. Lily is working hard up in NYC, playing live shows as well as releasing the music video for “Wishlist”, so keep your eyes and ears at the ready. There’s much more to get into, so keep reading for all the answers to the XXQ’s. 

XXQs: Lily Halpern

PEV: How would you describe your sound and what do you feel makes you stand out over the others in your genre?

Lily Halpern (LH): I'd describe my music as the soundtrack to every teenagers life. It's the kind of music you'll want to listen to when you're driving around with your friends on the weekend, with the windows down, and the kind of music you'll want to listen to alone in your room to cheer you up, and the kind of music you can listen to while doing homework. It's danceable pop music but there's soul in it. There’s something that I put into my music that will make you want to sit up and seriously listen while you dance along. I stand out over other artists because not only do I write my music, I live it. I didn't grow up with some Hollywood life like most of the girls singing my age right now, I grew up in Boston, went to a regular high school and dealt with all the real and sometimes not so great situations every teenager has to get through.

PEV: Calling Boston, Massachusetts home, what kind of music where you into growing up? Was anyone your main influence?

LH: I was always into Motown music because my mom used to play it for me growing up and that kind of transferred into my love of pop music, I've always been drawn to pop music that has some soul and funkiness to it like the Motown era like Joss Stone. I'm also a huge Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera fan because their voices alone inspire me, Alicia Keys inspires me with her writing, and I love Katy Perry because she's so fun and girly.

PEV: At only 18 you are going headfirst into the music industry. What is like for someone so young to have achieved so much already?

LH: It's exciting. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to believe it’s real, but thankfully I have my parents and my brothers to keep me grounded haha. They still treat me like I'm the goofy awkward one of the family...which I am.

PEV: Do you remember the first time you thought to yourself – “I am really onto something!”?

LH: When I decided to move to New York was my first "holy wow this is real" moment. My manager told me I really should do it, and I knew if she was giving me the advice to pick up my whole life and move that it was going to be worth it.

PEV: What can fans expect from a live Lily Halpern show?

LH: To be out of their seats dancing, and if they don't know the words at the beginning of the show, they'll know them and be singing along by the end. I love getting the crowd into it, and I really feed off their energy.

PEV: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you step on stage?

LH: I'm home.

PEV: You sing about love and relationships – how do your real life relationships portray in your music?

LH: Hahaha I don't really try and hide things most of my real life relationships are directly written about blatantly in my music. And when those people hear the song they know it's about them. One of my next singles is about the girl who kissed the guy I wrote "Worth Fighting For" about while we were still together. It's not the happiest song, but it's another great empowering song, and it's one of those things I needed to write to get it out of my system. I use my music as a release for the things that happen in real life.

PEV: What was the underlining inspiration for your music? Where do get your best ideas for songs?

LH: High school and my high school relationships with friends, boys, teachers who inspired me- I could spend years writing songs about high school.

PEV: Tell us about your debut EP “Not Gonna Cry". What can fans expect from this work?

LH: A preview of all the different sides of me. Theres some fun pop dance music ("Wishlist"), some empowering music ("Not Gonna Cry") and a straight up R&B type ballad that just makes you want to hold the person/whatever you love ("Worth Fighting For").

PEV: Do you ever find yourself getting writer’s block and if so, how do you get over that?

LH: I go through and read my old journals. I've been keeping journals since I was in about 6th grade, and every time I read them I'm transported right back into that moment and I can write about the emotions I was feeling as if I was going through them again.  

PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about Lily Halpern?

LH: I like doing laundry. I find something surprisingly therapeutic about the routine of folding clothes.

PEV: Was there a certain point in your life when you knew that music was going to be a career for you?

LH: I always hoped it would be, but I never really thought it was going to be something I could make a life around until I moved to New York and experienced some of the things the city had to offer me, the people I've gotten to meet, the people I've gotten to work with. It changed my whole perspective on everything. It was a light bulb moment.

PEV: What one word best describes Lily Halpern?

LH: Goofy. I'm so goofy, I wish the word could be "cool" or "sexy" but it's not, that's just not who I am.

PEV: How is life on the road for you in the music world? Best and worst parts?

LH: Best: different venues, new fans every night, meeting incredible people from around the country. Worst: being away from my puppies. (I have two Yorkshire terriers who are the single cutest things you could possibly imagine).

PEV: Is there one area you wish you could travel around and play that you have not yet?

LH: Europe. Oh my gosh, I've never been to Europe and I'm DYING to go.

PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your career? What’s it like when you get to play at your hometown?

LH: My family has always been immensely supportive, I'm so lucky. I've gotten teased by my brothers my whole life for pretty much anything I've ever done, but they've gotten behind me on my music 100%. It means so much to me. My friends have been great too, one of my best friends is studying abroad in France and she keeps telling me, "I'm introducing your music to everyone over here! I'm so proud of you!" They've just all been incredible. Kids from my high school used to make fun of me a lot- and I mean A LOT for what I've been trying to do, but now that I'm actually getting somewhere with it, they've changed their tune.

PEV: What can we find you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?

LH: Sleeping. Any chance I get I sleep. But I also love baking with my friends, I am such a baby, but I'd rather stay in and watch a movie and bake cookies with my friends than go out to a party or something. I love watching sports. I grew up in a big sports family, so I'm a huge Celtics fan, and Patriots and Red Sox fan, which is funny because now I live in the heart of Yankee-nation.

PEV: If you weren’t playing music now what do you think you would be doing as your career?

LH: I can't imagine doing anything else. But if I didn't play music I'd have to work in the music industry somehow. I can't be too far away from music or else I don't know what to do with myself.

PEV: So, what is next for Lily Halpern?

LH: My music video for "Wishlist" my first big budget music video is coming out VERY soon. In the next couple weeks, and I've worked so hard on that and some of my friends are in it, and this great internet-star is in it too. Her name is Megan Parken and she is a fashion and beauty guru on YouTube, but she's also one of the nicest girls ever, and she's a pretty good actress as you'll see from the video. She's lovely, she flew to NYC with her boyfriend from Texas to be in it with me, so you should definitely check her out in the video, she's the adorable blonde one. Hopefully I'll be doing some more touring with other artists this summer but that’s just what I have coming up next. I'm also working on new music that I'm going to perform on tour so hopefully you'll get to hear a new single in the near future after "Wishlist". 

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