It can be said that Hayley Marsten was born to perform. A self-professed ‘Show pony’, her ambitions to convey her message were evident from an early age, taking pen to paper at just seven years old. Her affinity for words is something that has remained a big part of what her musical career is based upon and her constant preoccupation with the music has seen the young country singer move from strength to strength.
Hayley began her love of the guitar at age 11 while growing up in the Central QLD town of Gladstone. Her desire to entertain was often felt in the family home with performances put on in place of other entertainment options being immediately obvious to the young starlet. In spite of coming from a ‘non-musical’ family, she recounts that there was always music in the house and that she was ‘ultimately exposed to a library of inspiring classics’.
As a young woman Hayley moved to Brisbane to pursue her university education, briefly considering a career in journalism to expand on her writing skills. Her passion for the lyrical construction of song and poetry however, saw her focus her words as an ever aspiring singer/ songwriter with a body of work that has received numerous occasions of critical acclaim since.
Consistently Hayley has been drawn towards the strong female voice. Her work is an obvious reflection of this with influences like Kacey Musgraves, Brandy Clark, Taylor Swift and Brandi Carlisle. There is a tangible sense of attitude and cheeky demeanour permeating her songs that she also attributes to the likes of Robbie Williams, a performer that she has looked to often for her stage inspiration. Working with the likes of women such as 7 times Golden Guitar winner Lyn Bowtell, Hayley seems to have gained an air of strength and confidence that is eminently present in her writing.
Her recent EP ‘Lonestar’ was recorded with ARIA & Golden Guitar winning producer Matt Fell at Love Hz Studios in Sydney and the reception was immediately impressive. The EP debuted with a top ten position in the ARIA country charts and a number one on the independent records charts. All four of the consequent singles released from the record hit the top 40 on the Australian Country Airplay Charts and were played on CMC. The most recent of which ‘Coming Home’ was a collaboration with Lyn Bowtell and sat comfortably in the top 40 for a number of weeks, also achieving number one status on KIX country FM.
Hayley has continued to work with producer Matt Fell for her most recent, soon to be released new album, which is her first full length album to date. Her debut single from the album ‘Wendy’ is an evolution of her sound as well as drawing on her inspiration of the strong female voices in her life. True to her past work, her songs are written with an honesty and sense of personal reflection. Her signature tone of ultimate determination is still very much there, although she recounts of the writing process for her new work as being a means to expressing her pain at some of her more recent life experiences.
“I went through two break ups and had a lot of loss in other areas of my personal life. It made me want to channel that pain into something special and not let it defeat me. And the losses taught me not to take for granted the life and the time I have”
She recalls of the experience of writing her debut single from the album ‘Wendy’ as being a transformative one.
“I was pretty sad & sorry for myself but then I thought about my mum and how she held our lives together and was so strong after her marriage broke down after 22 years. I decided pull myself together and be a little more like Wendy”
A couple of weeks later Hayley completed the songwriting process with her second collaboration with Lyn Bowtell.
Hayley’s performance record is equally impressive, with live appearances at some of Australia’s most notable events including the Deni Ute Muster, Gympie Muster, Tamworth Country Music Festival, Agnes Blues and Roots Festival, Grassroots Festival, The Village Festival. Hayley has also taken to the stage with artists including Fanny Lumsden, Amber Lawrence, Bennett, Bowtell & Urqhart, Imogen Clark, James Blundell, Clare Bowditch, Deborah Conway, Brad Butcher and Emma Beau. Her experiences of the live stage have been successful ones to date with her first big tour with Arna Georgia ending in three sold out shows and a consistently welcoming crowd across the country. In 2019 Hayley has been selected as one of 24 acts from the Brisbane Region to be a part of the QUBE Effect, which mentors young artists and provides them with the opportunity to take part in major musical events including Splendour in the Grass and Bigsound. Notably, Hayley was the only Country Artist within the 24 to make the selection.
As 2019 starts to unfold for Hayley, it is clear that this young woman has a successful path in music ahead of her. If for no other reason then because she has proved that resilience and determination are two strengths for which she is clearly capable of. Her latest music is a nostalgic reflection on her experiences, but true to her form, Hayley has used them to channel her voice and message to her audience. We wait with keen ears to hear what she has to say next.