By: Ruth Hill
I have been a fan ever since the character Shelly appeared on Cedar Cove towards the end of Season 1. I heard her amazing voice and witnessed her captivating take on the ex-girlfriend of Jack Griffith’s wayward son, Eric, I was intrigued by this beauty who seemed to just exude talent at every turn. I discovered the amiable and multi-talented Hayley Sales and when I saw her featured in Hallmark’s Winterfest film, Love on the Sidelines, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to catch up with her and give her fans a taste of who she really is.
What music/musicians inspired you when you were growing up, and what music/musicians inspires you now?
I grew up in Washington D.C with my dad’s recording studio in the basement. Day and night, I would hear the beats of R&B and jazz surfing up through the floorboards. My parent’s were always listening to everything from Motown to John Lennon, Broadway musicals to Otis Redding. I loved it all – Etta James, Frank Sinatra, Nina Simone, The Supremes, Elvis, Billie Holiday and musicals. To this day, those musicians inspire me. The second I knew that I had to be a singer was the day I fell madly in love with Judy Garland’s voice. I was five years old and I was over at a friend’s the first time I heard one of her songs; I remember it so clearly. My friend had put in a cassette of Judy singing and within seconds, I was literally glued to the speakers. I fell so in love with it that she let me take the tape home. From that second on, I spent every hour of everyday dressing up in crazy costumes and putting on shows for my friends and family…And really anyone who would listen, whether they wanted to or not. I sang all those songs from the 40’s so many times, I’m sure my older brothers wanted to do nothing more than sit me down in a chair with headphones and blast Metallica. As I got older, I started listening to more and more music from the 60’s and also a lot of hip hop and jazz. And reggae. You can’t live without some Jimmy Cliff.
Since you are both a singer and an actress, what is it that inspired you to do both?
I have loved both acting and singing equally since I was a kid. I’ve always loved slipping into other worlds, into other stories. To me, acting and music are both ways of telling and living stories as well as communicating with people in the process, but through totally different mediums. Because of that, they balance each other out! Music is about exposing yourself, as you are, in your own words – telling your story to the world. Acting is about breathing in another person’s shoes and into their story, but through your eyes and your “filter,” shall we say? I love that there is always so much to learn as an actress and a musician. Your education never stops because every person you see on the street has a story worth telling. I feel so grateful to be able to do these two things that I love so passionately.
What other hobbies/interests do you have when not singing/acting?
They’re pretty all consuming because I love them both so much that I never want to stop working. But I also absolutely love to dance. I love to sketch. I love to write short stories and poetry. I love kickboxing. I love to binge watch TV shows. I love reading Hemingway. I love to travel and get lost in cities I don’t know. I feel very strongly about our beautiful earth and like to spend as much time as I can volunteering to prevent climate change.
What has been your most favorite role to date? Your most challenging role?
That’s a tough one! I think that my favorite role to play was also the most challenging role. I played a young woman requiring a serious, life threatening survey in the NBC’s upcoming series Heartbeat. Unfortunately, I can’t talk too much about it since it hasn’t come out!
As a singer, what kind of training (if any) have you had? Have you had any training as an actress?
My main training as a singer was just to sing. To sing along with the greats, with Judy Garland, etc. I’d been in over 100 plays by the time I was sixteen years old and many of them were musicals. There was always a phenomenal vocal coach during rehearsals. I also went to a fine arts middle school and a private arts high school in Portland, Oregon, both of which had amazing teachers who taught me everything from singing to dancing, acting to screenwriting. Recently, I studied with Seth Riggs in LA. He’s brilliant.
For acting, I began training very early on. For about five years as a teen, I took the Meisner Technique from a lovely woman who moved from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Most recently, I studied with Joe Anthony in Los Angeles and Wendy Girard from The Actors Studios. I absolutely love to take classes for acting. It’s like going to the gym for your imagination!
What was your overall experience like in appearing in Hallmark’s film Love on the Sidelines?
I had an absolutely amazing time. It was such a wonderful cast and crew and we all just got along. It was inspiring to work with such talented and fun individuals. My acting coach in Los Angeles, Joe Anthony, always tells actors to “put the spotlight on the person in front of you,” which is really what we do in life. We’re never really thinking of how we are going to say a sentence or how to act. We are trying to figure out what the other person is thinking, feeling, how they are viewing us and trying to get whatever it is we might want from a particular situation – whether it’s just to feel heard or to have fun. So, I took the opportunity with this role to study whatever person I might be talking to in a scene, to try to figure out why they’d say, cast their eyes to the right or move their hand. I loved shooting this movie because I made that my goal every take – to NOT be thinking about myself or about acting. It made the whole process so much more fascinating.
As we know you are a singer and often working on music, when can we expect new music from you? Anything you are working on now?
Yes! We are just finishing up the next record now! I’ve signed with Verve Records (Universal Music Group) worldwide. The new album should be released sometime later in the year. A single should be released early summer. I’m beyond excited. This feels like that record I’ve been working towards my whole life. We’ve been producing it for over three years.
Do you have any other upcoming projects you can tell us about?
Honestly, producing this record has taken every second of my time when not acting!
What was your reaction to the cancellation of “Cedar Cove?”
My character had actually moved away to Oklahoma with my baby and boyfriend mid season anyway. But no, I think everyone was sad to see it stop. I’m sure everyone involved will move on to wonderful new projects however. I do hope some day to work with Andie McDowell again. She was such a sweetheart. Truly caring and very creative.
So be sure to keep an eye out for this incredibly talented lady.
Follow her on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/hayleysales
Follow her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hayleysalesofficial/