After a busy year chock full of notable performances including a standout performance at Austin City Limits, well-traveled indie pop artist HAPPIE has released her debut solo EP, Heartbreak Season, today November 18th.
From a young age, HAPPIE was encouraged to pursue her musical passions. She started out with piano, grew up leading cover bands, and eventually performed her own music.
During her time with her former duo Eric & Happie, the two were able to play music inspired by their Jewish heritage in places like Auschwitz, Argentina, Russia, and the UN.
Now, as a solo act, HAPPIE has been able to find a rebirth with her stunning debut EP. The spiritually-driven artist blends her sensual sound and indie bedroom pop vibe to share a clear snapshot of her emotions and current state of being. She takes inspiration from artists like Maggie Rogers and John Legend to name a few, and it is evident in her descriptive lyricism and sleek sound.
HAPPIE chatted with us in more detail about her new EP, experiences in Eastern Europe, plans for 2023, and much more.
I see you’ve had quite a busy 2022, including a recent performance at Austin City Limits. What was that experience like, and what other highlights has 2022 brought you?
Performing at Austin City Limits was a huge highlight of 2022. It felt amazing to share my music on that stage with dear friends from the band and team. Other highlights of the year: the process of making the Heartbreak Season EP this past January, performing on an expedition to Antarctica with Daybreaker with many other talented and inspiring creators, and performing around New York this summer with my band.
How has your sound and creative direction evolved from your days in the duo Eric and Happie?
This project has a lot more production than the albums with Eric & Happie. It was a pleasure crafting the sound of the album with Gene Evaro Jr, and Ori Rakib or iRO music. I’m very proud of the Eric & Happie albums, and they prominently featured tight male/female vocal harmonies, and many of the songs were love songs. My new project is more indie-pop rather than indie-folk, and they are mostly about heartbreak and my journey since being a part of that duo.
You’ve got your emotional and delicate debut EP, Heartbreak Season, available now. What inspired the sounds and stories you wanted to tell on this project?
Heartbreak Season EP paints a picture of this chapter and moment of my life. It tells the stories of the single chapter. Romances and flings and what-ifs and what it means to walk boldly through all of the feelings that come up in this chapter with the intent of not settling for anything less than what feels loving, expansive, and aligned. Ive felt this kind of love before– hence the heartbreak songs, and I know that kind of beauty in relationship is possible. Hopefully my next album will be full of love songs– stay tuned, friends.
Was there a song on the EP that was the hardest to write or record for one reason or another?
“Goodbye” was the hardest song on the album to write and record. I hadn’t yet written a song about the relationship that I was in for 6 years, and diving back into those feelings and memories was very emotional. It was a beautiful relationship– and the end of that relationship was one of the hardest things I’ve experienced.
There was and is so much love, so setting those feelings to lyrics and melody stirred up a lot. Coleen Dieker, a dear friend and the violin player on that track, played on our previous albums of love songs, so having her on the track was especially meaningful and emotional. We both broke down after she played her part in the studio. That is what the art is about though– its about feeling and expressing what is real and raw.
The music video, “All I Needed” and the EP artwork feature a lot of the color red. Is there a reason for the color scheme that matches the overall feel and vibe?
Heartbreak Season is not all sad– but also fiery and exciting and romantic. When writing the music I knew there would be a red theme. Red represents that fire and romance to me. Yellow has been my favorite color since I was a kid (maybe a little obvious for a girl named Happie). In fact, I had everyone wear yellow and gold to my last birthday party, but this chapter is for sure all about red.
You’ve had the opportunity to travel to many places like Auschwitz, Argentina and Russia. How has traveling to these places shaped you both as a person and songwriter?
I have felt so lucky to do what I love and meet and connect with people around the world. One of my favorite music memories was in Moldova– I was helping to run a music conference for Jewish teen musicians from all over the Former Soviet Union, and some of the other musicians and facilitators didnt speak much English, and I did not speak much Russian.
Our translators had gone to bed, and we just played music for hours. Music was our common fluent language. My travels have shown me that music is truly a universal language. You don’t have to necessarily understand what the words mean to know exactly what emotions a song or musician is expressing with the notes and delivery. I am grateful for the friendships and moments of this journey. Thats what a life is made of in my opinion– no matter the country or culture.
How has your Jewish heritage impacted your music and message?
My musical journey has grown out of my work within the Jewish community. Singing in the spiritual space is a deeply personal thing, and my experiences have taught me to be authentic and to be a vessel for emotional connection. Singing in the spiritual and secular space doesn’t actually feel that different, because at the heart of it its about singing from the heart.
I have been shaped by many trips to Eastern Europe — Holocaust rememberance trips have been a staple of my year for the better part of a decade. Humanity is capable of both horrific and wonderful things– its up to each of us to choose how we live our lives and how we treat people. It’s so important for us to stand up for what we believe in and stand up for justice. Especially in a climate where anti-semitism is on the rise, I vow to always use my platform to use my voice for good– that is a huge part of my purpose and message.
If you could tour and open for any present-day artist, who would it be and why?
I would love to open for Michael Kiwanuka or HAIM. I’m really inspired by their music and the way they use their voices as instruments.
What artists have you been listening to lately? Any recommendations?
I’ve been listening to a lot of Gone Gone Beyond, and I’ve been working with David Block from their band, and I’ve recently learned about Marieme from all of our shared distributor, Venice Music Co, and I absolutely love her sound and message.
Do you have any plans in place for 2023, either musically or otherwise? Maybe personal goals you’ve set for yourself?
My plan is to tour, connect with listeners, and record my full length album.