The love of music was like mother’s milk to Hayley Fahey.
“My mother used to sing songs to me in my crib,” said the Derwood-based singer-songwriter. “Both of my grandmothers sang and played piano.”
Music filled the house, mostly of her father’s preferred singers – Eva Cassidy, Stevie Wonder, Dixie Chicks, and Bob Marley – exposing the young Hayley to a “variety of genres.” The singer herself started writing songs when she was a child.
Fahey performed in church and school choirs and “did all the high-school musicals,” but technically, her first time on stage was in a musical revue at Roberto Clemente Middle School.
She feels so grateful to the school, Fahey said, that she volunteers there as a performer. Fahey also is a special guest, announcing the winner of the Battle for the Bands, then rehearing and recording one of her original songs with the winners.
At the end of college, which was only two years ago, Fahey began to write and perform her own songs. Now she has her own band – John Trupp, Isaac Craig, and Mat Tredwell.
Fahey has also released albums. She wrote her latest, “Out There” – also the name of the first song on the album – during a difficult time in her life when she needed “comfort and direction.”
“The album draws inspiration from my life and the experience of others,” she said. “It has the highs and lows, lights and darks, of life. I tell a story in my songs, but also find meaning others can relate to.”
The album reflects Fahey’s diversity of musical styles. “Dry Ice” is rock but bluesy, she explained. “From Dusk to Dawn” is a somber song with acoustic guitar and Hammond organ – just voice and no harmonies.
“Good Kind of Crazy” is mix of country-soul-and pop, but altogether a “fun song,” Hayley said, while “Your Name” is the hardest rock, with an electric guitar.”
Fahey dedicated her first album to her grandmother, who was a pioneer. In the 1940s she had her own band, in which she was the only female – called Shirley and Her All-Boys Band.
“She was a huge influence on me,” Fahey said of her grandmother. “She was a natural teacher.”
Fahey said she also learned a lot from her band and from Daryl Davis, a musician and activist who puts on shows around the world and with whom she has performed.
Much as she has accomplished already, Fahey as yet has unfulfilled goals.
“I’d like to have my songs in film and TV,” she said. “I’m working on that.”
Fahey is also socially conscious. During the summer, she works with a nonprofit program called “SPEAK Girls,” located outside Washington, D.C., and geared toward girls 12-18. She and other artists use interdisciplinary art forms and special techniques, which culminate in four performances in the Capital Fringe Festival (see related arts article).
“I was a mentor for the girls in the program and came to do a workshop to help them write an original song about raising your voice,” she said. “I came up with the chords and helped organize the music and song structure, but the girls came up with most of melodies, words, and ideas.”
Fahey has been involved in Project Hera, to promote female musicians. She took part in the organization’s first annual Female-Fronted Music Festival at the State Theatre in 2017.
“Project Hera gives women a platform for their music,” Fahey said. “We’ve become a community of female musicians.”
Fahey’s next concert within the County is on July 14, 8-11 p.m. opening for Sidleys, band, and special guest, at the Music Café, 26528 Ridge Road in Damascus. Tickets are $10 at door. It’s highly recommended to call ahead for reservations at 1-301-253-1500. For more information, visit Fahey’s website at www.hayleyfahey.com/music.