HALIENE, born as Kelly Sweet in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, is an electronic music singer who has worked with the likes of Seven Lions, Ferry Corsten, and Illenium. As someone growing up in a musical household, HALIENE began singing at state fairs, community festivals, and stage theaters during childhood. When HALIENE started her music career, she sang pop tracks under her real name for advertisements and TV series such as Passions, One Life To Live, and Believe. As a pop singer, HALIENE released two albums, We Are One in 2007 and Ashes of My Paradise in 2014. Since transitioning to EDM in 2015, HALIENE has become a recognizable voice in the genre, particularly in dubstep and trance. Here is One EDM’s exclusive interview with EDM singer HALIENE, who is currently based in Los Angeles.
Kenny Ngo: Did you do or watch anything exciting during this quarantine?
HALIENE: I am rewatching the entire series of my favorite TV show, Battlestar Galactica! It’s still SO GOOD. I have also enjoyed watching all my DJ and producer friends doing their live streams. It is amazing to see everyone be so creative lately in finding new ways to reach our fans.
Since your father was a pianist and your mother was an artist, what did growing up in a musical household feel like for the young Kelly Sweet?
It was magical. There was always so much creativity around me and I think that really shaped my own creative mind. I am also an only child, so my imagination got to run wild and I loved making up stories into music. My father often accompanied me on piano when I would sing or perform, and those moments were very special for me.
How was it like transitioning from singing pop songs for TV shows such as Passions and Believe to singing electronic music tracks?
I never felt me or my voice fit in pop music. It always seemed like everyone just didn’t know what to do with me. When I found dance music, it was like my whole world suddenly made sense. Especially when it comes to trance, I see it as classical electronic music, which is both of my loves combined. It feels like dance music is where I was always meant to be.
How was it like working with Seven Lions when you first performed as HALIENE in 2015?
Seven Lions’ Throes of Winter EP release show was my first show as HALIENE, and I could not have been more thrilled to have that incredible opportunity. It was a dream come true. I remember being in awe of how incredible his fans are, and how reactive and responsive they are to music. They truly live and breathe it. I had never performed for fans like that, and it stole my heart. Since then, he and I have worked on a lot of stuff together, have performed many times together and he is still one of my favorite collaborators of all time.
You also worked with legendary trance producer Ferry Corsten on his 2017 album, Blueprint. What did you like about the collaboration with him?
Working on Blueprint with Ferry Corsten was incredible. Ferry is an absolute class act genius, and I truly admire everything he creates. We got to work closely with him on all the songs in the studio together, which is actually surprisingly very rare in this dance music world. I really connected with the character I played, Vee. I feel like she is me and I am her in a different universe, haha!
Are there any differences in your musical style when you sing trance tracks compared to singing dubstep and house tracks?
Not in particular, no. I do tend to write more rhythmically when it comes to housier or poppier dance stuff, but the difference between melodic dubstep and trance is not actually that much. They both call for beautiful dynamic legato melodies with long notes and etherealheartbreaking lyrics.
When streaming your latest track, “Long Way Home” with Tritonal, Schala, and Jorza”, what should the streamer look out for when listening to the track?
I am very proud of the lyrics I wrote on that one, and I feel they really apply to this time. Some of my favorite lines are: “Somewhere up above the clouds I know the sun is rising, somewhere in the world there is a place we aren’t divided”. It really rings true to what we are all going through in this pandemic.
Getting back to Seven Lions, you recently produced an acoustic version of “What’s Done Is Done” with him. How was it like working on the track?
I recently put up my performance of What’s Done Is Done from my live set on Dreamworld Online Music Festival on my Instagram! I actually wrote that song over a year ago now I think, and the instant I heard the track I knew exactly what it needed to be. It’s always incredible to hear where Jeff takes it after I deliver the vocal to him! My full live set is now up on my YouTube channel, check out the performance now!
What has been your favorite show or festival that you performed in during your career?
Performing at Kinetic Field with Tritonal at this past EDC Las Vegas in 2019 was one of the most wild and amazing things I’ve ever gotten to experience. I had the tiniest little platform to perform on the biggest stage imaginable, in front of 65k+ people in one of my favorite places on earth. EDC is truly magical, and I feel so lucky to have performed there five times now. We also had 40mph+ winds that nearly closed the stage that day, so that was a little terrifying but it made for even more magic!
What is the first thing that you want to do once everything in the world gets better again?
PLAY LIVE SHOWS! I can’t wait until it is safe for us all to come back together and share music IRL. I miss my fans so much, I miss meeting them and hearing their stories with my music. Until then, you can find me streaming weekly on Twitch (click here), as well as on Instagram (@HALIENE)!