Most cover bands you start with your siblings don’t end up with you and your sisters taking the world by storm. This cannot be said to be true for pop-rock group HAIM. Comprised of sisters Este, Danielle, and Alana, HAIM came out of seemingly nowhere with their pop-infused brand of rock to grow into a festival staple act across the globe. Beloved by both the indie rock community and the mainstream alike, HAIM has since its 2012 inception amassed an array of fans from every end of the music spectrum. Who would have guessed that these three sisters, with their Fleetwood Mac reminiscent sound, would become the rock stalwarts they are today? Well, we admittedly did as before HAIM was championing every festival stage imaginable, they were Ones To Watch.
HAIM is without a doubt a family affair. In its earliest form, HAIM was known as Rockinhaim, a cover band formed by the Haim family that was fronted by the sister’s parents Moti and Donna. The eldest sisters, Este and Danielle, would continue pursuing music through multiple outlets, including a brief stint with the pop group Vallis Girls in 2005 that would result in an appearance on the Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards soundtrack of the same year. Two years later would see HAIM’s final lineup come to fruition as Alana joined her sisters to officially form HAIM in 2007. However, it would be some time until HAIM became the sensation it is today, spending the next five years playing local venues and working on other projects. The time until HAIM would fully take the world by storm would in its interim see middle sister Danielle become a professional touring guitarist, touring alongside Jenny Lewis and The Strokes’ singer Julian Casablancas.
Cue 2012 – five years since HAIM’s original formation and the sisters were more than ready to fully devote themselves to making HAIM what it is today. The band would spend 2012 touring alongside the likes of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros Florence & The Machine, Kesha, and Mumford and Sons, an early testament to the band’s foothold in both the realms of indie-rock and pop. The band’s steadily growing fanbase would soon attract the attention of Jay-Z’s infamous Roc Nation who would sign the band and oversee their first and standout debut full-length release, Days Are Gone. While HAIM had definitely developed a fanbase before the release of Days Are Gone as a result of their avid touring schedule and well-known electric performances, it was the release of Days Are Gone with its infectious ‘70s and ‘90s pop-rock stylings that officially established HAIM as a band poised for stadium stardom.
Released in the fall of 2013, Days Are Gone was preceded by the phenomenal single “The Wire,” which would become both a staple closer in HAIM concerts that never failed to whip a crowd into a fervent flurry, as well as achieving the rare honor of being repurposed for an episode of the television series of the same name. Opting for greater use of synthesizers on Days Are Gone, HAIM fully leaned into its pop stylings to create their definitive sound, which would be celebrated by fans and critics alike, including a lengthy and loving musing by us here at Ones To Watch. A remarkable album based on its universally well-received nature, landing on practically every year-end list of 2013, including topping ours, it was made only more impressive considering it was simultaneously both the band’s debut and breakout hit. The remainder of 2013, following into 2014, saw HAIM rapidly become a fixture in the music landscape, appearing on festival bills across the world and on late-night television shows.
For HAIM at this point, there was nowhere else to go but climb even higher and so they did, although perhaps in unexpected fashion. With a trademark and much-applauded sound, no one would have blamed or expected otherwise for HAIM to continue releasing music in the same vernacular, yet HAIM proved themselves as not only a breakout act but as a band not content to rest on their laurels. 2014 would see HAIM tackle a vast array of sounds in a series of unique and surprising collaborations. There was a newly released rendition of their “My Song 5” featuring rapper A$AP Ferg, a soaring electronic collaboration with Calvin Harris, and coming full circle covering Fleetwood Mac’s “Rhiannon” with Stevie Nicks herself. With their timeless sound, clear love for music and experimentation, a budding friendship with pop icon Taylor Swift, HAIM had managed to become a part of the mainstream collective consciousness without sacrificing a single ounce of their authenticity and 2015 would recognize this feat.
In 2015, HAIM received what is arguably the biggest distinction for a new artist –a nomination for Best New Artist at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards. If there was any argument otherwise, it had officially been silenced–HAIM were now and would continue to be an aspect of music’s lexicon. The following two years for HAIM were well-documented in music news, topping festival lineups across the worlds, opening for Taylor Swift, and the stunning sophomore album Something To Tell You that showcased HAIM as a band both paving the way in the world of pop-rock and as a band consisting of sensational students of music tradition.
However, beyond all these accolades, what may be the most poignant aspect of HAIM’s career thus far is playing Saturday Night Live not only once but twice. As eldest sister, Este Haim, recalls a high school teacher telling her, “You’re never going to be on Saturday Night Live.” And it is in this vein that HAIM is in many ways reminiscent of the music rock legends that came before them– defying expectations, growing from playing local delis to the most-viewed stages, and perhaps bound to be more than just reminiscent of these legends but eventual music legends themselves.
Whether HAIM goes down alongside the pop-rock legends they readily bring forth images of is yet to be seen, but they have undeniably made their voice and sound heard to millions. And no matter what stage HAIM ends up gracing next, we are eager to see how the remainder of this story unfolds. From three girls from the valley who wanted nothing more than to play music to eventual music legends, we will be continuing to watch every step of their journey while reminiscing and blasting the guest playlist they made for us all those years ago when HAIM was One To Watch.