Hayley Gene Penner doesn’t rush the creative process. After years of songwriting for both herself and up & comers like Charlotte Lawrence, she has gotten to the bottom of her own artistry–and it takes self-awareness to a new level. Born in Winnipeg, Penner got her start sharing the spotlight with her father, iconic Canadian performer Fred Penner. The talent must be in her Genes. 2018 has seen a flurry of singles from the indie songstress, the most popular of which is her stirring confessional, “Sleep At Night.” She’s back with “Talking To Myself” as a tease to her forthcoming debut album, People You Follow. Penner’s intricate instrumentation, patient demeanor and ability to expose clandestine thoughts combine to form one incredibly powerful song.
“Talking To Myself” sets into motion from the start, buzzing with pensive energy and lively guitar picking. Penner’s voice is warm and familiar, similar to greats like Joni Mitchell and Sara Bareilles, while remaining distinctly her own. The song is lyrically heavy, but Penner navigates the words with clarity and ease, almost as if she’s reading from a journal entry. Clean harmonies cushion the melody as she weaves up and down the scale. Penner’s delivery has listeners on the edge of their seats as she heats up the verses, and then allows them to relax into the groove as she hits the chorus.
Penner commented on the inspiration behind “Talking To Myself,” saying,
“Being ghosted sucks. It’s a totally unnatural way to end a relationship of any kind and it triggers a response in me that I like to call, ‘poking the bear.’ Like, ‘Fine. You wanna ignore me. I’ll send voice notes and naked pictures and songs and content and memories. I’ll do the polar opposite of what you’re doing.’ ‘Talking to Myself’ is about my last experience at ‘poking the bear.’ I dove in and spun out as he disappeared into the horizon, eventually mailing an 8-page letter to his home… I reached and reached without response, leaning into a totally destructive conversation with myself, alone.”
If there’s an award for saying what everyone else was thinking, we nominate her. Be on the lookout for Hayley Gene Penner’s debut album, People You Follow, and debut book release in 2019. Dying to see her live? Grab a ticket to see her open for Charlotte Lawrence on Nov, 14 in New York City.