In her role as Valerie Brown on Riverdale, Hayley Law is one of the show’s most charismatic characters, standing confidently behind the keyboards as one fourth of Josie and the Pussycats. In real life, outside of acting, Law is a burgeoning recording artist who makes playful pop and soul-inflected music under the stage name Hayleau (pronounced Halo). In November of last year she dropped her first self-titled EP, and since then the 24-year-old, who’s based in Vancouver, has been working on her sophomore release in between filming two huge Netflix series.
We spoke with Law about being Hayleau, her creative catharsis, and of coarse, Riverdale.
G—You’ve had an impressive start to 2017. How has your life changed in the last year?
HL—It’s changed a lot. A year ago I was working at a job that I hated, serving at a breakfast restaurant. Now I get to do something that I have been working so hard to do, every day. I’m so thankful I don’t have to do what I was doing to get to where I am now.
G—Parallel to your role as Valerie on Riverdale you have a blossoming music career. Could you tell us a bit about your background in music and how you got started?
HL—I learned piano when I was six or seven and hated it, but when I was 16 I decided to do music fully. So I retaught myself piano, mostly pop songs. I recorded and made covers, playing with chords and writing songs. This was before I discovered acting.
G—So it was mostly self-driven at that point?
HL—Yes. Then I met a producer in Vancouver by the name of Nico who produces my music now. He has taught me a ton about music, songwriting and production.
G—How would you describe your sound to people who haven’t heard your music before?
HL—That’s a tough question. I would say feel-good pop/soul.
G—Currently you have an EP out on Soundcloud. What were your goals in making that EP?
HL—I wanted to tell real stories through the songs on the EP. Before, I wrote a lot of songs that I thought were okay but weren’t really my experience. Then I started writing about things that happened to me, that’s when they started to really make sense. The songs on that EP are about a moment in my life and I wanted each one to be that way so you could really feel that.
G—“Banana” is one of the standout tracks on your EP; can you tell us a little more about that?
HL—It’s my favourite song on the EP because it’s just so happy. It’s about a playful, honest night with my friend. It’s not about being slutty but just feeling something that’s real. You both feel it and you don’t have to say it but you know something is going on. Every time I hear it I feel that way.
G—You are working on a new EP; can you tell us a bit about what we can expect next?
HL—Yeah, I am working with a couple different producers, singers and a couple potential rappers. It was important to me not to have a bunch of collaborations on the first project because I really wanted it to be about myself as an artist. But for the next release I wanted it to be more collaborative. I really want to show what we can bring together as opposed to what I would write myself. The sound will be different from the last project.
G—What’s it like performing music in character as Val on Riverdale versus performing in real life as Hayleau?
HL—As Val, I don’t have much control over the music or who she is as a character, as that is all decided for me. But it’s still great, and she’s a great character. Hayleau is really one of my alter egos, outside of Val and outside of Riverdale. I am Hayleau and who I am when I perform as Hayleau is the rawest, realest version of myself.
G—How did you get started in acting? Is that something you have always been involved in?
HL—I started working with an agent to do commercials, to go out to see what it would be like. I went for a few things but it was terrible. Then I got the Riverdale audition, initially for the role of Josie. I had never read lines before, never more than three words in front of a camera but I did it. Then I got a follow up. A long story short, I got booked for Valerie which I was super surprised about and now I love it. I found my passion for acting while doing it, I didn’t know how much I loved it until I did it.
G—What was your experience like filming Riverdale?
HL—It was great. I had no idea what to expect, especially going in and working with people who had been acting for so long. It was weird to be in that environment but you adapt really quickly. Everyone is so professional and so good at what they do. You learn to bring yourself to the bar that has been set fast.
G—Were you involved with the writing of any of the songs performed by Valerie?
HL—No, not yet, but I am trying to be. I would love to write as much as I can. I’m hoping that becomes a reality in the future.
G—The season finale of Riverdale wrapped with some unexpected twists. I read that the cast was kept from knowing the ending and was as involved in following the murder mystery as much as the show’s fans. Were you shocked?
HL—Yeah, I was shocked. Nobody told me what was going to happen. None of us knew what was going on until we were done, which is great. I thought it was better that way and looked more authentic.
G—Riverdale is booked for a second season due out this October. Do you know if you will be reprising the role of Val in the upcoming season?
HL—Yes, I am definitely going to be in it.
G—You are also filming a new Netflix series based on the cyberpunk science-fiction novel Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan. It is said to be Netflix’s most expensive budgeted show to date, due out in 2018. Is there any info you can share with us on the new project?
HL—I can’t say much but I will say the show is based on a book that is phenomenal, so if anyone wants to find out what’s good I would pick that up.
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