Singer Found Her Footing on Island

Singer Found Her Footing on Island
November 13th 2013
By Nicholas M. Pescod 
File From: Nanaimo Daily News

It was with support of local art community that award-winning musician Hayley Sales got her start. – Photo Contributed

When When actress and singer/songwriter Hayley Sales learned that she was going to be moving to a blueberry farm in Qualicum Beach, she was stunned.

“I was 16 and I went through a bit of an emotional breakdown, to be honest,” Sales said. “I went from living in the middle of the city in Portland, Oregon and going to this amazing art school to what I thought was going to a place in the middle of nowhere on an island.”

The pop-soul artist was not pleased with about moving to Vancouver Island, but it wasn’t long before the island lifestyle began to have a positive effect on Sales.

“Once we moved there I really fell in love with it,” she said. “All the people were so friendly and there was such a support for art. I wound up loving it and it was the best thing that has ever happened to me, but it definitely took an adjustment.”

On Nov. 21, Sales will be returning to Vancouver Island with a performance at Simon Holt Restaurant in the north end.

“I am so excited to finally be back at home on the Island to do a local show again,” Sales said. “I’ve really missed it.”

Sales was born in Washington, D.C., to an artistic family. Her mother was a writer and dancer, while her father worked as a sound engineer and has worked with artists such as The Ramones, The Grateful Dead and Miles Davis.

After relocating to Portland when she was four, Sales began learning to play the piano and was involved with theatre. A year later, she found herself listening to a tape of Judy Garland and immediately knew what she wanted to do with her life.

“The richness and the power of her voice just blew my world apart. I realized the power of the voice and of singing,” Sales said. “I never looked back. I knew that music and performing was going to be a part of my life forever.”

Sales eventually attended The Northwest Academy in Portland, where she studied classical and jazz music along with writing acting, dance and filmmaking. She graduated with honours at the age of 16, two years ahead of her graduating class.

“It really taught you how to work at a very young age because essentially you would get up at about six in the morning and go to extracurricular classes before school started,” she explained.

“Then you would start your normal courses like a teenager would do in high school and then most days I would be there after school taking dance classes or participating in plays and I was in a jazz band.”

Shortly after graduating, Sales found herself living in Qualicum Beach. Her father had set up a recording studio on the farm and she became heavily involved with music production, song writing and theatre.

“I learned how to be alone and how to enjoy it, which was a pretty good lesson,” Sales said.

Following her arrival on Vancouver Island, Sales has released two albums, Sunseed and When the Bird Became a Book, with Universal Music.

Today, Sales is at work on her third full-length album.

“I am excited to branch out from what I did on my past two albums,” she said.

“On this one I want to bring in more of my early influences, such as the Billie Holiday sound that meant so much to me growing up. I really want to infuse that into my new production.”

Sales is no stranger to awards.

In 2006 she was the Vancouver Island Music Award winner, and 2008 she won the Canadian Radio Music Award.

Since 2010, Sales has also been featured in numerous publications, appeared regularly on Cedar Cove, an American television show titled and performed in the United States and Japan.

She has also toured with Grammy Award winning artist Jason Mraz.

“We toured Australia together; it was right around the time that his single ‘I Am Your’ blew up,” she said. “I remember he was sitting backstage and looking at his single on iTunes climbing to number one. It was so beautiful to watch his success happen.”

Although Sales was originally unhappy about moving to British Columbia, she is extremely grateful that she did.

“I wouldn’t have changed a thing,” Sales said. “There is something amazing about Vancouver Island but I can’t quite put my finger on it, but having lived in enough places and having travelled enough, there is something really inspiring and supportive about the community.

“I don’t think I would be where I am today without that experience.”

Sales currently splits her time between Vancouver and Los Angeles.

Tickets for Sales’ Nov. 21 show at Simon Holt restaurant are $20 in advance and $25 at the door, at Cranky Dog and the venue.

Doors are at 7:30 p.m., show is at 8:30 p.m. She is accompanied by local musician Andrea Smith. For more information go to

© Nanaimo Daily News