Haley Urbanowski’s college experiences expanded her music horizons.
The 2016 Carmel High School graduate, who records under the name Haley Urbo, recently released her debut EP, “Iridescent,” consisting of five songs. She started it after arriving at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.
“I had done music my whole life,” said Urbanowski, who will graduate in May. “I had never considered myself a solo artist or songwriter. I had written piano music before but never lyrics.”
Urbanowski performed in the Accents and the Ambassadors show choirs at CHS.
“I was a music girl but had never written before,” she said. “When I got to Berklee, a lot of my peers were doing that stuff. They had figured out who they are as an artist and what their music is like. I wasn’t really at the point in my journey yet.”
Thus, Urbanowski said it was a good time to attend music school and be exposed to different types of music and people.
“I could really start developing my sound, so I started throwing myself into all of it, writing and listening to music I had never been exposed to, recording in the studio,” she said.
Urbanowski started rehearsing with a live band, which she had never done before.
“I hadn’t experienced enough love or heartbreak before I got to Boston and met all the people that I did,” she said. “I started making memories and having all these crazy experiences. It’s like this music was literally pouring out of me.”
Her piano playing improved every day just from practicing every day, she said. She started writing music and lyrics her first year.
“The unique thing about this is I never wrote the lyrics at one time,” Urbanowski said. “The lyrics are all a collection of feelings and thoughts I wrote down on my phone in the notes app during specific moments. I wrote them down, knowing I would eventually put them into music. Every song is a compilation of all the phrases and feelings that I had written down. The process was interesting because the way it was coming together was blowing my mind.”
Urbanowski titled her EP “Iridescent” because each track takes on a different style on who she is as an artist.
“It’s like a synergy of jazz, rhythm and blues and neo-soul style all kind of fused together,” she said. “It didn’t fit in one box super well, and that’s kind of the point. For me as an artist and person, I’m really into creating music as a way to authentically show who I am and express my feelings without focusing if it’s going to fit in this box, is it going to fit into pop or that.
“I’m passionate about breaking genre barriers and contributing to a new wave of music coming up.”
Urbanowski has been influenced by artists such as Terrace Martin, Robert Glasper, Frank Ocean, Snoh Aalegra and Daniel Caesar.
She recorded two songs with a band her sophomore year and worked with one producer, who graduated. She worked with a second producer, D.J. Alexander, her last two years.
“He was the best person I could have asked. He totally brought the tracks to life,” Urbanowski said.
She presented a release party performance for the EP at Berklee Feb. 27 and it was officially released the following day.
“I was really grateful when I it did because it was my last performance because the coronavirus craziness started,” she said.
Urbanowski is finishing up her classes online.
“Most of my classes are ensembles or voice training, so It’s hard to figure out how to keep up doing the curriculum,” Urbanowski said.
For more, linktr.ee/haleyurbo.