Aubrey Haddard
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Aubrey Haddard

Brooklyn, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2016

Brooklyn, New York, United States
Established on Jan, 2016
Band Rock Indie





Everyone knows that hindsight is 20/20. Some perhaps know this best from repeated experience. Boston-based singer/songwriter Aubrey Haddard recounts this familiar feeling in “I Should Know Better,” the lead single from her forthcoming debut record, Blue Part (due out this summer). Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering the infectiously catchy song ahead of its worldwide 3/23/2018 release!

Up until now, Haddard has spent her time as front woman to 8-piece funk/soul band, The New Review. For her solo debut, the powerful singer pares down her sound, with a tight trio of musicians – herself, Charley Ruddell on bass, and Josh Strmic on drums. Stylistically, she lands somewhere between a nostalgic soul sound and the current indie landscape. She’s a little Margaret Glaspy, a little Amy Winehouse. “I Should Know Better” retains many of the soulful elements of her band, but with a poppier bent. Haddard calls it the “heartbreak pop/rock anthem off an otherwise moody, alternative album,” giving insight into what’s to come.

The song begins pensively, with Haddard recounting a return to a familiar state of mind:

I almost forgot this feeling
to be on the ground kneeling
right after my head
went through the ceiling
now I’m barely dealing
The chorus of the song adopts the stop-time quarter note feel of Motown, while Haddard sings the refrain:

Now every night
I’m a 2AM hot mess
and every day I get
a little more heartless
The lo-fi production and instrumentation gives the song a vintage feel. Haddard’s voice exudes a full, honey-dripping warmth, and feelings of regret and sadness are sung with a swaggering candor. As the second verse begins, the guitar drops out, leaving the bass exposed and funky. Haddard’s voice opens up as she belts with an inviting rasp, and we almost forget she’s singing about heartbreak. However, the speaker of the song seems drained by this point. Each day brings about a new reason for apathy, and she’s “never by [her]self but always alone.” The “next door neighbors must hear [her] sweet dull drone.” The chorus plays again, leading to an outro that brings about an admission of what’s caused all the grief.

Well I should know better
than to start writing love letters
to someone who would never remember
Yes I should know by now
These are the words of someone’s who has been here before – someone who’s taken this risk more than once, and suffered the fallout. But there’s a funny thing about love: we always seem to forget about the bad parts until we’re back there again. The song plays out with a repeated chorus of Aubreys singing “I should know better.” Maybe next time.

Keep an eye out for Aubrey’s debut solo LP, Blue Part, a promising beginning to a solo career. - Atwood Magazine

"Aubrey Haddard stretches soulful songwriting on ‘I Should Know Better’"

When Aubrey Haddard proclaims that she’s “got to get out of this place,” as she does on on new solo single “I Should Know Better,” the obvious interpretation is that she’s stuck in dead-end or otherwise faulty relationship. But when you take Haddard’s expansive musical repertoire into consideration, maybe the line signals stretching her songwriting wings — which is exactly what her solo project aims to do, spreading the wealth far and wide throughout the umpteen-plus different music scenes in Boston.

In addition to her solo efforts, Haddard fronts The New Review and is a part of New York-based group Breakfast for the Boys, plus has Berklee outfit Sonomosaic in her rear-view. And according to Haddard, each band brings out a different facet of her artistry; As for “I Should Know Better,” the theme seems to be finger-wagging guitar soul.

“I’ve always been a songwriter, whether or not I chose to share those songs with a particular band, and I also was part of an original music group called Sonomosaic, a neo-soul project that started at Berklee,” says Haddard, who plays State Park in Cambridge this Sunday (March 25). “All of the groups, The New Review included, satisfies or satisfied a different part of me. Each genre flexes different creative muscles and shines light in different places and I’ve always sort of thrived on that.”

Her solo project, which consists of herself, Josh Strmic on drums, and Charley Ruddell on bass, has already seen the release of her 2016 acoustic EP Adult Lullabies, but is gearing up for a summer 2018 release.

“Ultimately I think being part of various projects has really only made me a better musician and I think you can hear the various experiences’ influences in my music,” Haddard adds. “I’ve learned, and am still learning how to be a frontwoman and a rhythm guitar player, a part of the rhythm section, and a fearless leader all at once or never at the same time. And especially in Boston I think its important to cross genres because the scene can feel at times really segregated and exclusive when really we are all just experimenting and figuring it out.”

“I Should Know Better” presents a slice of Haddard’s forthcoming album from her solo project’s trio, a 10-track record titled Blue Part out this summer. Named after the hottest part of a flame, the opus promises simmering heartbreak and a sun-tinged vibe.

“Blue Part consists of 10 tracks, including an intro and outro, a couple older arrangements that we breathed new life into and mostly songs written the year leading up to recording,” Haddard explains. “Picking ‘I Should Know Better’ [for a single] was tricky, it’s definitely the most pop/rock tune we did on an otherwise atmospheric and alternative album, and I think the choice for our first single came down to accessibility. This tune always gets a great response from a crowd and love learned the hard way is an all too relatable subject.” - Vanyaland


Hearing Aubrey Haddard’s music feels like you’re being washed over with nothing but pure sunshine. The 24-year-old soul singer-songwriter writes songs that are bursting with life, the kind that boast a radiant warmth, in a way that feels, simply put, just right. There’s a visceral rawness in her voice. It’s crisp and loud, like she has the lungs of a whole choir, but flexible in its perfectionism by way of emotion. Hearing her sing makes you wonder how much of this sound is studio trickery and how much is live energy captured in a moment, a lightning bug bottled in a glass jar.

But more than that, you wonder what it is that makes someone glow the way Haddard does. She doesn’t always sing about perfect scenarios or romanticized gestures, but that doesn’t stop her voice from filling you with the optimism that would come with had she been. How do you sing like you’ve been filled with the spirit of springtime itself? How do you insert a coy wink into a visual-free medium like music? How do you sing like Aubrey Haddard?

Meeting her in person, those questions answer themselves. Haddard greets you with a hug and gentle eyes, even if you’ve never met. Freckles sparkle every inch of her skin, a jovial look even if it’s inescapable genetics. Her voice, unlike the cooing her in her songs, is easygoing, comfortable, and, if you listen closely, has a soft rasp hidden deep underneath. She fills the room with warmth. It’s tempting to assume Haddard’s traits come from an encouraging environment and well-off upbringing, but it’s clear her confidence is the aftereffect of growing up with an inherent, assured type of determination that is hers and hers alone.

Growing up in the Hudson Valley, Haddard found her way to music almost immediately. Though she played in a handful of bands, including a Red Hot Chili Peppers cover band and her school’s choir, she credits her distinct drive to a special afterschool music group called Rock and Soul Review that her middle school teacher Charlie Seymour founded. In it, Mr. Seymour played guitar, her social studies teacher played drums, her science teacher played bass, and a handful of students joined in on other instruments. The group performed three times a year. Haddard joined as a vocalist and quickly learned how to set up a microphone, lead a band, and be part of a contemporary ensemble. “He definitely made everything possible from the start,” she says. “It was the highlight of my young life.” While it put her ahead of the game technically speaking, it also instilled the quiet lessons of humanizing teachers beyond the classroom, creating cross-generational bonds, and letting students break down the barriers of what, when, and how to be a musician.

Hudson Valley hid a blues scene of its own beyond the middle school walls, too. Haddard’s parents encouraged her to sing, and she slowly found herself wanting to pursue it seriously. Her mother brought her to neighboring towns to sit in with the old blues jazz guys. At the time, Haddard was 15 years old—too young to go by herself, much less drive. “I realized I knew I wanted to do this, but I didn’t know how to make a career out of it,” she says. “It wasn’t until I started applying to colleges for chemistry and engineering that I realized I didn’t want to pursue academics. I spent a gap year in Senegal instead, and that’s when my priorities made themselves known.” When she returned in 2013, Haddard took another year to figure out what she wanted to do before applying to, and entering, Berklee School of Music.

For all of these opportunities, it feels somewhat surprising to learn Haddard never dealt with stage fright—or at least not until she began playing guitar. It’s been nearly a decade since she first learned open chords, but it’s only recently that she’s been able to feel more comfortable with her skills on the instrument. A comically accessible yet difficult instrument, the guitar posed a handful of problems, most of them small, if she wanted to become a dynamic player. Once she broke the seal on diligence, the result of equal parts practice and patience, she became more comfortable as a songwriter, intentionally breaking her musical habits: neo-soul syncopated strumming patterns, using the same melodies, creating nearly identical arcs.

The real joy in Haddard’s music is her voice, that ability to belt not just a string of words at high volume, but singing with tangible energy, a slice of joy that slides right out of her ribcage in one piece. Honing it has been a gradual process. Like any singer, Haddard has her fair share of musical idols and the obsessions that follow suit trying to become them—the sheer power of Susan Tedeschi, the gentle cadance of Bonnie Raitt, the wild madman style of Jeff Buckley—by transcribing their vocal parts. Perhaps the most essential work done to her voice is the act of listening to it. As a musician who has recorded on albums, projects, and singles for other artists, Haddard observes the way she sounds and, subconsciously and sometimes intentionally, modifies her voice. But for the most part, it’s a natural instrument, one she’s whittled without much, if any, pushback.

“Not to sound snooty, but I feel like I had this voice for a long time,” says Haddard, lowering her voice as if ashamed to hear the words out loud. “I remember being in choir and hesitating because I had a strong voice. It was hard to meld with other voices even though I loved singing with other people. In a choir setting, things are different. It wasn’t until my mom took me to see Susan Tedeschi live that I realized that’s okay. Here was this woman with this huge, powerhouse voice, and she was killing it. I saw someone who had a similar type of voice as mine and she was totally celebrated for it. It changed the way I saw my voice and how to utilize it.”

Eventually, Haddard reached a crossroads in her life. Working full time at a restaurant, attending school full time, and trying to perform as often as she could in between, she found herself losing music opportunities because her schedule simply didn’t have enough time. After turning down a string of gigs, she finally decided to bite the bullet. In 2015, she dropped out of Berklee to pursue music as a full-time job.

What she learned along the way, though, helped her become a more astute writer. Haddard wrote for a funk group, was in a jazzy soul project, and sang in a rock band, using each outlet as a way to figure out how to serve songs in different genre settings. Perhaps the most helpful outlets were a collaborative band she helped form back home, the blue-turned-neo-soul-turned-prog group Breakfast for the Boys, and the New Review, a funk-bent group with its roots in Berklee’s scene where she gets to be a self-proclaimed diva onstage.

If it wasn’t for sound engineer Matt Peiffer, Haddard wouldn’t have jump-started her solo career so quickly either. After finishing a Breakfast for the Boys record early with him, she demoed her debut EP last minute, utilizing the excess studio time. Afterwards, Peiffer approached her once more, eager to record a “passion project” of Haddard’s choosing. Naturally, she decided to record her debut solo album, Blue Part, a longtime goal that was bound to happen sooner or later.

Of course, this wouldn’t happen without the help of her bandmates, bassist Charley Ruddell and drummer Josh Strmic. Both members add an instrumental energy to her music, likely the result of how eager they were to jam with her. In March of 2016, Haddard performed one of her first solo shows opening for the band Strmic was in at the time. Throughout her set, he was dancing in the front row, cheering her on and filming videos. He approached her afterward and asked if he could work with her in some capacity. Around the same time, she met Ruddell in New York City when they shared a bill together. The two hit it off so well that they started dating long distance. Though she was hesitant to work with him, as she didn’t want to damage their budding relationship, Haddard eventually caved. The trio share an easygoing ability to perform as a unit. Ruddell and Strmic call her out all the time, offering gentle suggestions on how to change the music, ultimately pushing her abilities to the next level.

You can hear that on the record. Blue Part takes much of its inspiration from shared energy, specifically the romance between Ruddell and Haddard. The title refers to the hottest part of the flame, an analogy for the person who ignites the best part of herself, burning at the hottest she possibly could while creating a captivating look. In short, it’s a love concept album. Though that may seem like an exaggeration, it’s obvious when you lean in close to the lyrics, as each song follows its own single-word theme. It starts with “Seaweed & Sand,” a slow dance opener that centers around longing. “Charley” deals with the confusion of not knowing if your love is rational. The melancholic “Lullaby” deals with the loneliness of distance. “I Should Know Better” dismisses her past “bullshit” to embrace her new love life. “Blue Part” dives into the deeper love of a relationship. “What I Need Now” tracks the desperation of needing to be closer to your partner. “Take Me Under” is the extremely sensual indulgent track, channeling its own sexy narrative. Then the album wraps up with “Save Me,” an outburst of devotion.

“Everybody runs on love,” says Haddard. “It’s nice having a record with a coherent theme [like that]. Right now, I’m working on new songs about death and stuff, so having a string of songs that make sense together is so exciting.”

Blue Part is a mesmerizing listen, especially when keeping an eye out for the details. There are Greek mythology allusions (“Did I fly too close to the sun? / A love Promethean / Will you bring me back when I come undone?”), deceptively dirty spoken word (“Honey drip, passion pit / I twist against your tightened grip / Wet, thick / Muffled screams, hold me down”), and scaling guitar lines (“Charley”). A traditional hybrid of folk rock and neo-soul will be found side by side along a dark Latin bossa song. It’s an album bursting with life as it capture a year in the life of a couple. While Haddard’s remarkable vocals steal the show, her commitment to improving on guitar—halfway through the recording process, she bought a new guitar and pedal to encourage herself to get better—and patience with mixing show how much additional effort pays off on the album.

We’re proud to premiere Blue Part in full this week. The solo debut from Aubrey Haddard has been a long time coming, and yet it sounds so natural. There’s a whole lot of heart to soak in, and talking with Haddard makes it impossible to imagine the record being any other way. She’s friendly and inviting, calm and energetic, the type of musician who you want to hang out with offstage as a friend. So when she gets up from our table at Lamplighter Brewery midconversation because she sees a family she knows across the street, it feels like a musical moment happening in real time. The children’s faces crack into wide smiles, as does the mother’s, and Haddard reaches out to give them all a hug. It’s the type of immediate happiness Haddard brings to life, the kind you feel just being in her presence—perhaps the most clear-cut mirror image of what listening to Blue Part feels like, on record and off. - DigBoston


Still working on that hot first release.



Aubrey Haddard’s world was rocked when she saw Susan Tedeschi for the first time. Haddard was just fifteen and starry-eyed at the sight of such a powerful frontwoman. “I remember being in total awe of her,” she recalls. “That’s when I knew I didn’t have to be in high school choir to be a singer—actually, I quit the next day.”

From that point forward, the Hudson Valley native continually forged her own path in music, defining her own set of boundaries just to boldly knock them back down. Haddard’s voice, a powerful, gutsy roar, took home top prizes in local singing competitions and could be heard in the local clubs blazing until after-hours. She created a following of fans that took great joy in her ability to bare her soul with such audacity. 

A slew of bands and side projects in New York and Boston lead Haddard down the path of a solo career, and after culminating new music for the better part of a year, Haddard recorded and released her debut album Blue Part in July of 2018. Steeped in stories of love and passion, the intimate, yet brash concept album displayed a fearlessness that captured the attention of notable publications including NPR, The Boston Herald, Vanyaland, and Atwood Magazine. She was praised by NPR as having a “nascent star power;” DigBoston described her songs as “bursting with life.”

The success of Blue Part lead Haddard to seven nominations and a few big wins at the 2018 Boston Music Awards, including Vocalist of the Year and Singer/Songwriter of the Year. Now in 2019, she resides in Brooklyn, NY while finishing production on her sophomore release.

Haddard resonates with artists who speak to her in a specific and personalized language, from Jeff Buckley’s hopeless romanticism to Kate Bush’s mystic pixiness; the coolness of Sade and the unapologetic power of Brittany Howard are equally as present in her music. Her influences are undoubtedly varied, yet oddly present in every measure—in between bouts of Radiohead-esque harmonic chord progressions are pert hints of Shania Twain’s Come On Over. 

With her tools and talent, Haddard aims to explore duality within her music. Through narrating her own experiences in life and love, she holds space for conversations of self reflection and self expression, romance and honesty, poeticism and accessibility, and tumult and tranquility. Her goal is to not only sing her truth, but encourage others to do the same. “I aim to inspire others to dig deeper into their own emotions,” she says in earnest. And with such wisdom in voice like hers, it’s impossible not to.

Praise for Blue Part:

“Bursting with life.” - DigBoston

“Confrontational and Contemplative.” - Seven Days VT

“Finger-wagging guitar soul.” - Vanyaland

“Honey-dripping warmth.” - Atwood Magazine

“The songwriting chops of a Brill Building alum set free and wicked guitar chops.”

- Boston Herald

Band Members