Let's briefly go back to the year 2012 when I first discovered YouTube and all it had to offer including covers of my favorite songs by other talented musicians. Not only was Kenosha, WI native and recently engaged Hayley Klinkhammer one of the first YouTubers I ever subscribed to, but she was also one of the first cover artists/singer/songwriters that I had ever stumbled upon on the internet. I can still remember my fourteen year old self staying up way past my bed time while drooling over her cover of "Cassie" by Flyleaf. Fast forward six years and now as a Junior in college I can proudly say that I'm still one of her biggest fans.
On May 1st I was lucky enough to catch one of Hayley's shows during another round of her college tours where she came to my campus and played an intimate hour and a half long show. The set was simple comprised of a single guitar, a microphone for singing, a microphone for recording loops, a loop pedal, and of course Hayley herself. Even Hayley's appearance was simple-stated dressed in a t-shirt, jeans, converse, and her hair laying relaxed around her shoulders. Everything about the stage and Hayley showcased how effortlessly talented she truly is.
She opened the show with a carefully looped version of Sia's "Chandelier" followed by the crowd favorite "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz which set an energetic tone for the rest of the show. Hayley was sure to play a variety of more well-known and modern songs to get the audience engaged in singing along to or at least tapping their feet along to including "Castle On The Hill" by Ed Sheeran, "I Can't Help Falling In Love With You" by Elvis Presley, and even "Ride" by Twenty One Pilots; however, there was no shortage of jokes, small talk, or original songs either. Some of my favorite originals from the show included "La La La", "Be Okay", and my all time favorite "Speaking My Mind" which she made sure to play just for me as the closing song.
At the conclusion of the show I made sure to grab a free sticker and post card before making my way over to talk to Hayley myself. Before I even got a word out she asked me if she messed up "Speaking My Mind" by completely skipping the second verse to which I responded that I didn't know because I was too in awe of her singing to notice any mistakes which was the honest truth. After thanking her for such an incredible show I introduced myself as a long time fan and told her that I discovered her through her cover of "Cassie" by Flyleaf, which made her perk up in excitement. Through our short conversation I could tell that she genuinely cares about getting to know her fans on a more personal level which made me admire her even more as a human than as a musician.
All in all, her effortless, energetic, and powerful performance combined with how humble and down to earth the small town Wisconsin girl is only further confirmed to me that Hayley Klinkhammer is a rare instance of a naturally talented musician who deserves nothing but the best from this world. Be sure to check out her YouTube channel to listen to covers of your favorite songs plus some of Hayley's collaborations and originals.