'American Idol' alum Haley Reinhart releases video for 'Free,' talks about her upcoming album

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Last week, American Idol alum Haley Reinhart, the bluesy 21-year-old Chicago native who came in third place in Season 10, released her debut single “Free,” a hopeful breakup anthem set to a jazzy, thumping piano.

Now she’s got a snazzy new video to go along with it. Reinhart, who stopped by the EW offices earlier this week to chat about her new single and upcoming album, worked with director Christopher Sims to achieve a look that was both “very retro and modern.” Sims set the video in a vintage 1950s diner and “kind of put his spin — literally — on things,” Reinhart jokes.

The clip features our favorite growler in an array of throwback outfits pleading with her man, “I want to be free!”

Well, sorry girl, but he just really likes you (and those legs) — this breakup may take a while.  Check it out below:

If you’re a fan — and if you like acts like Duffy and Fitz and the Tantrums — you should be excited for Reinhart’s new album Listen Up,  due on May 22. She previewed a few of the new tracks for EW staffers: a brassy B.O.B. collaboration called “Oh My,” a tender ballad, “Undone,” and a smooth neo-Motown ditty, “Wonderland.”

We asked Reinhart about “Free,” her upcoming album, Idol, and a whole lot more. Here are some highlights from our chat:

On choosing “Free” as the first single: “From the first chord the piano hit, just hearing the piano raw, alone was cool. The chords aren’t your typical chords. The chord progression was beautiful. It’s a waltz, which also caught my attention, because I love that. Not that I’m trying to be so different, but I don’t really like the most obvious and typical stuff. The fact that it’s a mature breakup song is totally up my alley. There’s nothing irrational about it — we love each other, but we know we gotta end this, at least for me to be happy. I totally can dig that. It just had a lot of different elements in it that struck me to be hypnotic.”

On what she wanted in her new album Listen Up: “I wanted it to definitely be a mash-up of old and new, retro and modern. Things like funk and jazz and rock and pop and definitely soul throughout the entire album. That’s something that I put into all the covers on Idol, so to have that maintained through the whole sequence of songs. As well as keeping it very organic and rooted, but then having something like program drums — we used that at times because the other portions of the music material was very much organic. It’s completely me and showing the kind of artist that I’ve always going to be.”

On current artists that she’s listening to: “It’s crazy now that Adele has become a genre — her name. It’s crazy because she’s so talented, and she slipped through and just made it. I mean, her voice sells it. And there’s plenty of people out there that don’t get that chance. So, I’m very happy that there’s Amy Winehouse, who started it all out, and came out with this raw talent. And people like Duffy, Corinne Bailey Rae, Janelle Monae, Esperanza Spalding. I love that sound. They all just came through and created this lane that I’ve always wanted to be a part of.” [Reinhart later mentioned her growing affection for Alabama Shakes]

More on her undying love of Esperanza Spalding: “I’ve listened to her since my senior year. I got to do a jazz tour in Italy and Switzerland — a huge jazz fest with my high school jazz band. As soon as I got back, that was just the most incredible thing — next to Idol — happening. My dad handed me her CD and was like, “So you’ve just gotten back here, and now you need to hear this little prodigy that’s doing the same kind of thing. She’s going all over singing.” It blew my mind. I’m very much into jazz, so having her be such a new, fresh light on the jazz world is just so amazing, and when she won the Grammys, I actually cried because I was sure one of those other people was going to win. Good for her — there is hope. I really, really was happy for her.”

On this season of Idol: “I’ve checked it out. A lot in the beginning — it’s been pretty crazy for the last few weeks. It was cool seeing a lot of the returning Idols from last year come back and improve, grow, and shine. There’s three of them that are still on that were in the Vegas rounds [of my sesaon] — Colton, Hollie, and DeAndre. I love DeAndre. I adored his voice and just that crazy falsetto. They’ve all got great voices. Jessica Sanchez is a powerhouse. Who could deny it? She’s taken on quite a lot of big songs, and she’s nailed them. Everyone’s got kind of their own thing. Elise, too — she’s great. I see the same kind of organic rawness in her that I enjoy.

On her fans, who call themselves Haliens: “On the show, I wasn’t as involved with Twitter, but there were many different group names, like iHartHaley and HaleysShindig, and they still have their own Twitter names, but they just formed into this massive spaceship of Haliens. I think it happened maybe while on tour and they could come and check me out. It’s just been amazing to know that they’re so on board and they’re following and they’re waiting eagerly, just for anything to grab onto. Half the time they know more stuff about what I’m doing than I do, to be quite honest. I think it’s amazing that they’re so supportive. That’s all I could ask for.”

What do you think of the video for “Free?” Are you excited for Listen Up?

More on EW.com:
Haley Reinhart performs ‘Free’ on ‘American Idol’
‘American Idol’ alum Haley Reinhart performs debut single ‘Free': See it here!
‘Idol’ alums Haley Reinhart and Casey Abrams record ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’

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