Haley Reinhart's parents knew their daughter was musical even before she was born. "When Haley was a child, I sang to her all the time,” says her mother, Patti-Miller Reinhart. "But her father Harry and I knew she was musical even while I was pregnant. We were playing full time in our band, when she would seemingly kick along with the bass drum, as if she was keeping the beat."
If musical talent is genetic, Haley couldn't have asked for better DNA. Her parents both had their own musical careers before they met. "My dad had a band and my mom was singing with an outfit called the Company She Keeps," explains Haley. "My mom had been singing professionally since she was 16, touring all over the U.S. and Asia. Dad's band was looking for a new singer at the time. She went to check them out them and fell in love with the group and they asked her to join Midnight in 1977."
Thanks to her parents’ devotion and love of music, Haley had a wide array of musical influences growing up. "My mom was a huge fan of Janis Joplin, Grace Slick and Heart, to name just a few. I grew up listening to them, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, blues & jazz, as well as Bach and Mozart. I went from classical to Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, Manhattan Transfer, Anita O'Day and Sarah Vaughn. Both of my parents are Beatle freaks, so the Beatles were a huge influence. And at Christmas we always listened to holiday albums by Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole, Andy Williams, the Carpenters and many more. I idolized all of them."
Haley's parents influenced their daughter in other ways. "My mom taught me to sing before I could talk. When I was a little older, my dad would scat to me and I would repeat every thing he did, like call and response. They took me to concerts with them. When I was a baby my first concert was Ziggy Marley. My parents tell me I was dancing, hopping up and down, and clapping at the end of every song, like I was cognizant of what was going on. It cracked them up!" After her sister Angela was born, Haley would sing to her and teach her how to dance. "Sometimes dad would put on some really percussive world music with heavy African or Latin beat and the two of us would move to whatever the groove was. After that through our childhood we would always put on a show with our own choreography." Haley was seven when she saw LeAnn Rimes sing her hit "Blue" on television. "We were all in awe,” says Haley. "I saw how amazed my parents were and I told them, 'I can do that.’ They just said, 'that's cute,’ but I insisted, telling them I could yodel like LeAnn. They said 'sure honey,’ so I had to show them. I listened to the Cranberries and I just knew I could yodel like the lead singer." Haley sang "Blue" for her parents and suddenly, they were convinced. "From that day on," Haley says, "I sang with them on stage as part of their act." Haley's mother enrolled her into acting classes, and she won roles in musicals such as "Annie” and "Grease.” As a teen, she joined the John Robert Powers agency and did some modeling. Haley also took vocal lessons - from her mom. "She taught me everything I know," Haley acknowledges. As a student, Haley appeared in middle school variety shows, and won a role in her high school production of "Seussical the Musical.” She enrolled in choir and studied jazz vocals for three years. She was a member of the vocal group Ruff off the Cuff and sang with her own group, Haley's Comets, as well as an a cappella group, Midnight Blue Vocal Jazz. She was also very involved in creative writing along with slam poetry. At the end of her junior year, Haley joined her high school's jazz band, where she really got to cut her teeth singing big band standards. They played local clubs in Chicago and won a state contest that gave them the opportunity to play at the Montreux Jazz Fest in Switzerland as well as the Umbria Jazz Fest in Italy. Haley graduated from Wheeling High School in 2009 and in June of that year she went to the Chicago audition for season nine of American Idol, a series she had been watching since season one, when she was 11 years old. "I remember meeting Crystal Bowersox in the bathroom, and Shania Twain too. All in all, it was a great experience, until the end when Simon Cowell said no. It broke my heart. I cried a lot and said I would never audition again." Haley was enrolled at the time in Harper College in Palatine, Ill., where she continued to mature as an artist, taking more jazz classes and singing in three different combos. When season 10 auditions were held in Milwaukee, Haley made a last minute decision to try out a second time. Randy Jackson, Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez sent her through to Hollywood week, where she impressed the judges to qualify for the top 24. From there Haley survived elimination every week, ultimately receiving millions of votes from fans, landing her in the season's top three. During the season, she delivered stellar performances of "God Bless the Child," "Bennie and the Jets," "Rolling in the Deep," "House of the Rising Sun," "I (Who Have Nothing)" and many others, including her childhood favorite, "Blue." She also made “American Idol” history by becoming the first contestant to perform on stage with a parent. Haley's dad accompanied her on guitar during top three week on Led Zeppelin's "What Is and What Should Never Be." "It was magical to have him on stage with me," says Haley. After the sensational season finale, where she sang a duet with legend Tony Bennett, Haley spent the summer on the road as part of the "American Idols Live!" tour, visiting xx cities and playing to arena - sized crowds all over the United States as well as Toronto and the Philippines. An EP of songs she performed on “American Idol,” released exclusively by Walmart, debuted on the Billboard 200 album chart. Haley then made news during the summer by signing to Interscope Records, a dream come true for the young star. She is already working on her debut album, writing songs and spending time in the studio with some of the industry's top songwriters and producers!