Excitement captivated the USC Campus on July 17, 2012 for Guest Professional Day for the GRAMMY Camp LA attendees. The 77 students gathered around a panel of four select music industry experts at the university's Carson Hall. While the four panelists remained open to answering any and all questions for the students, Scott Goldman exchanged questions with the panel, which consisted of Brian London, Haley Reinhart (American Idol), Steven Slate, and Ryan Rabin of GroupLove. Quickly stepping up to take their spot in front of the students, the panelists all arrived in a timely fashion to mentor the students in an hour session. However, students seem avidly mesmerized by the inspiring extrovert and former American Idol contestant in Haley Reinhart.
Creating her own "Cinderella story," Reinhart shared in an inspirational tale how her journey to placing third on the television show — that has launched the careers of Chris Daughtry and Kelly Clarkson - was a journey far from smooth. After originally auditioning for the television program, Reinhart ventured off into the auditions, where she eventually was rejected in the fourth round, which happened to be the round that precedes the judges' one. Openly speaking about the rejection she faced and ultimately had to overcome, Reinhart added, "I was crushed when I didn't make it past the judges." Failing to stray from the path and lose her interest in the music industry, Reinhart continued on her pursuit. Proudly sitting before the students, whose ears acted avidly like sponges taking in all of the advice, the joyful singer found the silver lining in such an ominous time. "I'm a big believer in fate and going with your instincts," Reinhart concluded before the crowd. Continuing on her pursuit of fulfilling her dreams, it was the following year that Reinhart auditioned and made it past the American Idol judges. She then finished third place during the tenth season of the reality television show.
After she finished at a notable spot in the competition, Interscope Records took note of Reinhart's performance and talent. Reinhart agreed to a deal with the label, but dismissed any destruction of her personal preference concerning songwriting. As some may deem themselves vulnerable to the excruciating pressure and fall short of what their hopes are for production and songwriting, Reinhart promised not to fall victim to such. Instead of allowing others to write for her, Reinhart enjoyed and prospered in the creative process she has always thrived in and prided herself in. Facing the questioning heads on when forced to decide whether or not she would write her own songs, Reinhart approached the record label and stated her opinion, "I need to maintain this artistry burning inside. I need to let it flourish and come out." Offering such a solution, she also exclaimed that, "If I don't let that out, it won't be a success for you guys." Considering how "a lot of things are rushed nowadays," Reinhart connected on a personal level and provided an insight for the ambitious students, vocalizing that, "If you have your own voice and you're into it and you write, then you have to be vocal about it."
A risk-taker on her own, Reinhart refused to settle when it came to her debut album, Listen Up! Playing an active role in the creative process, she didn't allow herself to be another piece in the record labels’ and music industry's games. Adapting to the fast-paced nature of the music industry, Reinhart had to produce all these tracks in a matter of three months, while connecting with various producers. The connection for her has remained the greatest part. Crediting the producers, Reinhart added, "The best part was walking in and talking about where you want to go with the music and the messages. All these things are important and you find yourself."
Not only did the recording and writing processes aid Reinhart in finding herself, it also helped her maintain her traditional moralistic values and protect her distinguished integrity. In an industry where you can easily be taken advantage of if you do not protect your integrity and savor those values most important to you, Reinhart can easily say now that she has created an album that she is "very, very proud of."
Following the panel session where Goldman controlled the microphone, GRAMMY Camp LA was allowed to ask the panelists questions. Sweetly enough, Reinhart displayed her truly altruistic nature in helping the young musicians step towards the type of success she has already achieved. Viewing the attentiveness of the audience, GRAMMY Camp LA learned that no matter the struggles they may face and obstacles they may have to overcome, there is always a silver lining.
Haley Reinhart is living proof of such.