Photo by Will Wu for MOXI MAG
Less than a month after meeting then 17-yr-old Haley Vassar (age 19 now), my work phone rang. “Republic Records,” I answered.
“Hi, sorry to bother you at work. Do you have a minute?” said an exasperated yet eager voice on the other end of the line, sporting a 615 area code.
Quickly recognizing her voice, and her sense of urgency, I lied and said I did.
“I know you barely know me, so you probably think I’m crazy… but I don’t think I can go back to school this year.”
Haley, enrolled in private school in Nashville, was due for her first day of senior year in less than two weeks.
“Uhhh…” I stammered.
I barely knew this girl. At this point, I had spoken with her a few times over phone and had one demo recording for proof of her talent.
“I just have a gut feeling about it,” she said. “If I’m going to make music, I need to do it now.”
Carefully choosing my words, while simultaneously keeping an eye on my inbox and the other phone line, I did my best to maneuver carefully through the conversation: encourage a motivated young person, while still also trying to avoid steering this kid off a cliff.
Luckily, the feeling I got from my first conversation with Haley – a sense that this was someone who had a massive amount of untapped potential, and who was realizing the time had come to hit it – proved true in the months that followed.
Haley did drop out of school.
Well, private high school at least. She can’t take full credit for being a dropout, because she did in fact finish high school via online courses (with flying colors) and is currently enrolled in a part-time college undergrad program.
But – the minute she decided to do the thing. She did it. She went from being a regular high school senior to a young adult pursuing a career basically overnight.
Since then, Haley has moved to New York, written and recorded dozens of songs, collaborated with a variety of writers and producers from Nashville, New York, and LA, played numerous live shows, released two original singles, a music video, and has her debut EP on the way.
SO - with Issue Two hot on the heels of Haley’s latest release “Alright,” a girl power pop anthem oozing with femininity, MOXI MAG presents: Beauty School Dropout – a photo story.
Directed by Haley Vassar, Will Wu, and Wallace Morgan. Shot by photographer Will Wu.
Inspired by the haziness of daydreams, the beauty of femininity, and the gumption to drop out of “normal” in order to pursue your passion.
Listen to Haley Vassar Music HERE.