Haley Hendrickson on American Idol

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As she sang her heart out in front Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson she heard those four words every person auditioning for American Idol wants to hear: “You’re going to Hollywood!”


When American Idol first aired in 2002, Haley was excited. People pushed her to try out each season, and finally, after ten years of being encouraged, it really felt right. Hendrickson thought it would be a great opportunity to be heard and let her music get out there, even if she didn’t win.


Haley Hendrickson, 19, grew up in Orem with her family.  Her love of music began when she sang with her mom in their church choir at a young age.


“I was the five-year-old girl in the soprano section,” Hendrickson said.


Although Haley is used to a crowd now, there was a time when the idea of performing frightened her.


“I used to be embarrassed to sing in front of people,” Hendrickson said, “the only times I would sing were in the shower, while mowing the lawn or when something was really loud.”


Haley was always drawn to music and decided to learn to play the ukulele before she would learn to play the guitar.  She wrote poetry and songs all through junior high school and at the age of 13 made her debut at Velour music gallery in downtown Provo.


By the time she was 15 she was comfortable singing in front of others. You could find her singing and playing her guitar outside of malls and restaurants. She also took advantage of Velour’s “open mic nights” to share her music with the world.


“I have a love for the people around me and I want that to come across through my music, so I put everything into it,” said Hendrickson.


A couple of months ago Haley went for it and flew to Denver to audition for American Idol against a couple of thousand people.  She spent two nights in front of the stadium where the auditions were being held.  Haley was overwhelmed with excitement.


Known as Haley Smith on the show, the song she chose to sing for her first audition was “Tell Me Something Good” by Rufus and Chaka Khan because of the positive effect it had on her life and way of thinking the first time she heard it.


“It would make me really happy and that’s something that I wanted to share with my music,” said Hendrickson.


The American Idol judges expressed their intrigue in the 60s/70s era vibe they got from Haley.  Steven Tyler, current judge and musician, told Haley he was “honored to be there listening to her voice.”


Haley has learned a few things on her musical journey.  She’s gotten to know herself, as well as the real world, much better.


“It’s really taught me a lot about myself and what I can handle out there,” said Haley, “I have to make decisions for myself and put my heart into what I decide to do.”


Haley has a message for aspiring musicians:


“Don’t ever give up.  Let every moment and experience change your life.  Remember your passion for things in both sad and joyful experiences and never forget to remember.”


Good luck on your journey, Haley.


By Yvette Cruz


To check out her audition on American Idol visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=K_ejmNfinPc