Aubrey Haddard is wise beyond her years

Photo by Darius Hale

Photo by Darius Hale

Aubrey Haddard is only 25, but she’s a masterclass in radical empathy. With wisdom far beyond her years, she rattles off maxims like, “When I’m working on something good, it’s important to practice and remember the bad stuff.”

Aubrey’s music is equally sage in both sound and lyricism. Her voice -- soulful, raspy, and kind -- warms rooms regardless if it’s recorded or live, filling spaces with pure joy.

Part of that joy comes from Aubrey’s love of the music-making process. She admittedly takes great pleasure in thinking about the beauty in the English language, finding the music in phrases spoken by those around her. “When it’s really good,” she said, “syllables are married to notes almost immediately.”

But it’s more than just the music itself -- the notes and tones and melodies -- that drive Aubrey. As a highly emotional person, she wants music to speak to sentiments: both owned by her and others. She regards music as an outlet for her feelings (and others’) and a space for listeners to “have their own emotional reckoning.” Because of that, her songs are inclusive of experiences, welcoming in sound, and thoughtful in lyrics.

“I started to accept however I was feeling as my truth,” she said. “Music is the outlet for me to reckon with those emotions.”

A Hudson Valley native, Aubrey grew up in a household and community that valued creativity. She remembers playing the baritone in her middle school band; she was originally assigned clarinet, but “was pissed because a dozen other girls were assigned the same instrument.”

Her fire followed her to taking a year of travel and adventure before entering Berklee College of Music. That year of self-discovery changed a few things: for one, she no longer wanted to be an academic and an engineer. Music became “an obvious choice.”

But the way that school can promote further self-discovery for some, it soon began to slow down her music career. While she was blown away by the community of musicians and still remains active in the Berklee network, she also started losing out on gig opportunities, having to decide between waitressing to pay for school, going to school, and playing a gig. So, she left Berklee.

That choice has allowed her to build a solid following and better yet: work on her next record.

With a strong handle on her songwriting process and an even better understanding of herself, Aubrey has “never enjoyed listening to [her] own music as much as [she has] now.” Part of that is also the process of carving out her narrative and continuing to lean into her emotional reckoning.

“I want people to hear it and understand,” she said. She wants them to understand a lot of things -- her story, first and foremost. But also that she gets it, whatever you’re going through: the pain, the confusion, the growth. That’s what her music is about, and she’s only just getting started.

Hannah Weiner