Singer-songwriter Hayley Marsten recently released her debut album Spectacular Heartbreak. It comes off the back of ever-increasing exposure and popularity as singles off the album, including ‘Wendy’ and ‘Red Wine, White Dress’, strike a chord with listeners across the country. Marsten has found herself reaching an unprecedented audience and connecting with people through her sometimes sassy, always heartfelt personality.
Speaking about Spectacular Heartbreak, Marsten says it’s ‘as dramatic as it sounds. I had two really clear visions coming in: I only wanted to work with people I was friends with so I could be as honest and exposed as possible, and I wanted the album to sound like my personality: big, and a little dramatic, but still fun with a bit of risk. I think those visions were realised.’
From ‘Wendy’, a tribute to the strength and guidance of Marsten’s mother, to ‘Pretty’, which takes aim at the expectations of aesthetic beauty, Spectacular Heartbreak takes listeners on a journey that’s both universal and incredibly personal. “It was tragic, confusing, it was more than I could take,” sings Marsten on the title track and it’s the perfect way to describe the album itself: tragic, confusing, magic and moving. The biggest gut punch comes last with ‘Time I Have’, which finds Marsten addressing her priorities after playing at a friend’s wake after their unexpected death.
The album was recorded with ARIA Award and Golden Guitar winning producer Matt Fell at Love HZ Studio in Sydney in what’s been an ongoing and successful professional relationship. ‘He really flipped for my vision of the album,’ says Marsten, ‘and totally ran with my ideas.’ Those ideas included bringing strings into the studio and letting Arna Georgia, her friend and fellow country musician, whistle on one of the tracks.
‘I think that at first glance you could probably write this as just another break-up album,’ says Marsten, ‘but it’s much more than that. With a name like Spectacular Heartbreak you’d be correct in assuming I’ve run into a few heartbreaks over the past two years, but I don’t hear sadness or defeat in this record. It’s about strength and acceptance, about standing up for what you believe is right and living like you don’t how much time you have. I think it’s the perfect representation of me as a young woman finding her place in the world and trying to find the spectacular in the heartbreak.’
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