An Interview With Award Winning Composer ,Pianist and violinist Hayley Lam

New York based pianist and violinist, Hayley Lam is an award winning composer who specializing in both contemporary jazz and classical music. She began her studies in music at a very young age, earning her Associate Diploma, ATCL Recital Piano from the Trinity College of London when she was just eleven. She then proceeded to earn her Licentiate Diploma, LTCL Recital Piano and Associate Diploma, ATCL Recital Violin a couple of years later. Hayley is also a holder of the Yamaha Teacher’s Grade specializing in Piano since the age of twelve.

With a profound interest in contemporary and jazz music, she was awarded a scholarship to further her studies at the prestigious Berklee College of Music. With her exceptional musical abilities, she completed her Bachelor of Music with a Five-years Dual Major Degree Program in Performance and Jazz Composition in just one and a half years.

With her musicianship compared to as “Stravinsky meets Brookmeyer”, she was selected as the Finalist at the Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra (SWOJO) Annual Jazz Composition Contest for Women Composer in 2016 and as the showcase winner at the JEN International Jazz Conference held at New Orleans. Hayley Lam is also a 2017 Global Music Awards (GMA) winner in the Composer and Jazz Big Band category. GMA is a top-tier international music competition that honors talented musicians around the world. She is also commissioned for her works to be played at the Women of the World equator festival, which will be held in London later this year.

Q: What’s your motto or the advice you live by?

Ans: As cheesy as it sounds, I go by “If you never try, you’ll never know”. I was brought up in a very conservative household where I need to follow certain rules and I was told what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’. Likewise, there is some kind of expectations for me to choose a ‘right’ career. And as I grew up I begin to understand that this is my own life and I should take control of what I want to do.

Doesn’t matter I succeed or not, but as long as I try, I have no regrets. I begin to see that every mistake or failure that I encounter is just a step closer to the goal that I want to achieve, and from there I am not afraid to take a leap of faith to try something that is out of my comfort zone.

Q: For our readers who have never heard your music, explain your sound in 5 words?

Ans: Beautiful , Abstract, Mysterious, Unexpected, Exciting.


Q: You write all of your own music; where do you draw inspiration from when you write songs and what’s your favorite part about the proccess?

ANS: It it really difficult for me to pin point what exactly gives me insipiration for the music I write because I feel that I could take any kind of material from my daily life, be it a sound from the street, an object of interest etc and turn them into a piece of composition. I have written composition based off paintings, photographs or even by interacting with other musicians. I also like to explore around my piano the kind of sounds and textures that I can create from the instrument. Most of the time, these ideas will then turned into compositions.

Q: At what age did you start music?

ANS: I started really really young! When I was just 2 years old.

Q:Do you have any events coming up or recording going on right now?

Ans: Yes! I am currently working on a brand new EP album that is coming out very soon. I am very excited to share this to the world as it is about my journey so far in my life. The single entitled “Being Alive” will be released end of July, so be sure to check out my website at!

Q:When and why did you start playing?

ANS: I started to pick up music when I was really young. To be honest, I can’t really remember the exact details on how I ended up playing music. But from what I was told, I was begging for music lessons when I saw my brother playing the piano and my mum had to push me to learn my ABC before she could enroll me in the music course. I have been loving it since.

Q:  Which famous musicians have you learned from?

Ans: Steve Hunt who used to be the keyboardist for the late Allan Holdsworth has always been my mentor since I came to the States. Not only I am inspired by his music, he is a wonderful and kind-hearted soul who is always supporting me in my musical journey.

Q:  Describe your first instrument. Other instruments.

Ans: Piano is my very first instrument that I picked up when I was very little, along side with the violin as my second instrument. They are both very different in terms of skill execution but I enjoyed them both! Currently, I am exploring on the creation of sound patches using my synthesizers and I get very inspired to write more music with new patches.

 Q:  Who are your favorite musicians? Groups? CD’s?

Ans: There are too many to name here. I have a pretty wide appetite where I listen to anything from classical, EDM, pop, funk, R&B, jazz to rock progressive. There are however a few groups/musicians that I really like, The Mahavisnu Orchestra, Weather Report, Frank Zappa, Return to Forever and Allan Holdsworth just to name a few.

Q: Have you been in competitions? Fleadh’s? Any prizes?

Ans: Actually, yes I have been through countless music competitions since I was still a child. I have been on both national and international competitions, from piano instrument, singing and songwriting to even composition contests for large orchestra. Some of the international competition that I won this year includes the international composition contest “Contemporary Piano 2017” which was held at Athens, Global Award Music Winner in the composer and jazz band category and also the Composer Showcase Winner of the International Jazz Conference JEN held at New Orleans.

Thanks for taking time out of your day:)