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This Album Changed My Life: Hayley Jensen On Carrie Underwood’s ‘Storyteller’

4 May 2023 | 12:38 pm | Mallory Arbour

“I know, it may seem cliché that I’ve chosen another blonde, female country-pop artist that also got her start on an Idol show!”

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Hayley Jensen has spent the best part of two decades honing her craft and collaborating with the best in the business from across the globe. She became a household name after becoming a finalist on Australian Idol, and later The Voice in 2014, where she was described as ‘the whole package’ by coach Kylie Minogue.

After self-releasing her first #1 iTunes Country album Past Tense & Present Peace in 2007, Hayley released her ARIA #3 Australian Country Album, Turning Up The Dial in 2018. The record was the 3rd highest selling Australian Country Album according to ARIA. Her latest, Breakin’ Hearts, which, when released in October 2021, shot up to #1 on the ARIA Country Album Chart.

Earlier this year, Hayley was nominated for ‘Female Artist of the Year’ at the Golden Guitar AwardsHer latest single, Bring It On is full of groove and swagger, capturing her unique, signature style of country. And just as we’ve come to expect from Hayley, it also contains a passionate message:

"We’ve all felt undervalued, underestimated and taken advantage of at some point in our lives. Just as we’ve all had self-doubt and questioned our worth. Bring It On is an empowering anthem about standing up for yourself and finding the strength to fight for the life you deserve. I really hope this song inspires others to do just that!”

To learn more about Hayley Jensen, we asked her about an album that changed her life.


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Hayley Jensen On Carrie Underwood’s Storyteller

“I know, it may seem cliché that I’ve chosen another blonde, female country-pop artist that also got her start on an Idol show! But it is what it is! To this day, Storyteller is still one of my favourite albums to listen to front to back. It’s like a drama-filled soundscape that takes you on a musical adventure. Even the B-sides are masterpieces in my opinion.

Anthemic, driving drums and percussion. Big toms with cymbals only used as accents. All other instrumentation seems to only exist to serve the vocals, which, by the way, are outstanding, and really do capture the intensity of the emotion fuelled stories they carry. Supported by beautifully layered harmonies, which are hooks in themselves. And lyrically, as the title of the album suggests, they’re relatable, clever and contain enough twists & turns to keep you on the edge of your seat for the entire record.

A few of my favourite tracks are Church Bells, Heartbeat, Dirty Laundry, Chaser and Clock Don’t Stop, but I really do appreciate listening to all of them.

I was lucky enough to see Carrie perform this album live at Madison Square Garden to a sold-out crowd on the same trip to New York where my husband proposed to me on the Brooklyn Bridge! I’d never experienced live music on such a grand scale. The music and stage production, costumes, instrumentation and vocals were larger than life. It was truly one of the most inspiring live shows I’ve ever seen. And of course, one of the most memorable trips of my life!

I didn’t grow up listening to a whole lot of country, but I did grow up listening to lots of great music – The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac and crossover country acts like Jewel, Shania Twain and Sheryl Crow, but I also loved bands like The Cranberries and Evanescence – where the soaring vocals and stories are the centrepiece atop dramatic music.

I remember hearing Storyteller when it was released in 2015, at a time when I was feeling quite lost musically and having an overwhelming ‘knowing’ that there was a home for me in country music. It changed my life and I’ve never looked back!”


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