Oscar-nominated Hailee Steinfeld embarks on pop music career
Oscar-nominated actress Hailee Steinfeld, who has found success in films, talks about making her foray into the music business
Whatever you do, do not ask US actress and singer Hailee Steinfeld about being in pop star Taylor Swift's famous squad.
Even though the Oscar-nominated 19-year-old did appear in Swift's star-studded Bad Blood music video and even rolled up to the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards red carpet with the rest of Swift's gal pals.
On being a part of this exclusive clique, Steinfeld told M in a phone interview from Manila, where she was promoting her debut four-track pop EP Haiz: "Good...um, it's great. I've been friends with Taylor for a couple of years now and she's so great and it's been so nice knowing her and being able to learn so much from her.
"By watching her and knowing her, I'm able to take away so much from what she does. It's awesome."
But she began to sound annoyed when asked how big the squad - which includes Selena Gomez, Gigi Hadid, Cara Delevingne and Lily Aldridge - really is.
"I don't know. I really don't know. I'd rather not talk about it," she said.
Perhaps Steinfeld is just done with being associated with any collective.
After all, she has her own projects and solo music career to focus on.
She debuted her musical aspirations in last year's hit musical comedy sequel Pitch Perfect 2, in which she starred as Emily Junk, the latest member of a capella group Barden Bellas.
She went on to release an acoustic cover of Flashlight, a song featured in the film and originally performed by English singer Jessie J on the soundtrack.
She also signed a recording contract with Republic Records and released Haiz last November.
Steinfeld, who was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Mattie Ross in the Coen brothers' 2010 Western True Grit, said: "I have always wanted to pursue music and I started around the same time I got into acting, when I was 10.
"But the acting happened before (music), so music became a bit of a side project over the last couple of years, until Pitch Perfect 2 gave me the opportunity to really go forward.
"I always hoped for my music career to somehow take off through a movie because it was always important to me how well I transition into this."
Love Myself, the lead single from Haiz, was released last August and garnered media attention for its empowering message.
In February this year, Steinfeld followed it up with Rock Bottom, featuring US funk pop band DNCE, which is fronted by US singer and ex-Jonas Brothers member Joe Jonas.
Said the Jonas Brothers fan who used to have a crush on the lead singer: "Collaborating with Joe on the song has been so much fun. I love the band.
"They're so great and they've added a whole new element to the song. I'm even more in love with the song now that they're on it," she said.
"I'm working on my album now and I'm so excited about it. The music is sounding really amazing and there's nothing like a first album, so I'm putting everything I can into it and spending as much time on it to make it great.
"My sound is still in a place where it's changing and evolving and what it is right now might not necessarily be what it is when (the album) comes out," she added.
That's not to say Steinfeld - who has been starring in young adult films in recent years like Barely Lethal, Romeo And Juliet and Ender's Game - is rejecting movie roles that come her way.
"I will... continue with my acting, but it will be more spread out so that I can dedicate 100 per cent to each at one time.
"There's something so incredible about being able to see a movie and you kind of lose yourself in someone else's story... it's really quite gratifying.
"But with the music, it's the opposite, where I get to tell my own story and connect with people on a more personal level that I can't through movies," she said.