Review: Hailee Steinfeld & Grey – Starving (feat. Zedd)

Singer and actress Hailee Steinfeld just dropped her new single “Starving” featuring Zedd. Most known for her role as Emily Junk in Pitch Perfect 2 and Mattie Ross in the 2010 film True Grit, for which she got a nomination at the Oscars, Hailee launched her music career under Republic records last summer.

Charlie Walk, President of Republic Records, about the launch of Hailee’s music career in May 2015

“The moment that we met Hailee we found her commitment to music inspiring,” said Republic Records executive vice president Charlie Walk. “She has the vision, natural talent and dedication to compete at the highest level. We are thrilled to be a part of her musical journey.” from Billboard

After releasing “Love Myself”, a light, upbeat, fun Pop song that reminds of Charli XCX and Icona Pop (read my review of her debut single here ), Hailee released her debut EP “Haiz” on November 13th. Next to the lead single, “Haiz” included “You’re Such A”, “Hell No’s And Headphones” and the second single “Rock Bottom”. The EP is being re-released with the addition of new single “Starving” as a bonus track.


Interestingly, “Starving” does not sound like your usual Zedd produced track. The guitar driven intro gives the song a very laid-back vibe, and although it picks up in tempo later this vibe is present throughout the track and quite frankly gives the song its identity. The influences of different genres, going from EDM all the way to a slight “folky” vibe, blend in extremely well, which is certainly the work of a good production team behind the track. From the verses, consisting only of a guitar riff, the usual snaps and Hailee’s vocals, the chorus changes pace with a significantly bigger production, which then transitions into an EDM breakdown. Even though the breakdown doesn’t change the pace of the song, as it also carries that laid-back sound, it seems slightly out of place and quite frankly a bit unnecessary. But given the fact that this is a Zedd track and the breakdown is probably a bit of a signature stamp, I think we can look over that slight critique.

Most memorable line, although really cheesy but extremely fitting: “Don’t need no butterflies when you give me the whole damn zoo”

What happens when those cheesy but effective lyrics, Hailee’s solid vocals and the production come together is a really laid-back, dreamy and summery love anthem. The track quite nicely describes the feelings of a young love story.

“I didn’t know that I was starving ’till I tasted you”

This Zedd collaboration has worked quite well for Steinfeld, who now has another strong and radio friendly single on her hands. The track is already starting to do quite well on US Pop Radio. Though I doubt it can match the success of her first single “Love Myself”, which got a iHeart Radio “On The Verge” Radio deal upon release, “Starving” will most likely still turn out to be quite a success for Hailee. This style of music works really well for Steinfeld and could easily serve as the introduction to a full length album. Although Hailee has previously stated that music is only a side project for her, the transition from actress to an actress-singer hybrid career is working out quite nicely and leaves everyone wondering how far Hailee’s music career can still go.

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