By 2016, Hailey had recorded 3 albums under her own name and had received many accolades in the jazz community including a first place win at the Mary Lou Williams saxophone competition at age 19, charting on Billboard, plaudits from Nat Hentoff in the Wall Street Journal, rave reviews in JazzTimes, Jazziz and NPR, and named a Rising Star on alto and soprano saxophone on DownBeat’s Critics’ Poll for 9 consecutive years. She has toured and performed with a number of notable artists including Esperanza Spalding, Kenny Barron, Harvey Mason, Wolff & Clark Expedition, Mulatu Astatke, Ralph Peterson, and Terri Lyne Carrington, on whose Grammy Award winning album The Mosaic Project she recorded flute. In the pop realm, she has performed with Demi Lovato and Sleigh Bells, and can be heard playing flute on Beyoncé’s “Black Parade.” Most recently, Hailey has been touring with pop star Clairo.
MAE.SUN has performed at notable venues including SFJAZZ Center, PDX Jazz and many prominent venues in New York City. MAE.SUN has also performed at BRIC Jazz Fest, San Jose Jazz Summer Fest, and New York’s Winter Jazz Fest. She performed a live set on WBGO’s The Checkout, and most recently was the featured demo performer for Roland’s new Aerophone Pro. Hailey can also be heard in collaboration with Mia Garcia as part of their newest project OHMA. OHMA’s first album Between All Things was released September 2022, and they just completed their first tour across North America with French Kiwi Juice.
“My music started to come from a place that felt so much more than just ‘me,’” she has said. “I wanted to depart from my birth name and put music out under a new moniker. MAE is my middle name, and SUN was chosen from inspiring words by the Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, who said, ‘The sun is our second heart…[the] great heart outside of our body.’ Essentially, our universal, collective heart.”
Her music taps into the collective consciousness, serving as an engaging meditation for all. Though she can be primarily heard on saxophones, flute and vocals, she also plays clarinet, piano and guitar. MAE.SUN’s cosmic debut album Vol. 1: Inter-be was released in 2017, followed by Vol. 2: Into The Flow in 2019. Vol. 3 is set to be released in 2023.