Following a performance celebrating National Cereal Day with Kellogg’s last night (March 6), Hailee Steinfeld went from gushing over her favorite cereal (a Frosted Flakes and Frosted Mini Wheats combo, in case you were curious) to fangirling over Kelly Clarkson. Steinfeld had the chance to work with the newest Voice coach as a guest mentor this season, a situation that younger Hailee would’ve never seen coming.
“I was so excited when she invited me to advise her team, because what she didn’t know was that she was a huge influence on me when I was younger,” Steinfeld told Billboard. “When Kelly was on American Idol my parents surprised me and my brother with tickets to the show. I just remember looking at my dad and having him tell me that one day I would be on that stage too. It was one of those moments that reinforced my dream of pursuing music.”
Steinfeld’s time with Clarkson wasn’t just a dream come true, though. As the “Most Girls” singer continues to work on her debut album, the 21-year-old took a few pointers from the 35-year-old superstar too.
“One of the main things I learned from Kelly is to determine when and where to add embellishments in a song,” Steinfeld explained. “She knows how to choose the right moment to give you that extra wow factor without it feeling like too much. A lot of times singing is based on feelings, but you also need to be able to make smart choices and pick the moments of greatest impact. She’s someone I truly admire.”
Before temporarily joining Team Kelly, Steinfeld has been teaming up with several other hitmakers like BloodPop and Alesso for her most recent releases, the Fifty Shades Freed track “Capital Letters” and the Florida Georgia Line/Watt-assisted “Let Me Go,” respectively. The pop star will also be heading out on tour with Katy Perry this summer, and then will serve as Charlie Puth‘s special guest on his VoiceNotes Tour. While she may be prepping her solo album, Steinfeld knows she owes a lot of her growth over the last few years to those she’s worked with, whether it’s an American Idol or a producer.
“With each collaboration you take away another lesson,” she said. “It just goes to show that when you get creative people in a room together, the possibilities are endless.”
Steinfeld also talked about her love for Clarkson in a Voice preview. Check it out below, and catch Steinfeld on The Voice later this season.