'American Idol' Veteran Haley Reinhart's New Single 'Defines' Her

'Free,' which the singer describes as a 'playful, fresh' break-up track, is the first single off her debut album, Listen Up!

She may not have been crowned the winner of last season's "American Idol," but that hasn't seemed to have any effect on the career of third-place finisher Haley Reinhart. The singer captivated viewers week after week on "Idol" by bringing her own soulful flare to songs like Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" and Lady Gaga's "You and I."

And now, nearly a year later, the jazzy singer is finally ready to show fans who she really is with "Free," the first single off her debut album, Listen Up!

"It's amazing," Reinhart told MTV News Wednesday (March 28) of the release of her single. "I know I took some time after the tour just to make things work and really worth it for me and the fans. It feels amazing to actually put it out there, my own material. I just wanted to make sure it had substance to it, and really could define me and show the artistry."

Reinhart, who returned to the "Idol" stage last week to perform "Free," says it's the perfect song to define the artist she's striving to be.

"I picked it out while I was touring with the 'Idols' and I was getting all these songs shipped into me," she said of "Free." "This one I just had to stop and say 'Hey this has my name written on it.' It's something that I can look in the future and see it being able to define me. It's got elements of the sultry, even hints of jazz in there."

On Tuesday, Reinhart made her acting debut when she played herself on "90210," and we will see her stretch her acting ability even more when she debuts the video for "Free" on Thursday. She said the filming the video was "a dream come true."

"I had this vision and the director, Christopher Sims, really brought it to life for me," she said. "There's a guy involved, it is kind of a motivational break-up song, so I wanted to keep it mature, yet have the playful scenery behind us. We put it out in a '50s-style diner and just kept it playful, fresh."

And she's bringing that playful, fresh vibe to Listen Up! which features collaborations with rapper B.o.B and Reinhart's own father (whom she performed with on "Idol").

"You're going to be surprised to hear a lot of different flavors, but at the same time it all meshes well together," she said of the album, which hits stores May 22. "I show a lot of different sides. I have my roots I come from a lot of different genres, so you'll hear definitely sultriness throughout the entire thing, very retro yet modern take, and there's pop undertones in it with some funk jazz rock, it's got a lot going on."

What do you think of Haley's single "Free"? Let us know in the comments.