Halsey sits down with radio personality Zane Lowe in a large church. As she gives insight into her new album, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom (due June 2) her voice picks up speed. The excitement of a new chapter brings her into an artistic space not many people can possess. She describes the album as a “hyperbolized smash cut fantasy Halsey cinematic universe.” (Say that ten times fast…)
The New Jersey native is back to sporting her short hair-do and remains a confident force in the process. She says to Lowe, “I think I’m done explaining things though, which I feel like I really had to do in the beginning.” Being a pop star is hard, but being a female pop star in 2017 is even harder. In a society where sex sells and Instagram buys fame, how can a woman be appreciated for her art and not her sex appeal? She sheds light on the music industry by reminding us that we live in a “single” heavy world. One hit track is all you need to be #1. It’s become harder and harder for people to consume a concept album (like what she’s created with HFK).
She cites Romeo and Juliet as a huge inspiration for the album with a nod to genius writer/director Baz Luhrmann (“The Great Gatsby”, “Australia”, “Romeo & Juliet”). Instead of feeling connected to the female protagonist, Halsey feels more connected to Romeo. “I have human relationships like songs,” she continues to say, “I think chasing a formula is authentic.” Diving further into the album, she mentions the three genres that make up the 16-song tracklist: urban, pop, and electronic.
Tapping into the feminine themes on the album, she discusses the inspiration behind “Strangers”, her song with Lauren Jauregui from Fifth Harmony, saying she wanted it to be as if Pat Benatar and Stevie Nicks wrote a love song together. A duet between two females is something lacking in the pop radio world – Halsey plans to change that. Since both women are openly bisexual, she wants to highlight that love songs aren’t just for women and men.
Her second single off the album titled, “Eyes Closed” is reminiscent of a beat you would hear on a Weeknd track. In fact, Halsey said The Weeknd was in the studio doing ad libs to this beat and she immediately felt inspired to write a poem around it. She sings, “Now if I keep my eyes closed, he looks just like you.” It was an unfinished melody with no words that she has now made her own. Often being referred to as the female version of The Weeknd, dark pop is something that seems to be growing in popularity (The Weeknd, Lana Del Rey, now Halsey). Most female musicians take on the usual pop route. Halsey seems to have a healthy balance of everything she needs to succeed, on and off the radio.
As a pioneer in music, Halsey has taken it upon herself to restore art into music while keeping a relevant sound and style. Something other female musicians can learn from.