Halsey’s catchy confessional anthems strike at the heart and mind, and her proudly individual aesthetic reflects that fierce spirit.
At only 21, Halsey has already written the songs that her fans will describe as life-changing. Brilliantly honest and heartfelt, she's not afraid to explore the darker edges of life in her lyrics, and does so with brave wit and brashness. It’s hard not to be inspired! Her catchy confessional anthems strike at the heart and mind, but her talents don’t stop there. She’s also a terrific video artist and painter, adopting “blue” as her trademark colour, mood — even attitude! — which led her to create an original mural for her M·A·C Future Forward shoot.
SHE ALWAYS HAD A VOICE – THEN SHE LEARNED HOW TO MAKE PEOPLE LISTEN
I’ve always been a writer, always been an artist. One of the hardest things for me was that I would write stuff and hand it to people and they would kind of scan over it and hand it back, and I’d be like, “Did you get the point…did you get the message?” and I’d get a nod and they’d say, “Oh yeah, it’s good, it’s good.” I think a lightbulb went off for me as a teenager that if I sang what I wrote, it kind of forced people to have to hear it from my voice. I demanded their attention that way.
“I am honest and candid and probably a little
less filtered than I should be.
I’m hotheaded and opinionated. I am artistic.
I am difficult to talk to. I walk a line between
introvert and extrovert. As a musician, everyone
wants to box you in. I have dimensions;
I am allowed to be different every day!”
SHE IS HOTHEADED — AND HER FANS LOVE HER FOR IT
I am honest and candid and probably a little less filtered than I should be. I’m hotheaded and opinionated. I am artistic. I am difficult to talk to. I walk a line between introvert and extrovert. As a musician, everyone wants to box you in. I have dimensions; I am allowed to be different every day! My fans describe me as someone they know, and that’s what makes our bond unique. I’ve given them the ability to get to know me.
SHE LEARNED ABOUT LIFE AS A NOMAD
I moved around a lot as a kid, so I had to learn to reinvent myself and mush myself down into a digestible form of myself. People didn’t have time to get to know me, so I had to have a boxed up version of myself ready: this is who I am, this is what I do, and this is why you should like me. Now, as a musician, I can control what people see and think of me — there is a form of ego and attention-wanting in any form of art, because you have to be a pretty brave person to put it out there.
GUT > LOGIC
I am constantly evolving and improving; all artists are. Nothing I do is orthodox or technical or formulaic. When I make music, I don’t think, “Is this pop, or rock, or urban?” I don’t think about brush techniques or compatible mediums. I go with my gut. What you make is a reflection of you. Examining myself through my art allows me to notice what I want to get better at. I could be less self-critical, I could be more open to new friends, and — as headstrong as I am — I could trust myself more. I trust myself a lot, but if I trusted myself even more, then being a musician would be a lot easier.
I don’t get the chance to paint anymore. I wanted to go to school to be a painter and while I love being a musician even more, I still love to paint, and being on the road on a bus doesn’t give me that liberty. I draw people a lot, the same way I write about people. I’m fascinated by the human condition. For M·A·C, I painted three women, different races and in different positions, some looking more vulnerable than others. I surrounded them with an explosion of blue!
Blue is my creative colour. I describe my music as blue, I had blue hair for a really long time, and when I record vocals, I use blue lights — I use them on stage as well. It’s such a versatile colour. It can be bright and electric or it can be moody and ethereal, or calm and watery. I like that, because I’m also multidimensional!
I was a weird kid. I had tattoos, I shaved my head, I was always walking around the hallways of my high school covered in paint. My best friend was my art teacher. I would tell the weird kid to keep fighting because all the little battles that you’re fighting right now will help you win the war in the end.