Breaking through the random pop fantasies of modern chart-toppers, electropop diarist Hayley Kiyoko isn’t afraid to wear her art on her sleeve and bare her soul to the world, ‘cause she certainly can handle the truth.
There's no better feeling than to fully express something you’ve been holding in for so long, and for Hayley Kiyoko, she’s been lucky enough to have done it twice. First popping up our television screens through teen bopper movies like Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster and Lemonade Mouth, Hayley has always been listening to the beat of her own heart. “My first love was definitely music. I didn’t really plan to be an actress,” recalls the artist. “Music takes a long time to cultivate and turn into something that you’re proud of. I’ve been working on my music since I was young, but as I was getting older, I got into acting. I enjoy both, but I’m focusing all my energy on music right now.” Although she’s had an earlier stint in a five-piece girl group along with Tinashe called The Stunners, growing up to the lyrical stylings of Fiona Apple and Metric’s Emily Haines ushered her to tell her stories in her own way. “I love catchy melodies, so I always knew that pop was gonna be the right mold for me,” she shares. “I felt like I could add to the pop world because I definitely have a different perspective and point of view, so I’m glad that people are responding to it well and connecting to it on a level that I connect with.”
Apart from finding the proper channel for her voice, Hayley finally wore her colors proud following the release of her breakout anthem “Girl Like Girls” in 2015. Helping young women understand their sexuality one track at a time, she’s been raising the flag alongside the LGBTQ youth. “I’ve learned not to be afraid of the truth, accept who I am, and that there’s a place for me. I think when I was writing music in 2012, I really didn’t have a purpose. I was just
The more I share about my life and what I’ve gone through, the more I can help people be proud of who they are at an earlier age."
writing music, telling stories, and didn’t really know how it was gonna fit into this world. Now in 2017, I’m realizing that the more I share about my life and what I’ve gone through, the more I can help people be proud of who they are at an earlier age,” she suggests. “I think it’s really cool that people are connecting to the songs, going to my concerts, feeling free and open, and loving themselves because I never really meant to do that. I always thought I was just gonna release music, and the fact that it’s helping the community accept themselves–that makes it even better. I feel really lucky to be able to create that space for people. In the big scheme of things, it helps our society progress and move our generation closer to acceptance.”
Released in September of last year, her latest EP, aptly titled Citrine, proves how much of a gem she truly is to the music industry. Braving the world of modern pop with bubblegum hooks and sugar-coated melodies, Hayley ain’t just another sweet girl on the mic. Turning honest tales of glum into electropop jams of glam, she weaves her own brand of soul-baring pop that talks about what most people don’t. These stories matter and they echo throughout her entire catalog. “It’s a big compliment for someone to turn up my music when they need an escape, and I hope that I can be that escape for teens, adults, and whoever wants a little break from life. Even your grandparents [laughs],” shares Hayley. “I want my audience to stay hopeful and positive for the future and for themselves, and for them to accept the growing pains. You know, sometimes life is sad, sometimes it’s happy, sometimes it’s somewhere in the middle, and it’s important to validate those feelings and understand what we’re all going through.”
Hayley’s love for her fans is apparent, and fortunately, it’s what kept her moving past the minor fall she endured during her 25th birthday. Despite ending up with a concussion and subsequently being diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome, Hayley kept her stride and even released two self-directed music videos for “Gravel To Tempo” and “One Bad Night,” along with the release of her major label debut EP. “I really had a rough time last year because I felt like the thing that makes me an artist is really how my brain works, and when I hit my head last year, my brain wasn’t working the way it was supposed to,” she confesses. “So seeing my fans loving the music videos, even though I was doing these music videos with 50 percent of my brain not fully being there helped me so much. That kept me going and made me aware that I just had to get through this hard time because what I was doing had a purpose and a reason, and I couldn't stop." Hayley might've gotten a long way from her humble beginnings but she'es just getting started.
I want my audience to stay hopeful and positive for the future and for themselves, and for them to accept the growing pains...It’s important to validate those feelings and understand what we’re all going through.”