This Is How I Became A Huge Halsey Fan

My first introduction to Halsey (Ashley Frangipane) was when she appeared on the Today show last November with Justin Bieber. For anyone living under a rock, Halsey collaborated on the Purpose album track, “The Feeling.”  I was getting ready for work, and only half paying attention to their performance. I had never heard of Halsey, so I kind of chalked her up to being another glamorized indie music girl who was lucky enough to be plucked from obscurity by one of the biggest pop stars in the world to enjoy fifteen minutes in the spotlight before returning to her loyal fans of the music underground.

Then I kinda forgot about her until I was out on a December night in NYC to see The 1975. After the show, I ended up at this hip and trendy underground bar in the East Village. I was with my friend Christy and she had this sort of mini-freak out because Halsey was at the same bar as us. I saw her comfortably seated in the back talking to a couple people I knew, and I immediately felt guilty for having a snooty attitude about her. Like WTF was my problem?? Here was a 21-year-old musician who has clearly put in the work to be granted incredible opportunities and was pretty much the chillest girl in the room. She wasn’t looking around to see who else was there. She wasn’t wasted or making a scene or acting entitled to special treatment. I suddenly felt that between the two of us she was the better person. Ugh…I felt so dumb. Yet, I woke up the next morning and still didn’t give her music a listen.

More than 2 months went by and my friend Christy was back in town. The 1975 had just dropped their new album, I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It, and it was on repeat for the better part of her stay. Then, while getting ready for a night out, Christy switched up the music and started playing Halsey’s 2014 EP, Room 93. That was the moment I became a huge Halsey fan.

Her haunting lyrics, moody beats, and ethereal pop vocals made my music heart swell. Not just for the fact that every track was so carefully crafted to stand strong outside it’s collective, but the EP was so damn relatable to the roller coaster of experiences and emotions that pop up while navigating the choppy waters of young adulthood. I realized I was someone who had been living under a huge fucking rock.

After that weekend, I took a much closer look at Halsey. I read interviews and went through her Instagram. I found out she’s toured with massive acts like Imagine Dragons, is tight with the guys from 5 Seconds Of Summer, and in 2012 lived in what she told Billboard was, “A 2012 equivalent of the Chelsea Hotel. There were white rappers, a guy who plays the harp, ­someone doing holistic healing for dogs, copious amounts of substances. I was doing drugs, then cleaning up, fading in and out of psychosis. It was very Almost Famous.”  I loved that she shaved her head to stop the media from talking about her ever-changing hair colors. I appreciated her true authenticity, her unapologetic honesty, and a work ethic that only those with true passion and drive possess.

I will be the first to admit I am way late catching a ride on the Halsey music train, but I’m so glad I got onboard. As a massive star-on-the-rise, who also happens to be a woman of color, she’s the breath of fresh air we’ve all been waiting on to inspire the millennial generation and the music industry. Halsey is badass because she owns her role model status and uses it in a way to mentor and inspire others who are working toward the same thing. Case in point, Halsey recently popped up at USC to participate in Samsung’s ongoing LEVEL Music Lab. It gave aspiring musicians the opportunity to interact with Halsey as she shared what it took to break into the music biz and discover who and what inspired her along the way.

If you’re a longtime fan of Halsey, I totally get it. I apologize for being so blind at first and passing unwarranted judgement. For those of you who have yet to discover her music magic, just put her album, BADLANDS, on repeat in your ears and prepare for your life to have a little more magic in it.