On September 29, 1994, a glittering soul with a powerful, raspy voice rose from New Jersey — giving us electro-pop queen Halsey.
Whether she’s on stage or on standing up for societal issues, she has a captivating presence. We appreciate her honesty, creativity, and work for the LGBTQ+ community and sexual assault survivors. When her feature in Rolling Stone appeared in 2016, she confessed that she was a “f**ked up stoner kid who made it.”
Well, we’re glad she made it. Let’s take a look back at her story.
Prior to the stage, Ashley Nicolette Frangipane was couch-surfing around the Lower East Side of New York City. One day, she was invited by a music producer to spend some time in the studio. As luck would have it, that producer just happened to meet her at a party she had attended in Newark, New Jersey.
During that first meeting, she started writing “Ghost,” a song about her junkie ex. A few weeks later, around 10 p.m. she uploaded the song to SoundCloud. When she logged back on an hour later, her Twitter account was blowing up. By 3 a.m., five labels had contacted her, and she found out that the song was charting.
In 2014, she toured with The Kooks, promoting her debut EP Room 93. She then began work on her debut studio album, Badlands, and performed songs from the upcoming album at South by Southwest in 2015, where she was the most tweeted about performer of the night.
Badlands emerged in 2015, formally introducing Halsey to the industry. A concept record, Badlands deals with heartache, trouble, and stress. Songs such as “Ghost,” New Americana,” and “Colors” shook the airwaves and had fans praising her voice, lyricism, and finesse.
Two years later, her sophomore album Hopeless Fountain Kingdom arrived. The prologue track was a poetic start for an album, and talked about about her bisexuality, courage, and love (specifically echoing the story of Romeo and Juliet). With her album reaching number one, Halsey became the first woman to achieve a number one album in the US in 2017. “Bad At Love” and “Now or Never” were standout tracks and phenomenal singles from the record. Other standout tracks include “Eyes Closed” and “Angel On Fire.”
On October 4, 2018, Halsey released a single titled “Without Me,” her first single through Capitol Records. She stated that this song is “very personal” to her, partially telling the story of her break-up with rapper G-Eazy. The official music video even featured a “G-Eazy lookalike.”
Earlier this year, her third studio album, Manic, was released. She described this album as the record where she truly found her voice, allowing herself to show a sweeter side. Manic is best described as sweet shades on a canvas, as compared to her first two albums, which are better described as amplified, completely angsty, and energetic. “Graveyard” is the closest to her usual style, whereas “Clementine,” “You Should Be Sad,” “Finally // Beautiful Stranger” and “Still Learning” take a different tone.
Aside from her own work, Halsey has done numerous collaborations including: Machine Gun Kelly’s “Forget Me Too,” The Chainsmokers’ “Closer,” Kelsea Ballerini’s “The Other Girl,” Justin Bieber’s “This Feeling,” Thirty Seconds To Mars’ “Love Is Madness,” Benny Blanco’s “Eastside” with Khalid, Marshmello’s “Be Kind,” and the late Juice WRLD’s “Life’s A Mess.”
The electro-pop songstress is a trailblazer, an artist for a cause, and we love it! We can’t wait to see what she does next.
Featured Image: Instagram (@iamhalsey)