Halsey Pours Life Experiences Into New Album
"I've definitely lived a lot of life since my first record," says Halsey, ahead of the June 2 release of her new album Hopeless Fountain Kingdom.
"The difference between being a teenager and now being an adult, and I have a home, I have traveled the world, and I've had experiences that have given me a fresh perspective in making this record.”
Halsey, 22, started on YouTube performing covers, released her debut album Badlands in 2015, had hit collaborations with artists like Justin Bieber (“The Feeling”) and The Chainsmokers (“Closer”) and recently released the single “Now Or Never” from her sophomore album.
We recently caught up with Halsey and she talked about the meaning behind her new single, what fans can expect from Hopeless Fountain Kingdom, what it was like putting the record together, the inspiration for the concept behind it, and more.
Halsey said "Now or Never," which was produced by Benny Blanco, is about “two people who are in a relationship, and one of them is begging the other person, 'Okay, you need to love me now or never. I'm tired of waiting, I'm tired of waiting for you to figure it out, and waiting for you to get it together. I just want this now. I want this to work out. And I need to know if it's not going to, because I need to go look at my other options.’
"It's a pleading song, but it's kind of careless at the same time. It's saying, I want you and I want this to work, but it wouldn't be the end of the world if it doesn't, kinda thing."
Halsey called Blanco "one of [her] favourite people in the world" and a "genius." She explained that during the process of making of the album, the two became very good friends and formed a strong connection.
"He started becoming kind of like my therapist, in a weird way, where I'd come in and I'd be singing a song, and we'd finish the track, and then be ready to go. And he'd be like, 'Hey, I heard that thing you sang. Are you okay?' And it was kind of like he was hearing a cry for help,” she recalled.
“Even when I was singing, which was really cool because it made us bond really quickly. I formed a really strong bond.”
Halsey also worked on Hopeless Fountain Kingdom with Greg Kurstin, who has worked with artists like Adele, Sia, and Rihanna.
"He's more than just a producer, he's a musician. He plays piano, guitar, so many instruments, and those songs on the record are really musical,” she said. “You'll really hear a lot of emotion in those records because it was just me and a guy sitting down. No computer. Just a voice and an instrument, writing songs the old-fashioned way."
Halsey also worked with people like Ricky Reed (AKA Wallpaper), who has worked with twenty one pilots on several hit songs. "He's got a finger on the pop pulse, right now, but he used to be an alternative guy. So I kind of let him drag that alternative mentality out of him a little bit, again."
Halsey, though, is responsible for the concept, writing the songs, co-directing the music videos, writing all of the treatments and stories, and developing interactive experiences for fans. As she put it, "[What] I'm really excited for my fans to know about this album is how outrageously much of a control freak I really am.”
She added: "I haven't slept in six months, but it's totally worth it because everything [will] hopefully make [my fans] so happy. I hope that they're proud of me when they hear it, and they know that it came from my heart, and that it was all real and me.”
The concept behind Badlands was about a girl living in a apocalyptic society, and not wanting to escape knowing that she really should. Halsey called this a "metaphor for our mental space [where] some people find themselves, myself included, comfortable in their depression.”
For her new album, the concept is more of a love story, and she compares it to the story of Romeo and Juliet.
"Hopeless Fountain Kingdom is a story of two people who want to be in love so badly, they're willing to change themselves for their love,” explained Halsey. “And in doing so, they let the real versions of themselves die. It's a Romeo and Juliet story. And we have a lot of really incredible videos coming. It's gonna be awesome."
The Romeo and Juliet concept was inspired by true life, and by a real relationship of Halsey’s.
"I was in a relationship with someone for a really long time, and I broke up with them, and then I sat down to write this album and realized I didn't know anything about myself,” she said. “That’s hard when you want to write music that's authentic, and that's honest and organic.
“I realized that I didn't know how to write about me, I only knew how to write about him. And that was bad. So it was almost like that strong girl who fought her way out of the Badlands, she was gone. I had to go back and save her. And I'm lucky that I did. I found her and I brought her back.
“And I sat down, and the record just started spilling out of me like it was nothing, like it was easy. But I had to go find her first and think to myself, when I'm alone and I'm not in a relationship, who am I? Who am I without the gaze of another person? When I'm getting dressed in the morning, and they're not sitting at the foot of my bed, what clothes do I pick out? When I'm laying on my couch, and when I'm ordering some food, what restaurant do I choose? What playlist do I put on in the car? Who am I when they're not watching me? When they're not judging me? And that's a lot of what this record is about.”
Halsey said fans can expect more urban and R&B elements, as well as some songs that are more stripped down and vulnerable.
"All in all, it's a really complex record, and it tells a really great story. On their own, you'll love one of the songs if you hear it. But when you hear it all as a body of work, they play off of each other so well, and I'm really proud of it.”
Watch the full interview below!
Original article by Nicole Mastrogiannis at iHeartRadio