STORY // ANGIE PICCIRILLO
PHOTOS // TREVOR FLORES
HAIR + MAKEUP // MARLA VAZQUEZ
Hayley Kiyoko has risen to being one of 2018’s “it” girls with the utmost grace — but for all things that look easy, one has to know they usually are not. Today, Hayley releases her new album, “Expectations,” that upon first listen will make you feel like this is probably what Janet Jackson would sound like if she were 19 in today’s world.
Just start with the introduction track, which will undoubtedly give you chills up your spine. Hayley says of the album, “My goal was to make an album that sounds visual and listeners can really feel part of an overall experience. I encourage people to listen to this album in order from beginning to end to find their own message or journey.”
It’s hard to say that any work as a whole from a pop star these days is truly a “work of art,” but with it’s rising synths, heavy dance drops and Hayley’s sultry vocals — it’s truly a recipe for an album you can play without having to skip a single track. Hayley has already tackled directing her own music videos and coining her own hashtag in order to show support and acceptance for her fans and listeners — and with “Expectations” out today, we can’t wait to see what she does next.
You’ve been releasing music since 2013 — how would you say “Expectations” has evolved in terms of sound/subject matter compared to your earlier releases?
The sound on Expectations is very centered and grounded. There is a new level of confidence and sense of clarity in the lyrics as well, which has really taken shape since my earlier music.
What are you most excited about having people hear on this album?
I’m excited for everyone to hear the different sides of my art and to connect with the themes in their own way. I can’t wait to share this world with my fans that I’ve been living in for so long.
On “Expectations,” What is your favorite track and why?
That’s so hard! If I had to choose a song it would be “He’ll Never Love You”. As a writer it’s hard to translate real life experiences into lyrics and with this track it literally happened word for word. I’ll listen to it and just scream “Yes that happened! And that! That too!”
If you had to pick one lyric from this album that meant the most to you, what would you pick and why?
“I believe.. we just had to learn to fall” from “Let It Be.” On a personal note, I literally fell and it changed my life around. I had to go back to basics and relearn how to care for myself. I think everyone goes through a moment where they “fall” and it’s how you get back up that’s important. I feel like that lyric has a lot of weight and can have multiple meanings for people.
If you could go back in time and visit yourself as a young musician, what would you tell yourself or what advice would you give?
I would tell myself to focus on making good music. If you focus on making good music and good art the rest will fall into place in due time. To be patient and allow yourself space to rest and explore.
How is #20GAYTEEN important to you and how do you think it has helped your fans?
#20GAYTEEN is important because it is a symbol of acceptance and I think we need more of that in today’s world. We all just want to be loved and validated and this “movement” encourages that.
You’ll be making your Coachella debut this year — any plans for what you’ll wear or anything you’ll add to that show to make it memorable?
I am so excited to just be there! I have no idea what I am wearing yet, but I’m starting to hydrate now. It’s definitely going to be a memorable experience for everyone!
You’ll also be opening for mega-act Panic! At The Disco – How do you feel about that?
I am trying not to fangirl but I love them! I feel super honored and thankful to be joining them on their tour.
You have self-directed all of your music videos to date, why is taking that role important to you and what can we expect from this endeavor in the future? More videos? Other forms of film projects?
I love telling stories and exploring themes that are personal to me but still relatable, which I’m always doing through my music and ultimately through my videos. I am able to have full control in turning my visions into reality by taking on the role of director. Color palettes are really important to me because they help exude emotion. Storytelling allows me to reinvent a lyric and I absolutely plan to continue telling more.
What are your hopes for when fans hear “Expectations?”
I hope my fans find a song that they connect with for any mood – whether they are feeling sad, happy, sexy, or just need comfort. Each song creates a different setting that they can relate to and enjoy in their own personal journey.
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