Billboard Women In Music 'Rising Star' Halsey: 'I'm Proud To the Point of Tears of What I've Created'

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“As an artist and a feminist, I want to be all-inclusive and authentic,” says Halsey, photographed on Feb. 11, 2016 at The Love Shack in Brooklyn.

"When I first started performing and traveling, everyone said it would get easier, and I was like, ‘No, it’s always going to be hard,’” says the 22-year-old electro-pop supernova Halsey. “But they were right. And it has been a surreal year.” Her scores of fans (3.5 million followers on Twitter) would agree: Halsey’s 2015 debut, Badlands, unleashed the millennial anthem “New Americana,” debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and went platinum within a month. In August, Halsey scored her first Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 with the Chainsmokers collaboration “Closer” (it spent 12 weeks atop the chart); now she’s at work on her second album. “Sometimes I worry: What if I used up all my pixie dust on the first one?” she says. “But I’m proud to the point of tears of what I’ve been able to create. Being a woman in this industry means using your platform to make every kind of woman feel empowered.”

On Repeat
“I found the vinyl of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours when I moved to Los Angeles, and for a while I started every day listening to ‘Dreams.’ I found so much solace in the lyrics of those amazing songs.”

New ’Do
“The first time I shaved my head, my fan base was in an uproar. This time, it’s like no one’s even surprised! It feels like my head can breathe.”

She Oughta Know...
“Even if it was just writing together, I’d love to work with Alanis Morissette. She has been a huge part of me having the confidence to be the kind of artist I am.”

In the video below, Halsey talks about valuing fans over awards, moving past heteronormative society and her breed of "intelligent pop." Billboard would like to give special thanks to October Crifasi and the Girls Guitar School for meeting with Halsey and to Baxter Northup Music Co.

?This article originally appeared in the Dec. 10 issue of Billboard. Billboard's Women In Music event takes place on Dec. 9 in New York City and airs on Lifetime Dec. 12.

2016 Billboard Women in Music


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