Hopeless Fountain Kingdom is out tomorrow (June 2). With Halsey’s second full length comes lofty expectations. Can she outsell her Platinum-certified debut Badlands? Can “Now or Never” be her first single to crack the top 10? Is she ready to seize a place amongst the industry’s biggest pop stars?
These are all daunting questions for a 22-year old artist who, just a few years ago, was scraping together money to ride the train from New Jersey to New York City to kick it with friends and make music in Brooklyn. Fortunately, this week’s #AlternativeFacts podcast features a guest who knows Halsey from the very beginning.
Billboard contributor/all-around music internet star Paige Williams was a marketing assistant at Universal Records when Halsey first signed with its imprint Astralwerks. Remembering her Tumblr-famous parody songs, Williams jumped at the opportunity to work with the young artist.
“The day that she signed her contract,” Williams remembers, “I went into my boss’ office and said I really wanna work with her. He’s like, ‘You’re an assistant! What are you doing?’” Eventually, Williams got to run point on Halsey’s Canadian marketing, which led to their first meeting. “We were doing this event and she literally walked in the room, saw me and ran up and hugged me and was like, ‘Oh my god! I know you from Twitter!’”
So what’s it like to know Halsey from way back? Listen to the podcast above to hear some one-of-a-kind firsthand stories from Williams, as well as her insights on Hopeless Fountain Kingdom. How’s her new, Top 40-approved sound going over with longtime listeners? Well, as Billboard chart manager Kevin Rutherford assures in our other segment, “She’s probably going to sell a lot of albums.”
Nothing’s set in stone yet, but Rutherford predicts HFK will top the Billboard 200 in its first week. As for the album’s biggest single, he continues, “[‘Now Or Never’] could be a huge hit… She capitalized on a sound that is doing very well right now without shedding too much of who she is.”
#AlternativeFacts is a weekly Billboard podcast devoted to all things alternative music. Click here to subscribe to the #AlternativeFacts Podcast on iTunes. Let us know what you think on Twitter (@cpayneonaplane) and by rating the podcast on iTunes.
A new episode normally posts each Thursday, but we’re taking next week off, as host Chris Payne will be out of the office at Bonnaroo. Check back on June 15 for our next episode.