At 24 years old, Halsey is one of the world’s hottest young singer-songwriters. After posting self-published songs on social media, she quickly rose to stardom, soon releasing her major-label debut album and touring with larger acts.
Known for her distinct singing voice, this artist stepped onto the global stage in a big way in 2016, when multiple Halsey songs held positions in the Top 20, and later Top Five, of the US Billboard Hot 100. Last year was even bigger for Halsey – “Without Me”, her non-album single, became her biggest hit to date, staying in the Top Five for more than 20 weeks.
A powerful voice in more ways than one
Halsey isn’t just another pop star, however. Aside from being one of the world’s most recognizable faces, she is a prominent activist for gender and racial equality, climate change action, mental health awareness and LGBT rights. And she’s not afraid to pick fights with the powerful.
Halsey famously attacked Ivanka Trump on Twitter for being “too relaxed” while her father separated immigrant parents and children.
And just a month after performing in Victoria’s Secret’s annual fashion show, she condemned the multibillion-dollar company for not including transgender models in the show.
Personal hardships and the will to overcome them
While it is easy to focus solely on Halsey’s success, she has endured her share of hardships and adversity as well. All of which she is typically quite open about.
In 2018, Halsey spoke to over 200,000 protestors at the Women’s March in New York City. “I don’t really know how to do a speech unless it rhymes, so I’m gonna do a little poem for you guys,” she said. In the poem, she shared stories of sexual abuse trauma in her childhood, as well as instances of later sexual assaults by men she “trusted”.
Halsey also described her experience taking her friend to Planned Parenthood, after the friend was raped by a man they knew at an after-school program. Halsey was 14 years old at the time.
For years, Halsey has also been very open about her mental and physical health, telling fans and reporters about her battle with bipolar disorder, which led her to being “committed twice” to mental hospitals.
“But I’m not ashamed of talking about it now. It’s been my choice,” she told Rolling Stone. She has also openly discussed having a miscarriage while performing, as well as her struggles with endometriosis, the potential cause of the multiple miscarriages she has endured.
From a traumatic past to continuing chaos in the present, Halsey has stayed strong. Here are some of her most quotable words on success and fighting for what you believe in.
Halsey on surviving, succeeding and never giving up the fight
- I wear my personality on my sleeve, for sure, and my look is constantly changing because so am I.
- People are so afraid to talk about real things, but they’re experiences that everyone goes through.
- I’m a human, and I’m multidimensional. If I was the perfect form of anything, I’d be boring. If I was a free spirit all the time, I would be boring; I would lack depth. If I was dark and enigmatic all the time, then I would lack relatability.
- It’s hard because I think I fall into this in-between space where there’s something that’s innately feminine about me, and there’s also something that’s kind of androgynous. I carry myself somewhere in between, and I think my music lends itself to that as well.
- In one week, I went from being a girl who owed a guy thousands of dollars – my manager, Anthony, was paying for my outfits, paying for my food; I was sleeping in his parents’ basement – to taking meetings with every major label in America. The next morning, I had a record deal and wrote him [Anthony] a cheque to pay back all that money.
- If I am who I am, I’m provocative, candid, and androgynous; there’s nothing I can do that will make any fan think, “I didn’t expect that from her.”
- I was a weirdo. I think I wanted to be liked, but I didn’t have the attention or bother to actually make an effort to be. I also think I had a different perception of what I needed to do to be liked.
- If I go out there and am myself, and I do what makes me comfortable and what I think is true to my artistry, and they don’t like it, then that’s fine. I walk off stage, and I know there’s nothing I could have done differently.
- That’s very new to me this weekend, confronting the fact that I’m a CEO. It wasn’t until [now] I began to view myself as – instead of facilitating a product – as when I became the product.
- It doesn’t matter how many private jets you take, how much money you make, how famous you get, keep putting in the hours.
Bonus: Watch Halsey’s Without Me music video – her biggest hit to date