Ashley Nicolette Frangipanenote (born September 29, 1994), better known by her stage name Halsey — both an anagram of her first name and derived from Halsey Street in Brooklyn, where she spent much of her teen years — is an American singer-songwriternote . Her sound has been generally classified as electropop, alternative pop, and/or R&B, and is notable for its consistent conceptual overtones.
Frangipane played several instruments in her youth including the violin, viola, cello and guitar, and as she is biracial to a white mother and black father, she credited her parents' contrasting music tastes (Nirvana, Creed, Alanis Morissette, etc. from her mom; The Notorious B.I.G., 2Pac, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, etc. from her dad) with the diverse influences she takes for her work.
Although Halsey began gathering an online following through her music and content in 2012 (predominantly through Tumblr), it was her 2014 single "Ghost" that would become her first breakout hit, generating massive buzz after being uploaded to SoundCloud. Among the several record labels that immediately came knocking, she ultimately signed with Astralwerks as she felt they gave her the most creative control. She co-headlined with Young Rising Sons in 2015, and then performed as an opening act for Imagine Dragons and The Weeknd. Her rapid rise to success led her to a solo tour in September 2015. In 2016, she collaborated with The Chainsmokers on their song "Closer", which became a huge #1 hit almost immediately after it was released.
Halsey is known for her candid attitude and online presence, liberal sociopolitical views, advocacy for causes such as LGBT rightsnote , reproductive rights and mental health awarenessnote , and raw, provocative lyrical style.
In March 2021, Halsey announced she uses they/them along with she/her pronouns. Halsey is currently in a relationship with Turkish-American screenwriter Alev Aydin. They have a son together, Ender, born July 2021.
- Room 93 (EP) (2014)
- BADLANDS (2015)
- hopeless fountain kingdom (2017)
- MANIC (2020)
- If I Can't Have Love, I Want Power (2021)
- Teen Titans Go! To the Movies (2018): Wonder Woman
- A Star Is Born (2018): Herself
- If I Can't Have Love, I Want Power (2021): Queen Lila / Lilith
- Sing 2 (2021): Porsha Crystal
- Roadies (2016): Herself
- American Dad!: Cindy
- Saturday Night Live: Herself
- RuPaul's Drag Race: Herself/guest judge
- The Voice: Guest performer/guest advisor
- Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?: Herself
- The Disney Family Singalong: Volume II (2020): Performer
Her work provides examples of the following tropes:
- Album Closure: MANIC finishes with "929," a simple autobiographical track where Halsey honestly addresses where she is in life and her various feelings about it.
- Alone in a Crowd: "Alone" echoes this, along with feelings of inadequacy that come with being people's idol.Everywhere I go, I got a million different people tryna kick it, but I'm still alone in my mind
- Alter-Ego Acting: A minor case. Her stage persona is simply a condensed, dramatized version of her."So what I think I explain is that Halsey is an anagram for Ashley, so if you rearrange Ashley, you get Halsey, and I think the difference is more than spelling. It's like, if you rearrange me a little you get Halsey. It's not so much an alter ego as it is an amplified version of me. Ashley's like, 'What kind of fucking cereal do I like in the morning?' Ashley is "did I remember to call my mom today?" Ashley is if I lose my mail key.[...] When I'm sitting here, talking about what fucking shoes I like, or what makeup I wear, that's Ashley. Halsey is a protagonist."
- And I Must Scream: Implied in "Gasoline".You can't wake up! This is not a dream! You're part of a machine and you're not a human being!
- And Then John Was a Zombie: The end of "Lighthouse". The narrator sings that she'll always have a piece of the devil who stranded her in the water inside of her, and embraces her new desire to lure in other people like she was lured.And I'm glad I met the devil cause he showed me I was weakAnd a little piece of him is in a little piece of me.
- Badass Boast:
''I'm a wanderess, I'm a one-night standDon't belong to no city, don't belong to no manI'm the violence in the pouring rain-I'm a hurricane.''
Do you call yourself a fuckin' hurricane like me?
- She references this same line in "Gasoline".
''I'm bigger than my body, I'm colder than this homeI'm meaner than my demons, I'm bigger than these bonesAnd all the kids cried out, "Please stop, you're scaring meI can't help this awful energyGod damn right, you should be scared of me.''
- Used again in "Control":
We feared no city and we feared no man.
- The "Hurricane" example comes back in the Spoken Word narration beginning the "New Americana" video.
"And when you start to look at me, a physical fatalityAnd you surrender to the heat, you'll knowI can put on a show, I can put on a show"
- Used in "Heaven in Hiding":
- Her verse on "Die For Me" by Post Malone and Future is pretty much this as well with lines like "sold 15 million copys of a break up note", "I don't play anymore, I went through your phone And called the girls in your DMs and took all them home" and "Grew into a savage and that's why they gave this verse to me"..
- Break-Up Song:
- "Ghost" is about a relationship in which one partner is no longer emotionally invested.
- "Sorry" is a I Want My Beloved to Be Happy-type version sung by someone apologizing to a lover they treated badly as they're leaving.Someone will love you, but someone isn't me.
- "killing boys" is about an unfaithful ex-boyfriend.
- "You Should Be Sad" is one of the "I'm so glad you're gone" variety, even saying, "I'm so glad I never, ever had a baby with you!"
- Brick Joke:: In the spoken word opening to "929," Halsey talks with her producer, and claims she was born at 9:29 on 9/29. He says he wants to see the birth certificate... and at the end of the song, we hear Halsey talking again. Turns out, she checked her birth certificate, and she was born at 9:26.Man, I'm a fucking liar.
- Call-Back: In "929", she recalls losing her lover to a drug addiction. In the 2017 track Bad At Love, Halsey sings of a blue-eyed woman whom she loved, but lost due to cocaine use.Halsey: Lost the love of my life to an ivory powder.
- Catholic School Girls Rule: A downplayed example in her "Colors" music video.
- Cluster F-Bomb:
- "Strange Love" features ten uses in just over four minutes, emphasized by Halsey's forceful delivery of the song.
- "Don't play" manages to fit five uses in just the chorus alone.
- Concept Album: All of them. BADLANDS is about a Vegas-gothic metaphor for her negative mental state. hopeless fountain kingdom is a play on Romeo and Juliet. Manic is about her struggles with bipolar disorder. If I Can't Have Love, I Want Power is about the positives and negatives of pregnancy and childbirth. Even Room 93 is themed around the strange, pocket-universe feel of hotel rooms.
- The Cover Changes the Gender: "Eastside" is a duet between Halsey and Khalid, with Khalid singing the first verse and Halsey the second. Halsey performed the song solo on Saturday Night Live, singing both verses and implicitly changing the relationship referenced in the first verse from a heterosexual to a lesbian one.
- Cover Changes The Meaning: Her rendition of "I Walk the Line", altering a country song about being faithful in a relationship to an unsettling alternative tune implying the speaker is stuck with a particular lover, even addicted to them.
- Crapsack World: The titular "Badlands" in her debut album. She describes the place as an urban-sprawl dystopia, representative of a negative mental state.
- Dead Sparks: "Lie".
- Breakfast is cold, as cold as our bed.
- Descent into Addiction: Not her, but a former lover mentioned in "Bad At Love":
- Had a girl with California eyes and I thought that she could really be the one this time, but I never got the chance to make her mine, because she fell in love with little thin white lines.
- Destructive Romance: "Without Me" and "Graveyard" details of an unhealthy relationship between the protagonist and her lover. Luckily, she realizes what a bad place she's in and how irreparable the relationship with said toxic person is and breaks it off to start looking after herself.
- Dominatrix: In the music video for "Nightmare", one of her outfits is a latex fetish costume.
- Doppelgänger Replacement Love Interest: In "Alone", Luna returns to the Hopeless Fountain Kingdom to find Solis at a party but is heartbroken and confused to find that he has already found a new lover, with long blue hair similar to Luna previous to her transformation.
- Drugs Are Bad: Halsey sings about a past lover's addiction in "Bad At Love" and uses clever metaphors to hide what exact substance it was.
- But I never got the chance to make her mine, because she fell in love with little thin white lines.
- Dye or Die: In "Now Or Never" Luna has to change her appearance so her attackers won't find her. So she chops off her long blue hair and dyes it blonde.
- Fading into the Next Song: The song "Drive" fades and then continues into the next song "Coming Down".
- Get Back in the Closet: Speaks about the phenomenon here after getting significant backlash from Moral Guardians over her redo of the "Ghost" video, which featured a romance between her and her female co-star.
- Gratuitous Japanese: The Spoken Word opening to the "Ghost" video, roughly translating to "As I look back at the past together with her, suddenly she starts to disappear. Maybe she never really existed."
- Hard-Drinking Party Girl: "Luna", the protagonist of hopeless fountain kingdom.
- Out alone in San Tropez, lookin' as fine as a damn MonetTryna hydrate, no Perrier; everybody thirsty, drinks on me
- Heel Realization: In "Graveyard" followed with a Gasp!.
- It's funny how the warning signs can feel like they're butterflies... (GASP).
- Hell-Bent for Leather: Referenced in "Ghost".I don't like 'em innocent, I don't want no face-fresh
Want them wearing leather, begging "Let me be your taste-test.
- Heroic Seductress: The narrator in "Hurricane".
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: "Sorry" is a particularly bleak instance of this trope and possibly the bleakest thing Halsey committed to tape; the song is an apology for how she can't make her significant other (or anyone) happy, because her mental struggles and insecurities always get in the way.Someone will love you
But someone isn't me
- Intercourse with You: To be expected, as a lot of her songs are about sex.When you start to feel the rush, the crimson headache, aching blush and you surrender to the touch, you'll knowI can put on a show, I can put on a show. Don't you see what you're finding? This is heaven in hiding. I'm heaven in hiding.
- In Love with Love: The narrator of "I HATE EVERYBODY."Infatuation's observation with a cause.
But none of it is love, so while I'm waiting for it,
I'll hate everybody!
- Important Haircut: At the end of the "Now or Never" video. She chops off her long blue locks into a shirt blonde spiked haircut.
- Lady Swears-a-Lot: Barely a song of hers is devoid of profanity, with a Precision F-Strike occurring very frequently.
- La Résistance: The "New Americana" video features her leading one.They made me their leader when I never asked to be. The lightning in their eyes molded me into whatever they needed me to become. We were hopeful we would win, because nothing could scare us.
- Lecherous Licking: From the smirk she's wearing at the end of this clip, she knows what she's doing.
- Likes Older Men: One of the plot twists in the music video for Halsey's "Colors".
- Lilith: Halsey sings about the titular figure in the track "Lilith".
- Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: The subject of "Bad at Love," which describes several failed relationships with unsuitable people.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: According to Word of God, the main theme of MANIC is that she's found herself falling into this role in her real life relationships, and wants somebody who won't expect her to constantly entertain them and disrupt their lives.
- Melismatic Vocals: "Everything is blu-uuu-uuuuu-uu-e".
- Oblivious to Love: In "Strangers", both narrators feel more for the other than just a friends-with-benefits type of relationship, but neither realizes her feelings are shared.
- Precision F-Strike: In "Young God":If you wanna go to Heaven, you should fuck me tonight.
Just to pour that motherfucker down the drain like me?
- Twice in "Gasoline":
Do you call yourself a fuckin' hurricane like me?
- Protest Song:
- "New Americana" is about, in her words, a "generation unafraid of diversity".
- And "Castle", the first song on her debut album, addresses her irritation with the Double Standard expectations living in a patriarchal social mandates.
- Rearrange the Song: For the soundtrack to The Huntsman: Winter's War, "Castle" was given a new, more cinematic arrangement.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
- "Without Me" is one of these directed at someone that Halsey helped who then ditched her for fame and glory at the first opportunity they got, reminding them Halsey is the one who "put [them] up there" and asking if they're lonely pretending that they can live without her.
- "You Should Be Sad" is directed at an unnamed ex-lover, calling him faithless, manipulative, and incapable of selflessly loving another, which is why she's glad that she chose not to have a baby with him and dumped him instead.
- "I'm Not Mad" is a song directed at an ex for how they mistreated Halsey all the while wishing them false positive messages.
- Revenge Ballad: "Castle", is, according to Word of God, about Revenge Against Men.I'm headed straight for the castle
They wanna make me their queen
And there's an old man sitting on the throne that's saying
That I prob'ly shouldn't be so mean
- Sanity Slippage Song: Given that her debut album focused on a fictional city meant to represent her former negative headspace, it's not surprising that it features a couple of these, most notably "Control".
- Screw Yourself: Not in a literal sense, but the girl she's making out with in the "Ghost" video is intentionally made up to look like her-same clothes, same hair, similar proportions, to emphasize the confusion of what she represents.
- Secretly-Gay Activity: Alluded to in "Alanis' Interlude" where Halsey and another maintain relations in secret:Eatin' my dessert in the bathroom.
- Secret Relationship: In "Bad at Love."London girl with an attitude
We never told no one but we looked so cute.
- Deconstructed in that the relationship didn't work out, and Halsey has stated in an interview that the secrecy was what led to it falling apart.
- Sequel Song: "Colors, Pt. II".
- Sex for Solace: "Strangers" is about a rebound romance she had while trying to get over a long-term boyfriend. Ironically, the lyrics make it clear that both girls feel more for the other than just this, but neither will admit it because they believe the other doesn't care.We're not lovers, we're just strangers with the same damn hunger to be touched, to be loved, to feel anything at all
- On the same album, "I find myself alone at night, unless I'm having sex" from "100 Letters".
- The music video for "Ghost" distinctly resembles Lost in Translation (2003), from the setting to the bob wig the singer wears throughout most of the video.
- The music video for "Colors" was filmed in the Murder House from American Horror Story. Anyone who has seen the series knows that the house is the main character of its season.
- Well, King Midas put his hands on me again... from "100 Letters"
- In "Without Me", she quotes the "You don't have to say what you did, I already know" line from "Cry Me A River" by Justin Timberlake and even matches the cadence of it.
- In "Killing Boys", she quotes the iconic movie line "You're killing people! No, I'm killing boys."
- In "Killing Boys", she warns an unfaithful lover/former friend: "Then I stop 'cause I don't wanna Uma Thurman your ass."
- In Alanis' Interlude, Halsey spins on John Mayers October 2002 hit Your Body Is A Wonderland, altering an iconic straight love song into an ode to her bisexuality with the lyrics "your pussy is a wonderland".
- "Ashley" ends with a sample from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, with some dialogue from Kate Winslet's character, Clementine... which is also the name of the next song on the album.Kate Winslet as Clementine: Too many guys think I'm a concept, or I complete them, or I'm gonna make them alive. I'm just a fucked-up girl who's lookin' for my own piece of my mind. Don't assign me yours.
- Significant Anagram: Her stage name is her real given name with a couple of letters switched around.
- Sour Outside, Sad Inside: The narrator of "I HATE EVERYBODY" admits to using a cynical attitude to mask her loneliness and desire for love.If I could make you love me,
maybe you could make me love me.
And if I can't make you love me,
then I'll just hate everybody.
- Spoken Word in Music:
You were red, and you liked me because I was blue. You touched me, and suddenly I was a lilac sky, and you decided purple just wasn't for you.
- The fan-favorite lyric in "Colors":
Halsey: I really was born at 9:29 AM on 9/29. You think I'm lying, but I'm, I'm being dead serious (I gotta see this birth certificate). Okay, I'll prove it.
- Hopeless Fountain Kingdom's first track, The Prologue, has Halsey speaking the entirety of Shakespeare's Prologue for Romeo and Juliet.
- In "929", she reveals in the spoken monologue of the song that the song is titled after her birthday.
- "Good Mourning" has Halsey's little brother, Dante, speaking the entire intro.
- Stacy's Mom: The music video for Halsey's "Colors" centers around Halsey's character getting along with Tyler Posey's character and his parents and its seems everything is fine. Until the reveal shows that she's actually in love with Posey's father which he discovers through her Polaroids and he reacts in disgust.
- Two-Person Pool Party: In the "Ghost" video.
- Vice City: "Those are the Badlands. We don't go there."
- Whole Album Reference: hopeless fountain kingdom, to Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet.
- Wandering Walk of Madness: "Control" is narrated by a manic, possibly mentally ill person who describes walking around their house all night long.
I jumped at the slightest of sounds
And I couldn't stand the person inside me
I turned all the mirrors around
- Wham Shot: When Halsey performed the song "Without Me" on Saturday Night Live, a banner appeared behind her spell out like a letter "Dear Ashley...I'm sorry...I cheated." in alludes to her on-off relationship with musician/rapper G-Eazy. Also quite Tearjerking.