Ashley Frangipane, the 20-year-old Jersey-born singer, found fuel for her dark, confessional electro-pop lyrics. She goes by the stage name Halsey, which is an anagram for her first name.
The singer is known for her constantly changing hair color and passion to write songs about “sex and being sad,” as said in her Instagram bio.
At 18, when she found herself in financial trouble and without a place to live, music suddenly became her lifeline because playing gigs was able to provide money for her rent. Halsey played acoustic shows under different names, taking the Megabus from New Jersey to various cities to perform.
She ended up in the studio one day with a friend of a friend to record her hit song, “Ghost.” That track has been streamed more than 420,000 times on Soundcloud since it came out in August.
She tells Billboard she “woke up the next day and took meetings with five record labels,” and ended up signing to Astralwerks.
Halsey has been playing music her whole life. She started out on string instruments such as the violin, viola, and cello. However, when she hit the age of 14, “that wasn’t cool anymore,” so she shifted gears.
“I thought I was gonna be the next Alanis Morissette,” she says, “so I bought myself an acoustic guitar.”
She collaborated with several producers who have also worked with singers like Banks, Ellie Goulding, Lana Del Ray, and Sia. Her goal was to have someone help make the unique sound she wanted.
On October 28, 2014, she released her first EP titled “Room 93” with songs “Is There Somewhere,” “Ghost,” “Hurricane,” “Empty Gold,” and “Trouble – Stripped.”
Halsey wanted this to be a visual EP as four of the five songs come with a video. The songs are inspired by Halsey’s time in hotel rooms.
Each of the videos accompanying “Room 93” focuses on a group of teenagers in a hotel room. For example, “Hurricane” follows a crew of teens who meet and decide to break into a hotel room. The story of the video follows a boy and a girl who are falling in love and the hardships they go through.
The story is then continued in the “Ghost” video where Halsey plays an older version of the girl.
“We were trying to do something authentic and raw that spoke to a sense of surrealism,” says Halsey. “The videos are very real: the kids have chipped nail polish and dirty faces and acne and their clothes are weird.”
None of the kids are trained actors; Halsey recruited them at a skate park. “I just wanted to put a bunch of kids in a room and let them interact as they would,” she says.
This summer, she will be touring with Imagine Dragons and Metric, starting on June 5, 2015, for the North American leg of the Smoke + Mirrors Tour.
On June 1, 2015, Halsey announced her full length debut album, “Badlands”, which drops on August 28, 2015. Along with the album, she put out one of the songs on the album – “Hold Me Down”.
“Halsey’s new song is so good! It definitely reflects on the type of music she creates. Go listen to it because I guarantee you will fall in love with the song and Halsey.” says freshman Vanessa Mejia.
Halsey’s fans have brought her up to the top of Billboard’s Emerging Artists Chart, and trended her on Twitter multiple times. They are an undeniable force and just getting started.
After reading this article, do you think you will be listening to Halsey?