Who is Halsey?
Ashley Nicolette Frangipane, who is popularly known by her alias, Halsey, is an American pop artist and songwriter. Her singing career began in 2012 with a parody of the Taylor Swift song named ‘I Knew You Were Trouble.’ Her debut extended play 'Room 93' was released in 2014. It peaked at No. 159 at US Billboard 200. The next year she released her debut studio album which was titled 'Badlands.' It became a huge hit, selling 97,000 copies in the US within the first week. It stood at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart and was also reviewed positively by critics. She chose her professional name "Halsey"—a rearrangement of her first name Ashley—because it reminded her of a street in Brooklyn where she used to spend a lot of time during her teenage years. She started writing songs at the early age of seventeen. Having been nominated for several awards, Halsey won the Rising Star award by Billboard Women in Music in 2016, which is awarded to women in the music industry who have not only made a significant contribution but also have inspired others. By early 2017 Halsey had released one studio album, one extended play, five singles and five music videos.
Childhood & Early Life
Halsey was born as Ashley Nicolette Frangipane in Clark, New Jersey, on September 29, 1994. Her father Chris is of African-American descent while her mother Nicole is of Italian, Irish as well as Hungarian heritage. Halsey has two brothers.
She started playing violin, viola, and cello at an early age. Later, at the age of 14, she picked up the guitar too.
She had initially planned on attending college with a major in fine arts. However, unable to afford it, she instead enrolled in a community college with a major in creative writing.
She went through financial troubles during her late teenage years, and music became her only way to pay her bills. That’s when she started doing shows in different cities across the US, under various stage names, ‘Halsey’ becoming the most popular one.
As an electropop artist, she received inspiration from both her parents. Her father used to listen to Notorious B.I.G. and Slick Rick, while her mother used to listen to The Cure, Alanis Morisette, as well as Nirvana. She was also inspired by Kanye West, Amy Winehouse, Brand New and Bright Eyes. Film directors such as Qunetin Tarantino and Larry Clark also inspired her.
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Halsey initially started her career on YouTube where she posted cover songs. In the year 2012, she recorded a song named ‘The Haylor Song’ which was actually a parody of Taylor Swift’s ‘I Knew You were Trouble.’ It was about Swift’s relationship with Harry Styles, the English singer and songwriter. It received wide attention worldwide.
Later in 2014, she recorded a song ‘Ghost’ which she posted on SoundCloud. The song became a hit, earning Halsey a lot of popularity. Because of her incredible performance, a lot of recording labels came forward wanting her to sign with them. She finally signed with the Astralwerks record label, a US based record label that focuses mainly on electronic and dance music.
On 27 October 2014, she released her first extended play too. It was titled ‘Room 93.’ Accompanying videos were made as well, for four of the five songs.
The year 2015 saw the release of her debut album ‘Badlands’ in August. In order to promote her music, she was featured in several interviews such as ‘The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’ and ‘Last Call with Carson Daly.’
Slowly her popularity and fan base started growing more and more, which pushed her into the mainstream platform. She performed brilliantly at the South by Southwest Festival (an annual film and music festival as well as conference that takes place in Mid-March in Austin, Texas), making her very famous online, and soon she became the most tweeted about artist. Her online fan base grew even more, with 3.9 million followers on Twitter, and 3.8 million on Instagram as of early 2017.
Released on 27 October 2014 by the American record label Astralwerks, ‘Room 93’, was the debut Extended Play of Halsey. The project was released again digitally next year, with a new version of the song ‘Ghost.’ It peaked at No. 159 in the US Billboard 200, and at No. 3 in US Top Heatseekers Albums.
Her debut studio album ‘Badlands’ was released on August 28, 2015, by Astralwerks and Capitol. It became a huge hit, peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart. The album, which is mainly rooted in electropop, alternative pop and synthpop, sold 97,000 copies within the first week of its release. Peaking at No. 2 in Australian Albums, No. 10 in Belgian albums, and No. 3 in New Zealand Albums charts, the album proved that it was popular not only in the US but in many other countries as well.
Awards & Achievements
Halsey was nominated for the MTV Europe Music Award for Artist on the Rise in 2015, as well as People’s Choice Award for Favorite Breakout Artist, and NME Awards in the Best New Artist category, in 2016.
She won the Rising Star Award by Billboard Women in Music in 2016, which is a significant award for women in the music industry.
Personal Life & Legacy
Halsey was rumored to have had dated Ashton Irwin, an Australian drummer, sometime in the past.
In 2014, she started dating the Norwegian musician and songwriter, Peder Losnegård, who is known by his stage name Lido. They are not dating anymore.
She is a self-proclaimed feminist, and promotes awareness about social issues such as sexism, racism, mental illnesses, etc.
In a recent interview in 2016 with Billboard, she spoke about her political views. For the 2016 US elections, she had expressed her support for the candidate Bernie Sanders, and had said she admired and looked up to him as he was one of those who had literally marched next to the famous Martin Luther King in a civil rights march decades earlier.
During her teenage years, Halsey was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, a mental disorder where a person suffers from periods of depression sometimes, and periods of euphoria at other times.
One of her songs ‘Castie’ was featured in the 2016 American fantasy film ‘Huntsman: The Winter’s War.’