Singer HALSEY wants to break free of her pop star label and be taken seriously as an alternative artist.
The Now or Never hitmaker doesn’t think her work is at all mainstream and she is convinced she has been written off as a bubblegum musician because of sexism.
“(Rapper) Kendrick (Lamar) has done a Maroon 5 feature, a Taylor Swift feature and a Sia feature — which is more pop features than I’ve done,” the 22-year-old noted during an interview on The Zach Sang Show on Wednesday (17May17). “(And) no one’s calling him a pop star. But I’m being called one, even though I’m inherently an alternative artist. I don’t know if it’s a male thing, I don’t know if it’s an urban thing. I don’t know what it is. But if you’re a female alternative artist and you do anything that’s even slightly pop leaning, it’s condemning.”
The New York native, born Ashley Frangipane, moved on to cite fellow New Yorker Lady Gaga as a prime example of how much hard work female artists have to put in to their careers in order to be viewed as diverse entertainers.
“The lengths that Lady Gaga has to go to to maintain her cred (credibility) as an artist of the counterculture are insane,” Halsey exclaims. “If she does anything that’s even slightly too-pop people are going to be like ‘she sold out. She’s a pop artist.’
“Kendrick Lamar can get on a Taylor Swift song and no one calls him a popstar, but Lady Gaga has to wear raw meat!”
However, being dubbed a pop star isn’t all bad for Halsey – she is thrilled she has the platform to promote social consciousness through her music. The Grammy nominee wrote her new track Strangers, which features Fifth Harmony star Lauren Jauregui, as an ode to the often targeted and marginalised lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
“I just love that Lauren and I are two women who have a mainstream pop presence doing a love song for the LGBT community,” Halsey said of the highly anticipated song. “It’s unheard of. It’s very rare to see it from a female perspective.”