Photo: Randy Shropshire / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images
  /  11.16.2016

“I literally wrote, ‘Get signed to a record label in August,’” recalls singer, songwriter, director, artist, and actress Hayley Kiyoko. “It happened. If you focus and have realistic goals, you can get where you want to be. That’s still what I do to this day. I like to joke that it might be a magic journal though!”

Magic or no magic, Hayley’s diligence, dedication, and dynamic artistry enchanted countless listeners worldwide. She spent the prior year quietly instigating the most wonderful sort of pop disruption via her breakthrough independent single “Girls Like Girls” and critically acclaimed This Side of Paradise EP.

“Girls Like Girls” resonated in a big way with its different depiction of young love, all-inclusive message, and entrancing, engaging, and ethereal melodies. The music video, written and co-directed by Hayley and Austin S. Winchell, garnered over 40 million YouTube views in just the span of a year and 10 million Spotify streams. Getting behind the camera again and starring this time, its follow-up “Cliff’s Edge” generated 12 million views in under six months. Along the way, she’s received critical praise with Billboard describing her enigmatic style as “Energetic, high-stakes pop music,” and US Magazine claiming she’s “giving a whole new meaning to pop anthems.” Simultaneously, she starred in CSI: Cyber , Insidious: Chapter 3, and the Netflix original movie, XOXO —among other film and television projects.

She began pondering the next creative evolution, which would ultimately drive her major label debut EP, CITRINE.

“Throughout the process, I learned my essence is essentially speaking the truth and writing music that tells stories as well as covers extraordinary, sometimes taboo concepts and themes in pop music,” she explains. “Directing and making music are both about having a vision and executing it. It all comes together for me. I wanted to focus on strong melodies and dive into messages that are truthful to who I am. On This Side of Paradise, I was a little timid in terms of how far I wanted to go. On this EP, I went all out.”

Hayley took a trip to Ojai, CA and worked with producers 4E [The Neighbourhood] on the bulk of the material. The sunny coastal setting, intoxicating scent of orange blossoms, and vibrant energy left its imprint on the music.

“I’d never been there, but something happened,” she goes on. “It had a big influence on the songs. I’m very inspired by colors. The songs we wrote there are more orange and yellow. They’re really special.”

In addition to “Girls Like Girls,” the EP boasts five new tracks. Whether it’s the lush and lithe celebration of a stranger’s beauty on “Pretty Girl” or the airy electro-pop tribute to a lost loved one “Palace,” the music comprises a hypnotic and heartfelt journey. Written the day she arrived in Ojai, “Gravel To Tempo” tiptoes on a delicate beat with an unshakable and empowering affirmation—“I gotta be on my own.” Keeping it close to her heart, she once again conceptualized and directed the single’s video.

Then, there’s “One Bad Night,” which carries an unwavering chant over a shuffle of skittering electronics and bombastic drums produced by Bram Inscore [Troye Sivan, Icona Pop, Feist]. Its music video, helmed by Hayley, sees a twist of fate and an act of kindness bring a young man and trans-woman together for a moment of pure compassion between strangers.

“It’s just a really beautiful instance of seeing two strangers find happiness, safety, and hope within one another,” she smiles. “I’ve seen so many times where people pass by and don’t do anything. This promotes action. It’s that release of safety from someone you don’t even know. Those moments inspired me because my life is so chaotic. I live for that silence, that wind in my face, or that smile from a stranger. It keeps me going.”

The title, CITRINE, represents an important turning point in her life. After suffering a concussion, she discovered a wall adorned with the orange quartz. Immediately, it proved impactful.

“It’s been a long journey back to health,” she admits. “The stone has such a positive energy for me. It’s supposed to get rid of negative feelings and turn them into positive ones. I can’t explain it, but I looked at it, and it just centered me. It gave me something to believe in. I’m hoping the EP enables listeners to turn that negativity into positivity and feel self-empowered, confident, and happy.”

In the end, Hayley brings a fresh, focused, and fiery perspective to pop music.

“When people listen to my music, I want everybody to feel included and not alone,” she concludes. “I want to show it’s okay to feel everything: happiness, sadness, loss, and love. I’d love to be that young female who can empower, making others feel beautiful and great about themselves.”

That’s the most magical thing of all. | Source:

Twitter: @HayleyKiyoko

Instagram: @Kiyoko11

Facebook: HayleyKiyoko



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