Ashley Nicolette Frangipane (//; born September 29, 1994), known professionally as Halsey (//), is an American singer and songwriter. Musically talented from a young age, she began songwriting at seventeen. In 2012, she began releasing music on social media platforms, and was signed by Astralwerks in 2014. Soon after, she released her debut EP, Room 93 (2014), and toured with larger acts to promote it.
Halsey performing in March 2015
Ashley Nicolette Frangipane
September 29, 1994
Edison, New Jersey, U.S.
Her debut studio album Badlands was released in 2015. Spawning four platinum tracks and two gold tracks, Badlands peaked at number two on the US Billboard 200 and was certified platinum in the US. To promote the album, she embarked on her debut headlining world tour. In 2017, Halsey released her second studio album Hopeless Fountain Kingdom, which consisted of more "radio friendly" music than her prior releases. It peaked at number one in the US, and was preceded by "Now or Never", which debuted at number 17 on the Billboard Hot 100 and became Halsey's first solo track to earn multi-platinum status. The album also produced "Bad at Love", which became her first top-five entry on the Billboard hot 100 as a solo artist. In 2018, Halsey released "Without Me", which became her first number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100 as a solo artist.
Outside of her solo music, several of Halsey's collaborations had top-twenty entries on the Billboard Hot 100. "Closer", which Halsey also cowrote, topped charts in major music markets and won a number of accolades.
Halsey is noted for her distinctive singing voice. Her music focuses on her personal experiences and telling a story. Her accolades include a Grammy nomination and four Billboard Music Awards. Outside of her career, Halsey has been involved in suicide prevention awareness and sexual assault victim advocacy.
Ashley Nicolette Frangipane was born on September 29, 1994, in Edison, New Jersey. She is the daughter of Nicole, who works for security in a hospital, and Chris, who manages a car dealership. Her father is of African descent, while her mother is of Italian, Hungarian, and Irish descent. She has two younger brothers, Sevian and Dante. Growing up, Halsey played the violin, viola, and cello, until moving on to the acoustic guitar when she was fourteen years old. She was also a fan of comic books, mystery novels, and "world building" video games, which later became essential to her music.
Throughout her childhood Halsey's family moved frequently, and her parents worked many jobs. By the time she reached her teen years Halsey had been enrolled in six different schools, stating that the frequent moving during her childhood has caused her to be, "... used to packing up and leaving, to condensing myself into a digestible version because people don't have much time to get to know me." In high school Halsey participated in theatre, and was the yearbook editor. She was also named "Best Artist". During this time Halsey was bullied for her tattoos and shaved head, and struggled with body image. At seventeen Halsey attempted to commit suicide and survived, which led to a seventeen day hospitalization. Following this, she was diagnosed as bipolar, stating that her mother also struggles with bipolar disorder. She began using recreational drugs soon after, claiming her bipolar disorder caused her to become an "unconventional child" who grew up to be an "inconvenient woman." Also when she was seventeen, she started "seeing" a man who was twenty-four and lived on the Halsey Street in Brooklyn. Halsey stated "That’s where I first starting writing music and where I started to feel like I was a part of something bigger than my town in middle of nowhere New Jersey. Halsey is kind of like a manifestation of all the exaggerated parts of me, so it’s like an alter ego.” In 2012, Halsey graduated from Warren Hills Regional High School in Washington, New Jersey. After high school she enrolled at the Rhode Island School of Design. However, she withdrew due to financial hardships and attended community college instead. Halsey stated that she had always known she was bisexual but didn't start acting on it until her later years in college.
Halsey dropped out of community college, and then was kicked out of her home by her parents stating “They just didn’t agree with a lot of things about me”. Soon after she started living in a basement in lower Manhattan with a group of "degenerate stoners" who she knew through her current boyfriend. When she wasn't living there, there were times when she lived in one of New York's many homeless shelters. When describing this period of her life, Halsey stated, "I remember one time I had $9 in my bank account, and bought a four-pack of Red Bull and used it to stay up overnight over the course of two or three days, because it was less dangerous to not sleep than it was to sleep somewhere random and maybe get raped or kidnapped." She would occasionally stay with her grandmother.
2012–2014: Career beginnings
Halsey started writing music when she was seventeen, and during 2012 she began posting videos to social media sites such as YouTube and Kik, and in particular Tumblr, under the username of se7enteenblack. She became known for a parody of Taylor Swift's song "I Knew You Were Trouble" (2012) inspired by Swift's relationship with Harry Styles. She then wrote a follow up song. In early 2016, an old video of Halsey singing in a mall went viral. Music became Halsey's "confessional approach" and a form of therapy, after the difficult life she had endured. Having written poems for years, Halsey began writing songs to promote them. She eventually went to a party and met a producer who asked her to collaborate on a song with him because he liked her voice. The result, a song about her ex-boyfriend titled "Ghost", was posted by Halsey on SoundCloud several weeks after it was recorded. Within hours, the song gained online popularity, and she was subsequently contacted by several record labels, with the song charting and going on radio. She signed with Astralwerks, feeling that they gave her more creative freedom than other labels that contacted her. Following this, she played numerous acoustic shows in different cities under several stage names. She chose her Halsey because it is an anagram of her first name, as well as a street in Brooklyn where she spent a lot of time as a teenager, stating that the word "stuck out" to her.[a] She also stated Halsey was the most popular name she used. During this time Halsey wore many different hairstyles and colors, but became best known for her dyed blue hair. Halsey continued to switch her hair in following years to come. She also began doing covers of other artists' music. Around this time she was described as "tri-bi" due to her bisexuality, bipolar disorder, and biracial genetics. She condemned this label as soon as it rose.
2014–2016: Badlands and breakthrough
While working on her debut studio album, Halsey toured with The Kooks in 2014. During this time, she began an on-again-off-again relationship with Norwegian producer Lido. Halsey released her debut extended play, Room 93 (2014), on October 27. The album charted in the lower regions of the Billboard 200 and at number three on the Top Heatseekers chart. She performed songs from the album at South by Southwest in 2015, where she was the most tweeted about performer of the night. She embarked on a co-headlining tour with Young Rising Songs that March. In June, she became the opening act for Imagine Dragons on their Smoke + Mirrors Tour (2015) during the North American leg. Halsey became pregnant while on tour promoting her upcoming album, though suffered a miscarriage in July 2015. She attributed the miscarriage, which she did not publicly speak about until 2016, to her hectic work schedule.
Her debut studio effort, Badlands (2015), was released on August 28, 2015. Halsey co-wrote all of the songs on the album, while production was handled by a number of producers, including then-boyfriend, Lido. Musically, the album is mainly rooted in electropop, alternative pop, and synth-pop, and features industrial undertones. Halsey described the record as a concept album about a dystopian future society known as "The Badlands", which was a metaphor for her mental state at the time, stating that each song meant something different to her. At the time, Joe Levy of Rolling Stone cited Halsey as a "new Tumblr popstar with a knack for sticky imagery". Badlands debuted at Number Two on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 97,000 copies in the first week. It was reported in April 2017 that the album had sold over 504,000 copies in the United States, and has been certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). This album went platinum despite the fact that it didn't contain a "proper radio hit". The record saw similar success in territories such as the United Kingdom, where it debuted at Number Nine and went on to sell over 100,000 copies. Badlands spawned four commercial singles, which achieved minor chart success worldwide; all four have been certified gold by the RIAA since their release. "Castle" was notably rerecorded to advertise the 2016 film The Huntsman: Winter's War. The project was further promoted by Halsey's Badlands Tour (2015–16) and her spot as the opening act for select dates of The Weekend's The Madness Fall Tour (2015). Gasoline was not released as a single and was only released on the Deluxe version of Badlands, but became one of the album's most popular tracks reaching over one hundred million streams on Spotify within a year of release, also being certified platinum.
Halsey appeared on the song "The Feeling" alongside Justin Bieber for his fourth studio album, Purpose (2015). The song was not officially released, though entered the top forty of the Billboard Hot 100 and earned certifications in countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom. They performed the song on Today in November 2015, in a "very sensual and touching" manner. She was one of four female performers to partner with MAC cosmetics for their Future Forward line; Halsey released a lipstick named after herself. The Senior Vice President and Group Creative Director of the company, James Gager, said "It feels like a great thing to be able to support artists who are breaking through but aren't necessarily at the top top, to push them forward." In May 2016, Halsey released the song "Tokyo Narita (Freestyle)", produced by Lido. The song was a standalone track that served as a promotional single from Halsey. During this time she collaborated with The Chainsmokers on the single "Closer" (2016), which she helped cowrite. The song went on to become one of the most successful singles of the year and became both acts' first song to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The single earned a number of awards and accolades, including a nomination at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. The lyric video for "Closer" was released on YouTube on July 29, 2016, and has since garnered over two billion views. Dating rumors sparked between Halsey and Andrew Taggart, due to the music video and 2016 MTV Video Music Awards performance for "Closer", but were never confirmed. Halsey made a cameo appearance as herself in the seventh episode of the Showtime series Roadies (2016). In 2016, Halsey was diagnosed with endometriosis and went public with it on her Twitter account.
2017–present: Hopeless Fountain Kingdom
Halsey announced work on her second studio album prior to the release of Badlands (2015), with progress on the record continuing throughout 2016 and 2017. In January, she released the single "Not Afraid Anymore" (2017) for digital download; it appears on the soundtrack of the film Fifty Shades Darker (2017). Her second studio album, titled Hopeless Fountain Kingdom (2017), was released on June 2. The album consisted of more "radio friendly" songs in comparison to her previous album, which she attributed to her desire to prove she was "more than capable" of creating "radio-ready" music. This album also consisted of music that was inspired by artists and genres ranging from synth-pop to Motown. Much like her debut album, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom is a concept album that revolves around a pair of lovers in a tale based on Romeo and Juliet; the project was inspired by her breakup with Lido. The album also focuses on Halsey's bisexuality and on bisexual characters. The album debuted atop the Billboard 200 chart with first week sales of 106,000 equivalent album units. The album was preceded by the release of the lead single "Now or Never", which was released on April 4 and peaked at 17 on the Billboard Hot 100, along with being certified 2× Platinum in the United States. She promoted the single and the upcoming album on Jimmy Fallon in May. The second official single, "Bad at Love", had better commercial performance in the US, peaking at 5 on the Billboard Hot 100, which made it her highest peak as a solo artist at the time. Two promotional singles were made available prior to the release of the album. To promote the record, Halsey embarked on the Hopeless Fountain Kingdom World Tour, which began on September 29, 2017. In October 2017, she appeared in a commercial for Jeep automobiles. Halsey also performed surprise DJ sets at Emo Nite in Los Angeles in 2017. For about a year, she was in a relationship with American rapper and record producer G-Eazy, until they split in July 2018. They met at a party in 2017. They collaborated for the song "Him & I", which peaked at number 14 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and was certified 2× Platinum in the United States. In mid 2017 she collaborated with the band Thirty Seconds to Mars on the song "Love Is Madness" for their album America. In late 2017, Halsey became one of the top five female artists in the U.S. on both Spotify and Billboard's 2017 end of the year lists, due to her album Badlands achieving over one billion streams on Spotify.
On February 2, 2018, she released "Sorry" with a video for her latest album Hopeless Fountain Kingdom. In March, she released "Alone", along with a new version featuring American rapper Big Sean and British rapper Stefflon Don. It was released as the third and final single from Hopeless Fountain Kingdom, and in April she released a music video. In July, she sang with Khalid for Benny Blanco's debut single "Eastside", which was released on July 12, 2018, along with a music video discussing various parts of Halsey's life. Also that year, she appeared in two films: she voiced Wonder Woman in Teen Titans Go! To the Movies, and cameoed as herself in A Star Is Born, directed by Bradley Cooper. On October 4, Halsey released a non-album single titled "Without Me". 'Without Me' is her, "... first solo-record since 2017." She stated that this song is also very personal to her, and as a result decided to release the song under her legal name, Ashley, instead of her stage name. On October 29, the official music video for "Without Me" was released featuring a "G-Eazy lookalike" following their second breakup. This song went on to become Halsey's most successful solo single to date, becoming her first number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100 as a solo artist. In December she celebrated reaching one billion streams on Spotify, and thanked her fans. On January 9, 2019, Halsey released a remix of "Without Me" featuring American rapper Juice WRLD. On February 9, Halsey appeared on Saturday Night Live as the host and musical guest. Her performance was praised, with ratings for the show rising and a younger audience watching.
Growing up, Halsey's father listened to The Notorious B.I.G., Slick Rick, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, and 2Pac, and her mother listened to The Cure, Alanis Morissette, and Nirvana. She said their music taste has been a great influence on her. Halsey called Panic! at the Disco the "band that changed [her] fucking life" and credits Lady Gaga for giving her the strength to be herself. Halsey mentioned a Long Island rock band, Brand New, as both an influence and a favorite of hers, once changing her biography on Instagram to "the devil and God are raging inside me", a reference to their third album. Her other influences include Kanye West, The Weeknd, Amy Winehouse, and Bright Eyes.
Cinema also influenced Halsey's development as a singer and songwriter, "There's plenty of musicians that I love and respect, but I think that I'm the most inspired by cinema," she said. Her influences include directors Quentin Tarantino, Harmony Korine, and Larry Clark.
Music style and themes
Halsey is noted for her distinctive "indie" style of singing, which has garnered controversial feedback. She sings with an "accent" different from her speaking voice. She is an electropop and synth-pop artist.
The New York Times' Jon Caramanica noted, "Halsey arrived as part of a slew of female pop rebels who emerged in the wake of Lorde's early-2010s recalibration of the genre's operating hierarchies." When speaking of Badlands, Billboard stated, "Halsey's larger-than-life vision combines the synthy darkness of Lorde, the neon-pop chutzpah of Miley Cyrus and the flickering film noir of Lana Del Rey."
Videos and stage
The biggest influence on her live performances is Adam Lazzara, the frontman of Taking Back Sunday, as she said, "One of the most inspiring things I've ever seen is watching [Taking Back Sunday] live and watching Adam use that microphone as a prop and I thought yep, I'm gonna do that."
At seventeen years old Halsey attempted to commit suicide. As a result, she participated in the mental health and suicide prevention awareness campaign called "I'm Listening", which was hosted by radio network Entercom and broadcast live on September 10, 2017.
After the 2017 Women's March, Halsey sent out a tweet that promised to donate one dollar to Planned Parenthood for every retweet it received. She ended up donating 100,000 dollars to Planned Parenthood. Halsey delivered a speech to more than 200,000 protesters at the 2018 Women's March. Instead of a traditional speech, Halsey performed a five-minute poem titled "A Story Like Mine", in which she told personal stories of sexual assault and violence throughout her life. Her personal narrative included accompanying her best friend to Planned Parenthood after she had been raped, her personal account of sexual assault by neighbors and boyfriends, and women sexually assaulted by Olympic doctor Larry Nassar.
Halsey stated, "Listen, and then yell at the top of your lungs, be a voice for all those who have prisoner tongues." Halsey read, "What do you mean this happened to me? You can't put your hands on me. You don't know what my body has been through. I'm supposed to be safe now. I've earned it." She completed her speech by requesting all—"Black, Asian, poor, wealthy, trans, cis, Muslim, Christian"—sexual assault victims to listen and support each other. A. J. Willingham of CNN opined in a headline that "Halsey's Women's March speech moved people around the world."
In November 2018 Halsey performed at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 2018 along numerous other artists, but in December she called out the company for its lack of inclusion of transgender models in its various shows, stating "as a member of the LGBT+ community, I have no tolerance for a lack of inclusivity. Especially not motivated by stereotype." Later that month, she performed her hit song "Without Me" on The Voice and received backlash for "sensually" dancing with Jade Chynoweth. Many called the backlash "homophobic" and Halsey defended her performance.
Personal life and health
Since the beginning of Halsey's career, she has been open about her struggles with bipolar disorder. According to Halsey, she was diagnosed with this mental disorder at the age of seventeen. When Halsey was seventeen she attempted to commit suicide, which is what led to her diagnosis and a seventeen-day admission to a psychiatric hospital. It was not long after her suicide attempt that Halsey began having success in the music industry. She has stated that singing and performing has helped her manage the symptoms she experiences from having bipolar disorder. Despite the struggles Halsey has faced as a result of this mood disorder, she has said that she embraces being bipolar because it makes her "really empathetic". In 2015, speaking of her success she stated "I'm just this fucked-up stoner kid who made it."
As Halsey's career has progressed, she has also been open about her struggles with endometriosis, a disorder that causes moderate to severe chronic pelvic pain and heavy, painful menstruation. Halsey accredits a miscarriage she experienced in 2015 to her endometriosis. Halsey revealed this information to the public when she appeared on the talk show The Doctors in April 2018. Only hours after Halsey realized she was having a miscarriage she went on stage to perform during a tour because she did not want to hurt her career by missing a performance. As a result of the miscarriage, Halsey plans on freezing some of her eggs.
In 2018, Halsey spoke out about her endometriosis and the pain it causes at the Blossom Ball, which is run by the Endometriosis Foundation of America. At the Blossom Ball, she stated that, "Sometimes I'm bloated, I'm on an I.V., I'm sick, I'm on medicine, and I'm backstage, terrified that I'm going to bleed through my clothes in the middle of my show." She told people who attended this event that she wanted to speak out because the media often portrays her as having perfect physical health despite her struggle with endometriosis. In January 2017, Halsey underwent surgery in an attempt to lessen the pain caused by the disorder. Halsey has not disclosed what type of surgery she underwent.
|2017||"Now or Never"||Halsey||Director||Co-directed with Sing J Lee|
|"Bad at Love"|
|"Alone" (featuring Big Sean and Stefflon Don)||Co-directed with Hannah Lux Davis|
|"Strangers" (featuring Lauren Jauregui)||Co-directed with Jessie Hill|
|2018||Teen Titans Go! To the Movies||Wonder Woman||Voice role|
|A Star Is Born||Herself||Cameo appearance|
|2016||Roadies||Herself||Episodes: "The Load Out" and "Carpet Season"|
|2017||American Dad!||Cindy||Voice role, Episode: "A Nice Night for a Drive"|
|2018-19||Saturday Night Live||Herself (musical performer/host)||3 episodes[b]|
|2018||Rupaul's Drag Race||Herself/guest judge||Episode: PharmaRusical|
|The Doctors||Celebrity guest||Episode: "#10126"|
|The Voice||Guest performer/Guest advisor||Season 14: Guest performer
Season 15: Guest advisor for Team Jennifer/ Guest performer
|2019||Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?||Herself||TV series, Pre-production|
- The American Youth Tour (2015) (with Young Rising Sons)
Awards and nominations
|2015||MTV Europe Music Awards||Artist on the Rise||Herself||Nominated|
|2016||People's Choice Awards||Favorite Breakout Artist|
|NME Awards||Best New Artist|
|Billboard Women in Music||Rising Star||Won|
|2017||Grammy Awards||Best Pop Duo/Group Performance||"Closer" (with The Chainsmokers)||Nominated|
|Album of the Year||Purpose (as featured artist)|
|iHeartRadio Music Awards||Song of the Year||"Closer" (with The Chainsmokers)|
|Dance Song of the Year||Won|
|Billboard Music Awards||Top Hot 100 Song||Won|
|Top Selling Song||Nominated|
|Top Radio Song|
|Top Streaming Song (Audio)|
|Top Streaming Song (Video)|
|Top Dance/Electronic Song|
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice Pop Song||Nominated|
|Choice Breakout Artist||Herself|
|Choice Summer Female Artist|
|MTV Italian Music Awards||Best Video||"Closer" (with The Chainsmokers)||Won|
|Myx Music Awards||Best International Video||Won|
|American Music Awards||Favorite Pop/Rock Song||Nominated|
|Collaboration of the Year|
|2018||iHeartRadio Music Awards||Female Artist of the Year||Herself|
|Billboard Music Awards||Top Female Artist||Nominated|
|Top Radio Songs Artist||Nominated|
|GLAAD Media Awards||Outstanding Music Artist||Won|
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice Song: Female Artist||"Bad at Love"||Nominated|
|iHeartRadio Much Music Video Awards||Video of the Year||"Bad at Love"||Nominated|
|Best Pop Artist or Group||Herself||Nominated|
|Fan Fave Artist||Nominated|
|2019||IHeartRadio Music Awards||Best Lyric||Without Me||Pending|
|Favourite Female Artist||Herself||Pending|
|Best Cover Song||Lucid Dreams||Pending|
|Global Awards||Best Female||Herself||Pending|
|Rising Star Award||Pending|
|Social Media Superstar||Pending|
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- on YouTube
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