Musical Spotlight: Halsey

Courtesy of @iamhalsey on Instagram

By Angela Hickey

Since the release of her platinum debut studio album Badlands (2015), Halsey has been making significant waves in the indie-pop music scene. To this day she continues to share her inspiring and personal messages through her lyrics, which becomes ever prominent in her third studio album, Manic (2020). 

Born Ashley Nicolette Frangipane, the singer and songwriter originally from Edison, New Jersey is completely self-made. She began her career by self-releasing her early tracks social media until she was officially signed to her first record label, Astralwerks, in 2014. 

Halsey classifies her iconic and easily recognizable style as a more indie-alternative style, which she has refined in her most recent works. Her earlier released singles, such as “clementine” (2019), “you should be sad” (2019) and “Graveyard” (2019) all debuted with critical acclaim.

Her most recent album, Manic (2020), is being marketed as “an album by Ashley for Halsey,” representing the deep inner reflecting that went on during the writing process. During an interview with NME, Halsey described her album as a “less dystopian fantasy world” that reflected her worldview, mostly stemming from her personal experiences dealing with her bipolar disorder. 

The album explores multiple genres of music and is her most experimental album to date, but that just makes it all the more beautiful. It is an up-close and personal look into the artist’s head and heart, and she completely smashes regular genre conventions and is continually open and honest with her audience and also herself. 

The album contains multiple musical collaborations with prominent artists such as popular solo-artist Alanis Morissette, as well as Suga of the prominent Korean pop group, BTS. Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone gave the album a four-star review and named Manic an “excellent new album,” praising its versatility of genres and “Halsey’s raw autobiographical portrait of [herself] as a young mess, craving her share of love and tenderness in a hostile world”.

By not shying away from her personal and traumatizing experiences, Halsey is able to create something so undeniably beautiful and heart-wrenching. She doesn’t hide away from who she is or tries to show the world a version of herself that isn’t real. She expresses herself in a manner that is purely human and irrefutably genuine.

Ever since gaining the spotlight she has always been outspoken and open with her past, never feeling ashamed of the things that make her human. Not only is she a talented musical performer, she is also an advocate for suicide prevention and sexual assault victim advocacy, again stemming from many of her harsh personal experiences.

You can stream the whole album now on Spotify, Apple Music or Amazon Music. Halsey is currently preparing to further promote her album on her “Manic World Tour” set to begin in Madrid, Spain on February 6th.

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