Photos by Jackie Lee courtesy of management.
Samsung Level Music Lab gave a few lucky students at the University of Southern California the chance to attend an intimate talk with huge pop star Halsey last week. The talk, moderated by Justin Bieber’s videographer Rory Kramer, gave students an inside look into what life is like for the young artist. At the age of 21, Halsey has already toured the U.S. countless times and is gearing up for an almost completely sold-out summer arena tour that ends with a hometown show at Madison Square Garden. Halsey’s catchy pop and brooding album Badlands may be well known, but her roots are lesser known. “On the weekends I was the worst kid ever”, she reflects. On the weekends, Halsey grew up on warped tour pop punk. Telling stories about her evolution of wanting to hang out with musicians, then booking shows at venues, then wanting to create her own success painted a lesser known picture of Halsey that had all of the students in attendance captivated.
Halsey also let the students in on what life is like on the road. “Imagine 6,000 people that love you are in your garage or your backyard. That’s what it’s like waking up on a tour bus”, she said. On the topic of the challenge aspect of touring, Halsey joked about an actual fear of playing shows. “You can play a million shows every night but you’ll always have the fear no one will show up”.
Continuing the conversation, Halsey explained that “Badlands was the scariest thing that ever happened to me”. Badlands, obviously, is a concept album. It’s “the concept of this otherworldly place that’s toxic to be trapped in but comfortable”, which is what she was experiencing as she has blocked herself off from the world while writing the album. She also explained her admiration for Kanye. “The reason that Kanye is a genius is he takes these things he’s going through and makes them art”. Extending her admiration for Kanye, she said that her dream collaboration is Kanye, Drake, or Brand New. I think everyone dreams just as much for a Halsey and Drake collaboration as Halsey herself.
Her advice to the students? “It’s not about math…You need to care less about the formula and more about the instinct”. Even though it seems as if Halsey has done everything correctly in the textbook on how to be a successful musician, she is a strong believer that there is no formula for success. Her take is that you will succeed more with a strong message than any formula. “Whatever your message is, carry it but don’t be silent” was her strongest piece of advice for the college students. You can’t miss Halsey, she seems to be everywhere. In 2016, she will be embarking on a Europe and South America tour, after which she will be doing a summer arena tour here in the states. More info can be found on her website here.
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