What do you get when you take one part Lorde and two parts Lady Gaga? This week’s spotlight artist, Halsey! In just a few years time, Halsey (who’s given name is Ashley Nicolette Frangipane) has gone from a hopeful teen posting song covers on Youtube and social media to full blown pop star with a no. 1 album and single to her credit.
Her 2015 debut album Badlands increased her following and garnered fair commercial success through the single “New Americana,” which serves as a defiant, even rebellious anthem for the millennial generation. Her debut allowed her to establish herself as a noticeable force in the synth-pop genre, but didn’t exactly catapult her into mainstream pop. That is, until mid-2016, when she joined The Chainsmokers for one of the year’s biggest songs that will most likely get stuck in your head just at the mention of it (hint: it brought Halsey about a million steps “closer” to becoming a household name).
Following the global success of said Chainsmokers collab, Halsey rightfully earned more clout in mainstream music, which paid off by the time she released her sophomore album Hopeless Fountain Kingdom earlier this month. The acclaimed collection scored the New Jersey native her first no. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 200 chart and snapped a six-month streak of only male artists/groups earning the top position.
Her lead single “Now or Never” has already sold over half a million copies and is her highest charting single as a solo artist. In addition to commercial success, Halsey’s latest music has sparked discussion and praise, particularly when it comes to the promotional single “Strangers,” which features Lauren Jauregui of Fifth Harmony. The song explores unfamiliar territory as an LBGT love duet, which critics have deemed groundbreaking and necessary for promoting inclusion in today’s society.
With a bigger platform and following, Halsey is now inching her way to becoming one of the premier female pop stars around today with enough of an edge to make her both different from the cookie-cutter image yet remain appealing.