The glamour and darkness of their life to date…Whether it’s their ever-changing hairstyles and colours, their unique fashion sense, or the distinctive sound of their voice, it’s safe to say that Halsey is a name known worldwide.
A feisty, confident character, their creative talents have allowed Halsey to make an impact in both the music and film industries, and rightfully claims a strong fanbase that spans the globe.
Even though Halsey debuted their first two studio albums at No. 2 and No. 1, appeared as in A Star is Born and collaborated with Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, the life of this star matches glamour to unexpected darkness.
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Born in Edison, New Jersey, USA, on September 29th 1994, the singer-songwriter was named Ashley Nicolette Frangipane. It isn’t uncommon for artists to use stage names for themselves and Halsey’s is actually an anagram of her first name! Halsey also admitted that she got her stage name inspiration based on a New York subway street explaining how that is where she developed her musical talent.
Along with their younger brothers Sevian and Dante, one of the lesser known facts about Halsey is that Halsey is biracial. Their mother is of Hungarian, Italian, and Irish descent while their father is African-American with a bit of Irish ancestory.
At the age of four, her grandmother taught her how to play Cats’ Memory, originally by Barbra Streisand, as “being an old Italian woman from New Jersey, my grandma had the sheet music to cats.” She then went on to learn the viola, violin and cello before moving on to learn the acoustic guitar at 14.
Halsey was a victim of bullying throughout high school and when she was 17 attempted to commit suicide by overdosing on painkillers which left her hospitalised for nearly three weeks in a psychiatric hospital. She was also diagnosed with bipolar disorder in the same year.
There was a darker and dangerous time in Halsey’s life that began around the time she dropped out of college in their late teens. Halsey was enrolled at Rhode Island School of Design but transferred to a community college due to financial issues before eventually dropping out. This resulted in their parents kicking her out, occasionally staying with their grandmother, friends, or in homeless shelters.
Halsey has even admitted to purchasing a pack of Red Bull to stay awake all night so that they didn’t have to worry about being assaulted or raped as they slept.
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Before she debuted as Halsey, she gained minor Tumblr notoriety as se7enteenblack thanks to a parody of Taylor Swifts ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’ where the parody lyrics were inspired by Swift’s relationship with charm-heavy star Harry Styles. The parody went viral at the time and ended up being dubbed as ‘The Haylor Song’.
After a party in 2014, they went back to a studio with a guy they had just met, which may sound stupid and risky, but that’s where she ended up writing their debut single ‘Ghost’. The studio was just someone’s basement that had a microphone and recording equipment but it clearly paid off as a few weeks later they uploaded it to SoundCloud and was contacted by five record labels the next morning.
Halsey has no trouble speaking her mind when it comes to anything. She constantly raises awareness on topics such as planned parenthood, LGBTQ+ and is an active feminist. She publicly speaks about being bisexual, biracial, and bipolar and donates to many causes.
In 2017, she attended the Women’s March and donated one dollar to Planned Parenthood for every retweet she received. She wound up donating $100,000.
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in the next 5 hours each RT = $1 donation by me to @PPact. Please read & share on why PP is important for all women. @CecileRichards pic.twitter.com/PEfwIecZ1N
— h (@halsey) January 21, 2017
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Halsey doesn’t feel natural when their tattoos are covered up. They opt for the more scantily-clad outfits that “everyone always thinks are some weird agenda”, but in reality, they just wants to show off their 29 tattoos.
As already mentioned, the star publicly speaks out about what she believes in and is incredibly honest. Maybe too honest for her own good. In 2015, she suffered a miscarriage before her Vevo LIFT show for her debut album ‘Badlands’ yet still performed. She relied on an adult diaper and two percocet to get through the gig as she was miscarrying during the show. In 2017, Halsey admitted that sometimes she wishes she never opened up about it because “people were really violent about it.”
In 2016, Halsey was diagnosed with endometriosis and announced it publicly via their social media platforms. They claim that this was the reason for their miscarriage in 2015 and since then, has underwent an undisclosed surgery to lessen the pain.
An all-round staunch activist, Halsey stepped up her support for the Black Lives Matter movement after participating in the nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd in 2020.
Sharing her graphic and violent experiences at the marches on social media where she was in the frontline, hit twice and gassed repeatedly for hours, she has now launched a special fund to help black creators. The ‘Black Creators Funding Initiative’ is an ongoing initiative entirely funded by the Halsey team which aims to help artists, poets, graphic designers, writers, film makers, music producers, journalists, make-up artists, and creators of any kind.
Halsey uses both ‘they’ and ‘she’ pronouns; this article uses both to align itself with their wishes.
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Words: Shannon Garner
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