Halsey recently announced her sophomore album, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom, which will follow 2015's Badlands—the breakout that spawned hits, like "New Americana" and "Colors." We've already heard lead singles, "Now or Never" and "Eyes Closed," but what's most exciting about Halsey's new tracklist is an unreleased duet with Fifth Harmony's Lauren Jauregui, called "Strangers."
Though Halsey's long been open about her bisexuality, Jauregui came out in November, 2016, declaring herself a proud "bisexual Cuban-American woman." She continued, writing that she's "proud that the sex between my thighs provides a strength and resilience in me that only other women can feel, that my body curves in ways that allow me to create life within me."
When it came time for Halsey to find a collaborator who could authentically sing about queer romance, the 22-year-old immediately looked to Jauregui. "I was thinking to myself, if I want this song to be believable, it needs to be real,” Halsey said in an interview with Zach Sang. "So I’m not going to put a girl on the song to sing who’s straight. I’m just not going to do it. So I reached out to Lauren and she came in and she cut the vocal and it sounds awesome."
What resulted is a "love song for the LGBT community," Halsey told Sang, underlining the importance of two visible, queer women maintaining a mainstream pop presence. "It's unheard of," she said. "It's very rare to see it from a female perspective," which is why Halsey chose to use same-sex pronouns throughout the "Strangers" lyrics. But "at no point in the song does it make a point to say that it's a gay love song."
Watch Halsey's full interview, below.