Hayley Kiyoko has been taking the world by storm since the release of her iconic song and video "Girls Like Girls" last year.
Having her heavy hand in singing, acting, and directing, the 25-year-old stays very busy. Now Kiyoko gives her fans even more to obsess over with her latest project Citrine.
In the EP,her vocals lay perfectly over the infectious beats of each song, which you'll be singing for weeks. She followed up the release with videos for songs "Gravel To Tempo" and "One Bad Night".
We got to chat with Kiyoko about her life after "Girls Like Girls", Citrine, and her upcoming tour.
How do you balance acting directing, and singing all at once?
I definitely take too much on...like when I start directing the videos I tend to not be in them because it's just a lot of pre-production as far as making sure everyone's on the same page. So for example, the "Gravel to Tempo" music video, I was in front of the camera so I really had to draw out storyboards for my team so that when we got on set I just became the artist and kind of took off the director's cap and just did our thing. So it's difficult at times to juggle it all. It's definitely satisfying to write a song, have a vision for it, and to shoot that vision and to be able to sit at home and watch that video online and go, "Wow, that's awesome."
How does it feel that you just telling your story is so impactful to people around the world?
I feel really supported. I think it's really cool that I'm able to just be honest with my fans and show my perspective and show my emotion and have them connect to it...because it's not fake, these are my feelings and this is what I go through.
I'm a very sensitive person and it feels very wonderful and freeing that I can just continue to share my journey song after song and have no barriers and not have to worry if this song is gonna connect with people. There are so many people in this world that I feel can relate to me in some way and that's why this is so freeing. To have that kind of support right at the beginning, I'm very fortunate and grateful to my fans.
Did you expect all the success from "Girl Like Girls?"
No, I was terrified of it. I remember watching it the night before going, "I'm not connecting to it, it's not good, why am I releasing this?" All these nerves and fears arose. Last year, I only had like 9,000 YouTube subscribers so I was worried--why release something if no one's gonna watch it?-- and then when I released it, I don't know how, I don't know why but people were watching it and people were sharing it and now I have over 500,000 subscribers on my YouTube channel because of that. I think it just started a dialogue, kind of self-normalizing my feelings, and I feel like that's my goal as an artist--to just normalize things.
I remember this one moment when I was on tour and I was opening for like 15 people and my band and my tour manager were sitting in the backseat of this mini van. We were watching the video hit 500,000 views and we were freaking out. To look back at that moment and now to see it at 48 million, it's been a pretty wild year.
What was it like making Citrine? What was that process?
I love this EP. It's very flirty and fun. We wrote the EP in Northern California and I'm really inspired by color, so we start every writing session with a photo or an image of a color. I tell the producers what I want the song to sound like. I look at the image and I go, "Is this orange? Is this blue?" and we just start building this world of colors.
"Gravel to Tempo" was the first song on the EP and it was the first song we wrote and then the last song on the EP "Palace" was the last song we wrote while we were up there. "Palace" is a really special song, and along with "Pretty Girl-Pretty Girl," is one of my favorite songs on the EP.
How did you end up choosing Erin Armstrong for the "One Bad Night" video?
I loved the fact that she had documented her transition on YouTube and has been so open about her life. People can relate to her and we ended up Skyping. I just talked to her about the project and the story. She had never acted before, but she had this drive and this charisma that I just felt like she could do anything. And she did great.
Can we expect any more videos soon?
Totally. I just released "One Bad Night" but I love to create visuals with my music and my goal is to eventually put a visual to each song. I'm definitely not gonna stop making and creating music videos and I'm really just trying to challenge myself, especially with the "One Bad Night" video.
How do you stay engaged with all your fans?
Well, it's a lot of work with so many social media apps. I can't keep up but I just try to be as honest and real with them as possible. I'm constantly keeping them involved and letting them know what's going on and I just try to be really real about it.
This tour is a pretty big deal for you--how does it feel?
It's the first time that I'm gonna be headlining my own tour and the first time I'm showing up and everyone's there to see me. I'm really excited about it but like nervous excited. I'm a very emotional person and I don't wanna cry on stage. It's gonna be this amazing energy with so many people in one room. I'm just really looking forward to feeling all that love and support.