This Halsey article was written by Lorna Gray, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Natalie Whitehouse.
The past year has seen the arrival and unstoppable success of fresh new female pop artists. Not only have they dominated the charts, the press and many music awards, they’ve also managed to break through the male run industry and come out top. No exception to this is New Jersey singer songwriter Halsey, who gathered momentum on social media and has since shown no signs of stopping, as her poetic lyrics accompanied by hip-hop inspired backing has gained a strong following – consisting of a homogenous teen fan base.
Her debut album ‘Badlands ‘sold over 1,000,000 copies worldwide, and it’s Halsey’s first ever time touring the UK, but she impressively managed to sell over 15,000 tickets and sold out the Manchester Academy, as it’s full to the brim of young teenaged girls accompanied by their bemused parents who are clearly here for legal reasons.
Main support is LA indie pop and androgynous singer songwriter Garrett Borns, better known as his stage name BØRNS. His soft vocals are joined with contagiously catchy power-rock style riffs on electronic guitar, as well as synth style keys and beautifully harmonized female backing, which compliment his smooth and delicate voice. The sound emitting from the stage is giving off strong 80’s vibes to an audience born over a decade too late to appreciate any sort of influence from that era. That doesn’t stop the audience from appreciating the music itself though, as the thunderous applause at the end of each song shows. Borns finishes his set with his most well known track, ‘Electric Love,’ which is met with a crowd singing along to every lyric and dancing to the optimistic beats, showing their appreciation for the LA artist.
As the lights dim, an impressive LED backdrop displays an array of lines and shapes, which flash in a variety of colours before spelling out HALSEY – this is met by an inevitable and predictable shriek from the youthful and overly enthusiastic crowd. The backdrop changes to a road in the middle of the desert, an image similar to the landscape in the background of her ‘Badlands’ debut. The singer finally graces the futuristic looking stage donning black sparkly hot pants, a crop top and a silver bomber jacket and plummets straight into her track ‘Gasoline,’ with its plinky-plonky Japanese style opening and hip-hop beats. Her vocals are soft yet powerful, although how she’s heard over the audience shouting and singing the lyrics in perfect sync is anybody’s guess as their chorus fills the vacuous space of the venue.
Ordinarily, a largely teenaged crowd shrieking and screaming in enthusiasm can be somewhat of an annoyance to the older members of gig attendees, but as Halsey shouts out “You don’t belong to anybody but your fucking self!” to a group of young and impressionable teens, of whom the majority are female, the corresponding shriek was accepted. There seemed to be a mutual understanding among older gig-goers that a strong, female, feminist role model would perhaps benefit these youthful girls.
Halsey begins her track ‘Hurricane,’ singing her feminist inspired “don’t belong to no man” lyrics with ease, and her voice flawless throughout the entirerity of her performance. She then signals that she is nearing the end of her set by thanking her band, her management, and her fans before singing the distinctive opening line of “cig-a-rettes…”, of her most famed track ‘Americana.’ Once again sang each note perfectly, and if you were to close your eyes, you may as well have been listening to a recording at home.
Since she’s already posed for Rolling Stone magazine, and she’s almost sold out her first UK tour completely, it may be safe to assume that Halsey is already huge, and will only be getting bigger as more and more people hear about her and her music. Music which is highly accessible to the masses as it combines elements of a variety of genres, creating a unique version of pop. It’s obvious that Halsey thrives off being on stage and is a natural performer, as her energy was almost contagious and her voice incredible.