Music has always had an extraordinary ability to unite people. Waiting in line for hours to get the coveted first row spot and screaming the lyrics to your favorite songs while dancing in sweaty crowds with your friends; there’s really nothing like it. The past year and a half has been particularly painful for concert-lovers as events everywhere have been canceled for safety. However, it still has the same power to join us together no matter who we are or where we’re from- which has been especially important while all of us are isolated in our homes. On April 16, 2021, Her Campus at Pace University partnered with P.A.C.E Board to promote this sense of normalcy with a performance and Q&A with none other than “Lesbian Jesus” herself, Hayley Kiyoko.
The event was part of P.A.C.E. Board’s multi-day Zoom event series known as Unleashed, the other days featuring celebrities like Evan Peters, Laverne Cox, and Pete Davidson. Hayley kicked off with an all-out, pre-recorded performance of some of her top hits (including my personal favorites “Demons,” “Curious,” and “Girls Like Girls”). I’ve seen other Zoom performances before, but they’ve all been acoustic, toned-down versions of concerts. These are beautiful all the same, but don’t have the same kick that full band performances, complete with lights, have. Plus, Hayley brought not only incredible vocals but also incomparable energy to every song. It was a true pleasure to watch and had me dancing alone in my bedroom.
After the performance, Hayley joined the Zoom live to answer questions that HC at Pace had provided. Fear not, fans of everyone’s favorite rebellious guitarist Stella Yamada; we did ask her about Lemonade Mouth. Hayley said that when the movie was filming she was only 19 years old and pretty psyched about one of her first big movies (“I was like, oh my gosh, a Disney movie- this is crazy”). On top of that, she was excited to perform on stage, saying “even though it was semi-fake, I was really able to live my rock star dreams, [and] now I’m getting to actually pursue those and live those… I’ve always wanted to be a musician, so it was a really fun opportunity for me to get to be in Lemonade Mouth and get to experience that.” And, in case you were wondering, her favorite song from the film is “Somebody.” However, there were also plenty of questions about her own music. Two of my fanbases collided when Hayley mentioned that she’d love to collaborate with Dua Lipa (as well as Janelle Monáe, Anderson .Paak, Bruno Mars, and HAIM). When asked about her creative process, Hayley told us that while many times music comes from strong feelings, you also have to be able to always write music (“sometimes I’ll write a song when I don’t really want to write a song, and that’s almost better because you have no expectations and you don’t really know what you’re gonna write… you end up discovering an emotion or feeling that you’ve been experiencing that you haven’t realized”). She starts with chords, then moves to melodies, then lyrics. Perhaps the most exciting news was to hear that she’s working on her second album right now.
Pace has plenty of students hoping to get into the entertainment business, whether it be acting or music, so Hayley gave us some advice; “The thing that comes to mind is trying to stay true to who you are as best as you can… one of our biggest hurdles as humans is being ourselves and that’s such a cliche, easy thing to say but it’s scary! It’s so scary to be like ‘this is where I come from, this is what I’ve experienced, and this is who I am right now… owning that and sharing that with people is scary!” The best music videos that she’s done, Hayley said, stemmed from being afraid and doing it anyways.
Make sure to follow Hayley on Instagram, as she hinted that she has “some things brewin’…”