Halsey Talks Fan Entitlement, Sympathizes With Kanye West in ‘Billboard’
At some point in their career, most current artists have to actively choose to disengage from their fanbases on social media, in an attempt to keep some semblance of privacy (and sanity) for themselves. But Halsey, a direct product of a generation that remains permanently plugged-in, refuses to disconnect.
“I talk to them like real f—ing human beings, because they are,” she said in a cover story for Billboard's latest issue. “But then there’s also a sense of entitlement, where they feel like they have the right to chastise me like they would a friend. And sometimes you want to be like, ‘Who the f—k are you to say that?’”
That sense of entitlement, infuriating though it may be, is at least understandable -- to a point. Halsey developed a devoted online fanbase almost as quickly as she signed a record deal, and she finds she’s been unable to suffer the same growing pains as other artists who had a chance to hone their craft in the beginning stages of their careers.
“Most artists, their 60th show was in front of no one,” she said. “My first show was in front of 1,200 people. I’ve never had a chance to f—k up. I need to be good every night."
And while part of her appeal is that constant outreach to fans, it sometimes acts a double-edged sword to those who remain more cynical about the inner workings of the music industry.
"There are conspiracy theorists who think I was crafted in a boardroom,” she said. “Because I’m so very relatable and so very topical and so very Tumblr.”
Halsey’s newfound success (she’s not a fan of the word “fame,” apparently: “In my camp we have a different F-word and C-word. ‘Fame’ and ‘celebrity.’ I hate them.”), has at least given her some insight into one of the most polarizing figures in music right now: Kanye West.
"I love Kanye West,” she said. “I think he’s a visionary. He’s one of those people for whom I separate his personality from his artistry. But I also sympathize with him in a weird way, because being a musician is tough. If you were asked to talk about yourself for six hours a day you would probably go crazy, too! Which is why I give Kanye the benefit of the doubt. Being him must be exhausting.”
In the end, though, Halsey recognizes that her live performances help her stay grounded and ultimately give her a reason to keep going: “I could be having the worst day of my life, hate my body, think I’m fat, think I suck, and as soon as I hear the first few notes of my intro, that all goes away."
“Everything that I hate about myself goes away when I was onstage,” she continued. “That’s why I cling to it so much — it keeps me from killing myself."
Read Halsey's full cover story over on Billboard.
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