Halsey’s mainstream media rejection hypocritical

By Managing Editor

Indie-pop musician Halsey has established herself as one of the most exciting artists in the music industry and been heralded as one of the “It Girls” of 2015.

A definitive product of the Tumblr generation, Halsey has amassed a massive online following that has translated into critical acclaim and respectable sales—her first album BADLANDS debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 following its Aug. 28 release.

The star’s transition into mainstream media has been rapid since the release of her debut EP Room 93 in 2014, but none of that matters to the star, according to a Nov. 5 Q&A with the artist by PopJustice.

“I honestly couldn’t give a s–t,” Halsey said to the interviewer Peter Robinson, who asked if mainstream media was irrelevant to her.

“Why are you doing interviews then?” Robinson inquired. Halsey tried to backpedal, claiming the interviews helped open her awareness. “But if the media are irrelevant…” Robinson interjected.

“It’s still an entry point,” Halsey responded. “I think the media’s opinion is irrelevant, but I think my presence in it is important.”

Halsey’s response is unclear and fails to completely clarify why she still goes through the motions of a mainstream pop star if mainstream media is “irrelevant” to her.

From publicity stunts like breaking the rules and crowd surfing during Lollapalooza on Aug. 2 to collaborating with pop superstar Justin Bieber on his new album, it is clear that Halsey is appreciating the attention mainstream media give her. Pretending not to care about it for the sake of maintaining her indie image is silly and damages her credibility as an artist—is she in this business to share her music or just to be cool?

It is OK to be deemed a mainstream artist, and Halsey’s rejection of that label seems foolish when examining her rise to stardom. Halsey first started gaining attention in 2012 when she posted a parody video of Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” on her Tumblr account, which served as a fan blog for her favorite band at the time, One Direction. 

Looking at Halsey’s roots shows that she has long been influenced by mainstream media, so calling it “irrelevant” is a slap in the face of her own artistry.

Signed with Capitol Records, Halsey has landed major promotional slots since her album’s release, making appearances on shows like “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and “Last Call with Carson Daly.” She has also opened for major mainstream acts like Imagine Dragons and The Weeknd and accepted nominations for awards from MTV and People’s Choice.

Halsey is by no means the independent artist she pretends to be, and her actions show intentions of maintaining a largely mainstream career, but that’s OK.

Her music is great. She offers a creative, edgy sound incomparable to most of her peers and has been recognized as one of the more talented acts to surface in recent years. The effort Halsey gives to defend her independent image should be redirected toward producing more high-quality music. Halsey should allow her music to do the talking and let that defend her artistry.