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It’s one o’clock in the afternoon, and Halsey is buzzed on Veuve Clicquot rosé and saying things she shouldn’t. For example, the last time she was in Central Park, she was with an ex-boyfriend who was coming down from heroin and just wanted to lie in the sun for six hours.
Or that her record label’s original intention for today was for us to go on a romantic boat excursion. “And I was like, ‘Fuck, no,'” she grumbles. “‘I’m not going out on a sailboat. Boats irritate me to no end. That’s not something I’m going to do.’ It’s similar to a blind date, only I won’t spend the entire time worrying if I’ll be compelled to have sex with you afterwards.”
Or that she has previously been caught by police for drinking in a park — she fled, but left behind a rucksack with coursework under her name – but has never been arrested. “It looks that I’m pretty skilled at getting out of situations,” she admits. She sits back on a picnic blanket and sips from her Solo cup. Also, you must try to play this What Halsey Song Are You Quiz.
What Halsey Song Are You Quiz
She’s also, probably not coincidentally, very skilled at getting herself into trouble. A little more than two years ago, Halsey was Ashley Nicolette Frangipane, a 19-year-old community college dropout couch-surfing between basements in her home New Jersey and the Bed-Stuy/Lower East neighborhood of Brooklyn.
Side hovels of a fierce, tattooed-up gang of “degenerate stoners” she met through her lover two years prior, back when she was an arty, misfit high school kid taking AP classes and prowling the halls covered in paint. She’d been accepted to the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design, only to discover that she couldn’t afford to attend. She’d discovered that the education she could afford was a waste of time. She was officially homeless because her parents had kicked her out when she dropped out of school (“They just didn’t agree with a lot of things about me”). Her phone service had been disconnected.
She didn’t have any health insurance. Her companions would pool their money to split a $1 slice of pizza and then get high on a roof somewhere in their underpants. “I remember one time I had $9 in my bank account and bought a four-pack of Red Bull and used it to stay up overnight over the course of two or three days since it was less hazardous to not sleep than it was to sleep somewhere random and possibly get raped or abducted,” she recalls later.
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In other words, she was living the bohemian dream, and when it became a little less dreamy, she’d go stay with her grandmother, the one who had taught her to play “Memory” on the piano when she was four. “My granny was an old Italian woman from New Jersey,” Halsey confirms, “and she possessed the sheet music to Cats.”
During this period of rambling, Halsey was invited to a party at a Holiday Inn in Newark, a tempting proposition since, as she puts it, “I believed hotel party equals bed.” “I required a bed.” She met a music guy later in the night, who then referred her – based on a cellphone video of her playing a song she’d written – to another music guy, who invited her to his place to perhaps collaborate.
Halsey claims to be an eight-instrumentalist, although she just began writing music to encourage people to listen to her poems. “It was the first time I’d ever been in a studio,” she explains, “and by the studio,’ I meant someone’s basement with a microphone and recording equipment.”
She began writing “Ghost,” a song about her junkie ex, during that first meeting. She posted the music to SoundCloud about 10 p.m. a few weeks later, and when she went back in an hour later, her Twitter account was exploding. She claims that by 3 a.m., five labels had contacted her. By the next morning, the song had reached the top of the charts.