Halsey took a break from recording her third album to stop by the sixth annual Capitol Congress, Aug. 7 at Hollywood’s ArcLight Theater and the “Without Me” singer pumped adrenalin into the proceedings in a candid Q&A with author/journalist Lizzy Goodman.
“I feel like a speedball of a human. I’m basically freebasing my way through life right now,” Halsey said, as she talked about recording her third album, growing up in the age of social media and her pending quarter-life crisis.
“I’m going to be 25 in two months. I’m a quarter of century old. I didn’t think I was going to be alive that long,” she said. “I grew up in a world where being 25 [meant] having three kids and being in a shitty relationship or I was going to be dead because young people with bi-polar disorder who grow up with no resources don’t usually end up thriving at 25.” Noting that her mother had already had her by Halsey’s age, she added “I want kids hellabad.”
“Nightmare,” Halsey’s current song is a “one-off thing in the amount of rage” it displays, she said. “Female rage is a tight subject for me right now,” she said. “I’m interested in female everything right now…I went from only wanting to hang out with boys to ‘I love women, they’re awesome.’ I’ve grown out of my internalized misogyny.”
She then added that the forthcoming album — of which “Nightmare” is not a part — “has anger, betrayal and confusion, but it’s more inward that I intended it to be.” She intended to write about the world around her, “but I got two songs in and [realized] I only know about me… This album is less dystopian fantasy world and more like ‘this is what I’m thinking right now: 'the world sucks. Fuck.’”
Halsey signed with Capitol when she was 19 and she thanked the label for having patience with her. “[They] have seen me grow up since I was 19 years old; they knew me when I was shitty… everyone’s shitty when they’re 19.”
Goodman asked Halsey where her 19-year-old self would think she would be now on the cusp of 25. “I thought that I would have been able to keep a boyfriend longer than this, so that’s a starter,” she said with laugh. “I didn’t think I would have had as cool boyfriends as I’ve had…or as shitty.”
By the time she was 14, Halsey says she had 45,000 visitors to her MySpace page, adding, “half of those people should probably go to jail.” Joining Tumblr followed, where she amassed a following by giving advice and began sharing her music. While she joked that Tumblr was “my bitch,” she admitted when it comes to current social media, “I don’t know what’s going on. Think I have a TikTok?”
Returning to her upcoming birthday, Halsey, sporting a Nine Inch Nails t-shirt, said "This is controversial…I’m going to be 25 and it’s a miracle I haven’t killed myself yet. I hope I can get married soon, but in the meantime, I hope I can fuck as many people as I can.”
She also addressed her activism, including her partnerships with Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, noting “I go to bed and wake up thinking the same thing: thinking about how I can change the world. Hopefully, I never lose that and the day I do, take me out into the yard guys. I’m serious.”