From a very young age, the half-Japanese, half-English/Irish daughter of actor Jamie Alcroft and figure skater Sarah Kawahara was a performer. First, it was national commercials. Then it was figure skating. Then it was a band and a girl group. Then it was TV and movie stardom. Throughout it all, however, is one theme: None of it came without hard work.
And now Hayley Kiyoko is ready to apply herself to her next phase, a solo music career. With three EPs out already, her prodigious talent is apparent, but her fans are craving more.
But before she drops a much anticipated debut album, Hayley Kiyoko is hitting the road, headlining a 19-stop North American tour that starts March 2nd at The Observatory in Santa Ana, CA.
Four Over Four spoke with Hayley Kiyoko about the fight for equality and what inspires her music.
Want a chance to win a pair of tickets to see Hayley Kiyoko on her One Bad Night tour? Click here.
Let’s start with your hometown of Los Angeles. How has the culture of LA help shape who you are today, as a person and an artist?
As a kid, I always remembered feeling free and believing that anything was attainable. I also never questioned the idea of pursuing art or the struggles it could bring. I have to thank the culture of LA for that unwavering bravery to allow myself to stay open minded.
Outside of your music career, you’ve succeeded in other professions such as acting. What’s next?
I cannot wait to hit the road for my first North American headlining tour. I have been working towards this new chapter in my music career and I am super excited to finally connect with my fans across the country on a more direct level. I also couldn’t be more excited about my new music video that I directed, coming out this week!
[UPDATED March 2nd, 2017]:
Your music casts a lot of different emotions that derive from real life experiences. What is the process or the approach you take when writing a song?
I am really inspired by color and atmospheres. I usually start by pulling up an image with specific colors to set the mood of what I want to achieve when I’m writing a song.
From there, I begin to create an atmosphere and set the tone. Melodies start to form and then comes the final step, which is always the lyrics. I like to keep the options open lyrically by first letting the melody express itself.
In the past you’ve been vocal about your support for the LGBTQ community and the deep message within your music. Can you tell a bit about your thoughts on the current atmosphere in relation to LGTBQ and other discrimination issues?
My art isn’t necessarily an idea, it’s my life. I feel motivated to share my stories and struggles that a lot of people can relate to, so we that can comfort one another especially during times like these. It’s vital to fight for equality on all levels, and I try to showcase that through my art.
What are you looking forward to the most on the upcoming tour?
Honestly, I look forward just to being out on tour. The struggle as an artist to finally have the opportunity and resources to tour is a gift in itself. I cannot wait to be able to embrace so many of my fans who have been there with me since day one.
Do you have any strange pre-show habits?
I wouldn’t say it’s strange, but I love to drink Tulsi Sweet Rose tea before every show. It calms me down and mellows me out for a few moments before I am back up again.
What about post-show?
My favorite post-show meal is a good burger and fries. And root beer. Yum!
What’s the craziest expression of fan love you’ve ever received?
I think it was back in November 2016. It was my first show on a small headline run I was on to promote my EP Citrine, and it kicked off at Webster Hall in New York City.
One of the coolest moments I will never forget was when I came out and began to play, I couldn’t hear my voice. I started to panic because I was singing but nothing was coming out. I then realized that my voice was being drowned out by the entire audience singing the words. That has never happened to me before. I normally am lucky if a couple people know words to maybe one song. That was truly surreal and felt like the biggest hug in the world.
Do you have any plans to release new music in 2017?
Most definitely. Gotta get that full length album out.