Hayley Kiyoko hasn’t spent a lot time on earth currently.
In the final 4 months, the unapologetically queer pop star’s profession has reached stratospheric heights due to the discharge of her debut album, “Expectations,” in March, sold-out tour dates across America and Europe, two MTV Video Music Award nominations and an invite to carry out her hit “Curious” with Taylor Swift when the singer’s large Reputation stadium tour pulled into Boston just below two weeks in the past.
But Kikoyo, who not too long ago described herself as a “total space geek” to HuffPost, additionally spent just a few hours making her astronaut desires come true on a visit earlier this month to Houston’s Johnson Space Center throughout a time off from opening for Panic At The Disco.
“I used to be going off,” she informed HuffPost throughout a telephone name late final week. “And then I watched ‘Apollo 13’ ― now I really feel like I do know every part about area.”
Thankfully, Kiyoko got here again down from her cosmic excessive simply lengthy sufficient to elucidate how that Taylor Swift duet got here to be, why it was such an necessary second and what’s occurring together with her love life (spoiler alert: issues look like on the upswing there, too).
Last week, you gave the impression to be virtually catatonic after you carried out with Taylor Swift. Have you recovered but?
I’ve been on an IV drip ever since [laughs]. No, simply kidding. I feel I’ve processed it now. I feel I now know what occurred. I really feel like a giddy child ― it was simply so cool to get that validation.
How did that even occur?
Long story brief, I had a time off [from my tour with Panic At The Disco] in Boston the identical day she had her Boston present, so our groups had been speaking ― as a result of I initially was going to go and see her present. And then she was similar to, “Oh! Would Hayley want to perform ‘Curious’ with me?”
I used to be at a Cuban restaurant simply consuming plantains ― similar to “doot da doo” ― and my group known as me and I used to be freaking out. And then I met her the day of the present. It was so cool to see the magnitude of her success. It gave me one thing to concentrate on and shoot for. Getting a style of what it’s like for her and for her to share that with me was such a beautiful alternative.
It got here throughout as fully easy ― such as you’d been performing collectively for months. How many instances did you rehearse it?
I simply went to sound verify and we blocked it there. That was it. We had nice chemistry ― we acquired alongside so effectively ― and she or he’s a complete professional. We each acquired offstage and we had been simply screaming at one another about how a lot enjoyable it was.
This wasn’t your first encounter with Taylor this yr. In March, she defended you after you called out the homophobic double normal that you just confronted when music executives complained about you “doing another music video about girls.” You responded that Taylor at all times has males in her songs and movies and nobody says something about that, and she backed you up on social media.
But I used to be additionally curious about one thing else you mentioned in that very same interview: “I’m not over-sexualizing my music. I make out with women because I love women, not because I’m trying to be sexy. That’s not to turn heads — that’s my life.”
I feel what I imply is that quite a lot of instances, the best way lesbians are portrayed finally ends up being one thing created for the male eye. So that’s why I used to be saying this isn’t one thing I’m doing to be attractive ― that is who I’m. But on the identical time, I’m not saying that I can’t be attractive. I’m a lady and I really like myself and I really like different girls, and a few of these girls are actually handsome! [Laughs.] I ought to be capable to really feel attractive as effectively. I feel that’s what’s been cool about performing this previous yr ― actually feeling attractive and actually feeling assured in myself.
I’d argue that there’s one thing radical ― and political ― about it too, although, as a result of we’ve gotten to this place the place, no less than for some individuals, it’s simpler to return out, and queer individuals lastly have some visibility and a few rights. But quite a lot of instances, mainstream tradition is simply snug with queer individuals if we current ourselves as nonsexual. We’re allowed to say “love is love,” but when we present a sexual aspect, that’s actually threatening to nonqueer individuals. So so that you can be doing what you’re doing ― particularly when you have got followers who’re 11, 12, 15 years previous ― that’s a extremely necessary assertion that you just’re making.
It’s undoubtedly one thing that’s at the back of my thoughts. When I take advantage of the phrase “normalize,” that’s what I imply: to normalize seeing two girls making out and that being OK. It’s “normal” to see a man and a lady make out ― so what I’m doing is actually using the road of individuals having the ability to see [queer people being sexual] and understanding that that’s OK. I at all times are inclined to push the boundaries just a little bit in my movies as a result of I’m making an attempt to make an announcement and I’m making an attempt to say one thing with my artwork and my music, in order that doesn’t go unnoticed.
When I used to be watching the clip of you and Taylor performing, there’s a second once you’re grinding up on one another…
[Gasps audibly and laughs.]
And I used to be simply pondering, you’re doing that in entrance of 50,000 individuals ― a lot of them younger individuals who possibly haven’t seen two girls, a lot much less two well-known girls, doing that earlier than ― and possibly that sparked some conversations that wouldn’t have in any other case occurred.
[Laughing] Did we grind? Did we actually grind, Noah?
You did! However briefly, there was completely grindage occurring. I’ll ship you a display seize!
[Laughing] Send me that display seize! I have to see this!
I feel that’s why that Taylor second was so necessary. It was past simply bringing me out, it was saying to the neighborhood, “Hey! She’s dope. She likes girls and I don’t care ― and we’re allies.” And I feel for her demographic and for what she does, that was an important second.
I’ll! But significantly ― I feel it’s cool to have somebody at Taylor’s degree of fame and success basically saying, “I’m not afraid to bring a queer artist out on stage and support them” ― and sure, possibly even grind with them. And not solely is it cool, it’s significant. That sort of visibility issues.
I feel it’s actually cool, too. I feel that’s why that Taylor second was so necessary. It was past simply bringing me out, it was saying to the neighborhood, “Hey! She’s dope. She likes girls and I don’t care ― and we’re allies.” And I feel for her demographic and for what she does, that was an important second. That’s why I really feel like that was only a once-in-a-lifetime alternative.
Earlier, you talked about how that efficiency gave you one thing to aspire to in your personal profession. At the identical time, when you attain that degree, you’re pressured to surrender most of your privateness, and one thing so simple as going to the grocery retailer turns into inconceivable. Is there something about reaching that degree of fame ― and every part that comes with it ― that offers you pause?
As artists, we simply go for it, and no matter comes our manner, it doesn’t matter what degree you might be, massive or small, there’s at all times going to be battles. There’s at all times going to be struggles. There’s at all times going to be well being points. I feel it’s about taking it in the future at a time, and for me, my purpose is to fulfill as many individuals as doable and to succeed in as many individuals as doable and to essentially grow to be international. So, I’ll need to take care of my life because it comes.
Do you get acknowledged once you’re out and about?
I’ve undoubtedly felt a shift this yr. People know my identify, and each time I am going out, I do get acknowledged a few instances. I’m clearly nonetheless rising, so it’s not like I’m on the extent of getting surrounded, however I’m like, “Oh, people know who I am!” People know my music. They know my identify. Just individuals realizing your identify ― there’s a degree of respect the place it’s like, “Oh, that’s cool.“
You’re touring at what’s at present a extremely unprecedented and extremely tumultuous time for our nation. What is it like touring throughout America proper now as a queer girl of coloration? Is there something or anybody that you just’ve encountered that’s stunned you?
When I’m on tour, clearly, I’m solely attending to see a really small portion of no matter metropolis I’m in and the people who find themselves exhibiting as much as the present. But for me, it’s a really hopeful factor. I see the information, I’m seeing all of those points and these issues on this planet, however I get to see this cluster of extremely lovely people who find themselves looking for love and pleasure and escape. I get to essentially see this rainbow belt all through the nation. It provides me hope. It’s actually fantastic to see eye-to-eye versus being like, “I know there are good people out there somewhere” ― I get to truly see them. That drives me. That excites me. I feel, What if we might simply multiply this?
And then I meet quite a lot of youngsters. You mentioned earlier that, in some methods, it’s simpler to return out now, however for lots of the youngsters that I’m assembly, it’s nonetheless actually exhausting for them. At virtually all of my meet-and-greets, I’m assembly youngsters who’ve been disowned by their mother and father, who don’t have a neighborhood that loves them, and it’s devastating that there are individuals on the market who’re prepared to sacrifice their love for his or her youngster due to who they’re. So, what motivates me is having the ability to be there for them and introduce them to different individuals on the exhibits who’re like-minded, and hopefully assist them to search out different individuals like themselves in every metropolis so that they don’t really feel so alone. Because we’ve progressed, however there are nonetheless so many individuals which have such a tough time accepting their youngsters.
You’re additionally registering followers to vote at your exhibits.
We have to register each single 18-year-old on the market and get them to understand that voting within the midterms and voting each single time after that’s completely essential ― as a result of these are their rights which might be basically up for a vote, and that’s all we will do. We need to be loud. We need to vote. And we have now to indicate up. That’s the place we’re at now ― cease speaking about it and present up.
You’re nominated for two MTV Video Music Awards. Does the truth that you conceptualize and write and direct your movies make these nominations and the potential for profitable imply extra to you?
First of all, I’m simply past honored to be nominated, as a result of it’s like being invited to the cool desk with the favored youngsters. So that proper there’s a win. But, yeah, if I had been to win, it will characterize all of my music movies and all of those tales and different individuals’s tales, and I really feel like that’s a extremely necessary message.
So if I had been to win, any person at residence on their sofa may very well be like, “Wow, look at her. She’s gay, she’s Asian-American, she’s a woman, she wasn’t signed [to a record label] and she funded her own videos and she directs her own videos and she did that ― I can do that, too.” That’s the win. Seeing is believing, and that’s one thing that I actually assume applies to what I’m doing.
When I requested you about your love life during our last chat four months ago, you informed me to meet up with you in six months to get an replace.
We’re just a little forward of schedule, however since I’ve acquired you on the telephone, how are issues going?
[Slyly] I imply … my love life is … good. [Laughs.]
Really? Congratulations. That’s superior ― and undoubtedly not what you informed me final time.
What did I inform you final time? That I used to be depressing? [Laughs.]
You said that dating is “difficult” however that you just had been making an attempt to “put yourself out there.”
I’ve undoubtedly been making an attempt, however it’s been exhausting over the past couple of years. But the place I’m at proper now? Things are … good. [Laughing.]
Oh my God! You’re so coy!
[Laughs] I do know. I do know. But you’ve acquired to maintain ’em on the sting of their seats, you recognize?