"I like to sing about girls, and you guys let me do that."
California native, Hayley Kiyoko
, officially has me under her spell.
I had braced myself before entering Bowery Ballroom this past Monday, knowing that the age limit was 16+. I would be lying if I said I wasn't expecting obnoxious teeny-boppers shoving people all night for "stealing their spot." I was pleasantly surprised. Everyone seemed captivated by Kiyoko herself and weren't paying much attention to anyone else.
If you don't know already, Kiyoko likes girls. Her music, she admits, is mostly about girls, revolving around her past relationships and heartbreaks. Her story is unexpected. On stage, you'll see this confident and witty performer, but back in the day, she used to escape reality just to feel like she could be herself. Her 2015 EP, This Side Of Paradise,
is about precisely that. In middle school, she would dream up this paradise where she was able to be herself, and "girls who she liked would like her back."
Kiyoko started off her set with "One Bad Night," a song that expresses the acceptance of a love interest that won't move passed a one-night stand. With relatable lyrics like, "Just give me one bad night,"
she admits that even though she might never get to be with this person, she still has the dignity to ask for one last night. Halfway through the set, she sang "Sleepover," a brand new single that I was excited to hear live. As one of her slower tracks, you'd expect the crowd to die down, but it seemed to get even stronger. With longer pauses and music breaks you could hear wild fans screaming, "I love you, Hayley!" at the top of their lungs. The love was real.
We got to hear most of the songs that Hayley has ever written. She even sang "Rich Youth" from her 2013 album, A Belle To Remember.
She would take the time before beginning this song to make sure everyone was dancing. She even gave a couple examples of what she was witnessing, and trust me, some of it wasn't pretty. The encore included her biggest hit "Girls like Girls."
The pop singer/songwriter plays guitar, drums, bass, guitar, and keyboard (or we can just call her a multi-instrumentalist). Oh and did I fail to mention she is also an actress? I mean, is there anything she can't
do? Hayley Kiyoko's music acts as a safe space for the LGBTQ community. Even though she did not have any role models growing up, she acts as a role model for her fans. Her concerts are judgment-free zones, which she had mentioned multiple times throughout her show. She has the most loyal fans I've ever seen, and now I know why.