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I Would Leave Me If I Could (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

Ashley Nicolette Frangipane, who is known professionally as Halsey, was born September 29, 1994 in Edison, New Jersey, and is a poet, singer, songwriter, and activist. She is an award winning musician and bestselling author. Her parents dropped out of college once her mom learned her mom was pregnant with her. Nicole, her mom works as a nurse at a hospital, while her dad’s name is Chris and works at a car dealership working as an automobile sales manager. She has two little brothers, who are named Dante and Sevian.

Ashley played the viola, violin, and cello until she moved onto the acoustic guitar at the age of fourteen. She grew up listening to artists like Brand New, Alanis Morissette, and Justin Bieber.

During her childhood her parents listened to The Notorious BIG, The Cure, 2Pac, Slick Rick, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, and Nirvana. She’s said that their musical tastes have had a major influence on her. She also cites Taylor Swift as a major reason why she always insists on writing her music.

Halsey’s also said that there are plenty of musicians that she respects and loves, but she believes that she is the most inspired by cinema. Filmmakers that have influenced her include: Larry Clark, Quentin Tarantino, and Harmony Korine.

Throughout her childhood, her family moved around frequently, as her parents worked many different jobs to make ends meet. This moving around so much left her ability to make friends compromised. By the time she hit her teen years, she’d enrolled in six schools.

During her high school years, she was bullied by other students, and when she was seventeen attempted suicide, which led to a seventeen day hospitalization. Afterwards, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and she’s said that her mom has it as well. She has said that performing and singing helped her manage her symptoms that she experiences.

She started writing music at the age of seventeen and she started posting videos to sites like Kik and YouTube as well as Tumblr, under the username of se7enteenblack. Ashley became known for doing a parody of “I Knew You Were Trouble” by Taylor Swift that was inspired by Swift’s relationship with Harry Styles.

After graduating from Warren Hills Regional High School in Washington, New Jersey, she enrolled in the Rhode Island School of Design, but ended up withdrawing due to financial hardship and went to community college instead. After eventually dropping out of community college, she was ejected from her home.

Shortly after, she lived in a basement in lower Manhattan with some “degenerate stoners” that she knew through her boyfriend at the time. When she was not living there, she sometimes lived in one of New York’s various homeless shelters, and she thought about prostitution as a way for her to make some money. Ashley would also sometimes stay with her maternal grandmother.

Ashley went to a party in early 2014 and met some “music guy” that asked her to collaborate on a song with him since he liked her voice. The result was a song titled “Ghost”, which she wrote about her ex-boyfriend, that she uploaded to SoundCloud several weeks after it was recorded. The song gained popularity in just hours, and several labels contacted her, with the track eventually charting and hitting the radio.

She signed with Astralwerks, and felt they gave her much more creative freedom than the other labels that wanted to sign her. They released her debut EP, called “Room 93” in the year 2014, and her debut album, called “The Badlands” in the year 2015. She calls the album a concept record about a dystopian future society called “The Badlands”, which was also a metaphor for her mental state at the time, and that each song means something different to her. She wrote these songs when she was nineteen.

Ashley played some acoustic shows in various cities under several stage names. She decided to go by the name of Halsey as her permanent stage name since it’s an anagram of Ashley, her first, name and is a reference to the Halsey Street station of the New York City Subway in Brooklyn, where she spent a lot of time during her teen years. Ashley’s also said that Halsey was the most popular of the names she used.

She wrote poems for years, and started writing more serious songs as one way to promote them. Music became her “confessional approach” and a sort of therapy after the tough life she endured. Her music focuses on her personal experience as well as telling a story. Halsey has written about relationships with other women in her music in order to solidify her bisexuality.

Outside of her music career, she has been involved in sexual assault victim advocacy, suicide prevention awareness, and has been a big advocate of the Black Lives Matter movement. Halsey is an activist, giving speeches on feminism and women’s rights. She read her poetry at the Women’s March in New York in the form of a speech.

Besides making music, she also writes and releases poetry, with her first collection, called “I Would Leave Me If I Could”, being released in the year 2020.

In the collection, she reveals never-before-seen poems about love, longing, and the nuances of bipolar disorder. Halsey bares her soul, bringing the same artistry that is found in her lyrics, and they dive into the lows and highs of doomed relationships, sexuality, family ties, and mental illness. These autobiographical poems, which are more like hand grenades than actual confessions, explore and deconstruct conventional notions of what it truly means to be a feminist on a quest to find power.

Fans of the book found this to be a stunning collection and marvel at Halsey’s ability to capture different emotions, ugly, complicated, and beautiful is rather masterful. The book is beautiful and diverse, with short lines that rhyme, to much longer form prose, each of these words melts into your brain in the best possible way. Halsey explores a variety of themes in a sensitive way, and gives readers a gripping and merciless collection of poetry. Her capacity of observation and imagination are something quite remarkable.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Halsey

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