Can We Talk About Hayley Kiyoko?

OKAY, where do I even begin??!? I guess, first of all, if you haven’t heard any of Hayley Kiyoko’s music yet, take a break and go do that right now. Her music is all over iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, etc., so there are no excuses. After you do that, come back here so that we can talk about her.

All done listening? Good. Let’s begin.

Anybody who likes pop music will love Hayley’s music. I’ll stand by that forever. Anybody who likes pop music and identifies as a woman who loves women will find a home in Hayley’s music. I’m more than halfway through my 20s and I have never related to anything as much as I relate to her music. I have never felt so understood. My friends are all supportive of me and were there for me throughout my journey to understand my sexuality. But support isn’t the same thing as understanding what it’s like to live my life. Minority groups rarely have the opportunity to be represented respectfully in the media, but Hayley Kiyoko is giving us that opportunity. She’s giving gay and bisexual women the representation we deserve.

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I obviously love when a song is good, but it feels a little life-altering (excuse the drama, thanks), when a song makes you smile, dance, and feel confident, while also helping you reflect on painful experiences. How is all of that even possible?? It’s like magic.

Hayley’s latest single, “Curious,” broke me and put me back together and has had me grooving for days. My first girlfriend treated me like shit, if we’re being honest. She was my best friend, of course, because what else would you expect? She initiated our romance, waxed poetic about how in love with me she was, then suggested we break up for the weekend while she followed through on a pre-booked trip to visit her previous hook-up. Then she came back, loved me some more, then wondered if she should spend New Year’s with aforementioned old hook-up so as to throw him off the trail of our relationship. I mean, it was a total mess.

I’m sure you all just read that and thought “WTF is wrong with you? Why didn’t you just break up with her?” And the answer is: I don’t know, tons of reasons! She was my best friend, I loved her, and I knew she was struggling to come to terms with her sexuality. But she damn sure was not loving me right. “Curious” made me reflect on that time of my life and majorly face-palm. How could I just sit there and let myself be treated like that?? But the song also filled me with so much confidence. It helped to re-emphasize my self-worth and reminded me that I deserve to be loved truly and consistently and without someone else in the middle (or on the outskirts).

If I’m ever in a situation like that again, I now have a song I can blast to help talk myself out of it. And I know that it would work. It should be said that I am years out of that relationship, and “Curious” is still insanely empowering for me. Imagine how empowering it is for girls who have not yet been in — or are currently in — that kind of situation? I mean, it almost makes me want to be a teenager again, so I can do it all over. Yes, it may have seemed like I didn’t have a lot of options when it came to love back then, but I didn’t deserve to be treated like shit. Hayley’s music helped me remember that.

Alright, that’s all for the serious stuff; we have to leave space for the sexy stuff. I feel like lesbian relationships are typically treated as fodder for ratings and are often treated as borderline pornographic in the media and in daily life. So I am so pleased to finally see music videos in which lesbian sexuality is portrayed as soft, loving, and natural. Hayley’s also done a marvelous job of portraying the depth of lesbian relationships (the “Cliff’s Edge” video immediately comes to mind). It sounds so silly to say that — obviously, lesbian relationships have depth. But do we ever see that? No. More often than not, lesbians are either making out or dying.

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Hayley’s music will help you sort through your emotions, truly feel them, process them, and then jam. It’s a full circle experience. It’s so freeing and energizing. Is this how straight people feel all the time? Hayley’s music will help younger or newly out fans to accept and love themselves, all while their straight friends dance and sing along to the music with them. Because, honestly, who could avoid dancing and singing along to Hayley’s music??

As I’m wrapping up here, it must be said: Hayley is incredibly sexy. And very, very smooth (I mean, the entire “Feelings” music video, hello?!). And she also seems quite genuine. ALSO, she directs all of her videos, including “Feelings,” which was filmed in one shot!? She’s amazing. I am truly in awe. Where can I find a girlfriend like her?

Finally, if you read all of this and thought “ohhh, it’s music for gay people; I’ll skip it,” PLEASE STOP. You are only punishing yourself. Besides, we have been listening to songs about straight people, watching movies and T.V. shows about straight people, and reading books about straight characters forever, and we still find a way to relate and enjoy. I’m confident that you can do the same!

I’m going to end this with the biggest thank you to Hayley. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. Your music is beautiful, you are beautiful, and I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us. <3

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