Hayley Kiyoko on Becca Tilley’s music video, new album ‘Panorama’ and fans – WWD
“I had a bad day a few weeks ago,” Hayley Kiyoko begins on Zoom from her Los Angeles home in the days leading up to her album release. “I played the song [Panorama] and it was a great reminder for me. I was really able to build this interesting relationship with the album where it helps me, and I’m excited to be able to share it with my fans and hope it can help them.
Four years after bursting onto the music scene with her debut album “Expectations,” Kiyoko is back with her second album, “Panorama,” a collection of songs that remind her of how far she’s come and who she is, and now that it’s finally out, she hopes so will her die-hard fans (who are so dedicated they’ve dubbed her “Lesbian Jesus”).
After “Expectations” was released in 2018, Kiyoko worried that she didn’t know how to write a sequel. When it came time to start working on new songs, she had no agenda of what she wanted the second album to sound like.
“Which, honestly, was helpful to me, because I didn’t pigeonhole myself trying to do something,” she says. “I didn’t really know what I was going to do. And so I really had this creative freedom in the second album like, ‘OK, what does it look like now? How am I talking now and where are we going? And so it was a journey for me to both create this and write this album.
Kiyoko says she named the album “Panorama” even before she wrote the song of the same name.
“I wanted to celebrate the ups and downs and love myself along the way, and this idea of being able to see the bigger picture and that the journey is the destination, celebrating and acknowledging that. For me, definitely being a very career-oriented person, you can kind of forget about enjoying the view and having fun,” Kiyoko says of the concept. “And sometimes things get really rough and tough and you’re like, ‘Well, I’m just going to have fun when I get here. And that’s also a lesson that I’ve really learned through the pandemic, is to really be present and recognize that even if I’m going through lows or feeling lost or not knowing what is the next step, I’ve overcome so much to even get to this point. Appellation [the album] “Panorama” was a great way to remind myself of this lesson I learned. »
In the space between her first album and her second, she experienced a variety of mental and physical health issues, which caused her to lose her sense of self. “Panorama” serves as a reminder for him to enjoy his journey.
“I saw myself separated from who I was, and I knew who I was, but she was so far away and I was like, ‘How can I get there? How can I rebuild my confidence? How do I get my confidence back? in me? How can I start loving me again?’ All those pathways that I needed to rebuild,” Kiyoko explains. “And so I wanted to write a song that celebrates that clarity that I found. One of the lyrics is, ‘Today is the day, I’m not passing / I’m going to say ‘Wait, did you see the view?’ And that’s like saying ‘no, we’re not going to go another day without acknowledging where we are.’ »
The album’s first single video was released earlier this summer and confirmed to the world what had long been suspected: that Kiyoko was in a relationship with former “Bachelor” contestant Becca Tilley. The concept for the video was around a lesbian “Bachelorette” show, and it marked both the confirmation of their relationship and Tilley’s coming out.
“It was funny. I was sitting with my girlfriend, Becca, and I was stressed because I was trying to figure out the music video and she was like, ‘Well, why don’t you just do a ‘Bachelor’ themed music video? Kind of like a joke, because I’m obsessed with ‘The Bachelor’ and also dating shows in general,” Kiyoko says of the genesis of the video. I’m like, ‘Oh my God. It’s genius. And so immediately I went to plan it and then while we were planning it, I was like, ‘Do you want to get out of the limo at the very end? Is it time? We didn’t really talk about it too much – she was just like, ‘Yeah.’ In my head, I was like, “Oh, that’s a really big deal,” but I didn’t want it to feel like a big deal.
“I’m so grateful that her fans really showed up for her and showed the love and support she deserves,” Kiyoko continues, “because it’s always so upsetting to share your authentic truth with people. Some people have things to say and I’m so glad everyone had such positive things to say. The music video itself, the making of that video was so much fun, with 15 queer contestants. I mean, we just rolled the cameras and it was just drama and just chaos. It was so much fun.”
Looking ahead, she can’t wait to get back on the road and see what lyrics resonate with her fans — especially the ones that bring them back to the stage loudly.
“[Releasing the album] is a very cathartic and emotional thing, especially since four years have passed since my last album,” Kiyoko says. “It just hits differently. 2022 strikes differently.