Future Stars: Hayley Kiyoko (Unsigned)

Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe.

Before she became known as a cool R&B star, Tinashe was part of a cheesy girlband called The Stunners, formed by 90s singer Vitamin C. They were signed to a series of unsuccessful major label deals before eventually going on to pursue individual careers in music, TV and film. Now, Tinashe’s ex-bandmate Hayley Kiyoko could be about to follow in her footsteps and also reinvent herself as a credible pop artist. 24-year-old Hayley has a successful career as an actress, with roles in two Scooby-Doo TV movies, the Disney musical Lemonade Mouth and the upcoming teen film Jem and the Holograms. However, she makes a clear statement with her Girls Like Girls music video that she doesn’t want to be a squeaky clean teen star. The video’s storyline features young lesbians (also played by Disney stars) and an abusive relationship, with a violent end. Like Halsey’s Ghost and Hurricane, I find these unsubtly provocative videos quite contrived and cringey, but they clearly strike a chord with teenage girls who haven’t seen it all before, and of course the appeal to sleazy men doesn’t hurt the view count. The cynicism is palpable, but it works. While Hayley’s previous singles failed to attract much attention, Girls Like Girls has 10 million views on YouTube and counting – pretty good for an unsigned artist, and enough to suggest she won’t be unsigned for much longer.


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