By Casey Clark
Los Angeles native Hayley Kiyoko is taking over the music industry by storm with her upbeat and catchy music focusing on her life as a strong lesbian woman.
Kiyoko participated in a few acting projects, most popularly known for “Lemonade Mouth” which grew her fan base. “Lemonade Mouth” provided Kiyoko with the stepping stones to larger roles as Gabi on ABC’s “The Fosters” and Maggie in the hit franchise “Insidious 3.”
Kiyoko slowly transitioned her career to focus on music in early 2013 with her debut EP “A Bell to Remember,” which launched her career as a musician. Kiyoko grew up in a time where she did not have a lot of people to look up to who were a part of the LGBTQ+ community.
In an interview with Billboard, in response to a question about being a role model to young people Kiyoko said, “I didn’t really have that, so that’s why it’s really exciting to be able to share that with my new fans. More and more, people are starting to feel more comfortable with who they are, and my fans have made me feel super comfortable with who I am. It’s all thanks to them, really.”
Kiyoko has been using her social media, which consists of over 330k followers on Twitter and 483k on Instagram, to promote self-love and acceptance and shine a light on the LGBTQ+ community.
Kiyoko’s most popular single “Girls Like Girls,” along with the music video co-directed by Austin S. Winchell and Kiyoko, is about two young girls who are attracted to each other and one straight guy who gets extremely angry about it. The video went viral on tumblr and has racked up over 45 million views.
On the “Girls Like Girls” video, Kiyoko said, “It was nice to not be in the video and just really focus on the actors and really focus on the honesty and the truth within the story.”
Kiyoko did an exceptional job directing the video and was able to share the story of a young gay relationship in a relatable and meaningful way that could speak to both members and non-members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Kiyoko has gone on to release another EP, “This Side of Paradise,” which came out in February 2015. Shortly following the release of this EP, Kiyoko released her most recent EP “Citrine,” a collection of electro pop love songs. The lead single on the EP is called “Gravel to Tempo” which talked about how she felt inadequate in high school and was afraid to express herself to her crushes. She builds up these feelings in the chorus when she says, “I’ll do this my way, don’t matter if I break … I gotta be on my own.” This message is one that anyone can relate to, regardless of sexuality, because we are all worthy of finding our own freedom and truly expressing who we really are.
Kiyoko released her most recent single “Feelings” along with a music video based on the current stage in her life in which she is single and ashamed of her feelings but then comes to the realization that there is nothing to be ashamed of because everyone has feelings.
Kiyoko has been spreading positive messages of self-acceptance and love in her music and her open and honest relationship with her fans has led her to sell out several shows around the country on her “One Bad Night” tour.