Create & Cultivate 100: Music: Hayley Kiyoko

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Her fans call her “Lesbian Jesus,” but you can call her Hayley.

The winner of Billboard Rising Star and MTV’s Push Artist of the Year awards, Hayley doesn’t see her work as an “agenda”—she’s just being herself, and her listeners are here for it. The Girls Like Girls singer is normalizing what’s, well, normal, and she’s the refreshing dose of self-worth that music and media needs in 2019.

Read on for Hayley’s thoughts on confidence and why she owes her fans her career.

On teaching self-love…

"I think it’s just important for people to lead by example. My motto is to help people love themselves sooner. I can’t teach them how to do that. They have to figure that out on their own—that’s their journey."

On finding her voice…

“I was like, 'Holy shit, I don’t have a choice. This is something that I have to do because no one else is doing it. It forced me to step into my own as an artist. And this is something I’ve always wanted to do—be loud and sing about sexy girls."

On normalizing all forms of love...

"I think [queer artists are] what’s giving people encouragement to really be more comfortable with themselves. That’s how life is. If you see two girls falling in love and normalizing that, then [people] can go, 'I can fall in love, too. I can be that person. I can look like that. I can get a girl that looks like that.' If they see that, then they can believe it. It’s just how we are."

On the pressure of being the Lesbian Jesus…

“To be able to share [my work] with other people is such a beautiful thing. I never really had that community growing up. I really just want to continue to focus on the art. I think that's my responsibility and that's where the pressure is: constantly putting out good work and being truthful and honest with everyone.”

I think [queer artists are] what’s giving people encouragement to really be more comfortable with themselves. That’s how life is.

On how her fans have shaped her career…

“My fans have always been in the forefront, really pushing and climbing with me. I've been unsigned most of my career and they’re the reason why I got signed. They’re the reason why I was able to do my own headlining tour. No one else would take me on tour to open for them. We've really created our own opportunities and platform, so it's my job to see it through and be a good representation.”

This interview has been edited and condensed from multiple sources (1, 2, 3).

Photo Credit: Andrew Boyle

Photos from Hayley Kiyoko’s Instagram.