The Reason Halsey Changed Her Name Is Actually Pretty Sad
Some of the biggest names in music have built their brands around stage names: Freddie Mercury (Farrokh Bulsara), Miley Cyrus (Destiny Hope Cyrus), Bono (Paul David Hewson), Joan Jett (Joan Marie Larkin), Elton John (Reginald Kenneth Dwight), Lorde (Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O’Connor)… to name just a few. And then there’s Halsey.
The Manic artist — real name Ashley Nicolette Frangipane — has become a pop icon under her stage name, and at this point, we couldn’t imagine her any other way. But the real reason she began using the moniker as her career began back in 2014 is quite sad.
In an interview with Cosmopolitan published on Tuesday, she recalled:
“People hear about me and they want to paint my story as a rags to riches tale, but that’s not true. It was a very slow and painful process. When I look back on it, I’m so proud of that teenage girl who dropped Badlands because I had all the odds against me. I didn’t know anybody in the music industry. I was from New Jersey. I had no f**king money, and there was no way I was going to college.”
The singer, who recently released her first book of poetry, I Would Leave Me If I Could, didn’t have the self-confidence to think she could succeed as herself. She felt like she needed to be completely new person:
“Me wanting to do this was so far fetched, and the fact that I changed my name in the process — I think I had the foresight to know that being me wasn’t enough. I had to become somebody completely different. At the time, I felt that Ashley didn’t deserve to be famous and successful because she wasn’t that special, but if I made Halsey, maybe she could be.”
We like to think that her talent would speak for itself, but the stage name — and unique stage presence — did set her apart from the rest of the alt-pop crowd. In fact, we’d say Halsey’s creative branding is just another example of what a brilliant artist she is.
According to a 2014 Nylon interview, the name is both an anagram of her first name as well as a tribute to Halsey Street, the street in NYC where she said she said she “first writing music and where I started to feel like I was apart of something bigger than my town in middle of nowhere New Jersey.” See? Clever!
The 26-year-old explained the decision more to Cosmopolitan:
“ gave me the opportunity to create a new persona that wasn’t bound by the expectations I had for myself or the limitations that others placed on me because of my upbringing or my socioeconomic situation. I created a person, and she could do everything. There was no way that Ashley was going to become a king, but I made a new name for myself and took her to paranormal, supernatural heights.”
The rest, as they say, is history!
What do U think Perezcious readers — did Halsey make the right call? Would you have listened to a young artist named Ashley Frangipane? Let us know your thoughts in the comments (below)!
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