The untold truth of Halle Bailey

One of the most exciting, up-and-coming musicians out there right now is Halle Bailey, a fresh-faced singer, songwriter, and guitar player who grew up in Atlanta, GA. The younger half of Chloe X Halle grabbed headlines and basically broke the internet when it was announced she would play Ariel in the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid. There's zero doubt that she's going to crush the role, given that she has the voice of an angel. Congrats on the achievement, Halle!

Even though Bailey is young and fairly new to super-stardom, she has quite the impressive resume, and more than a few friends in high places. Additionally, Bailey has been working on her various creative pursuits since she was a child, so it's safe to say that she knows full well what she's doing.

So what makes the newest Disney princess tick? Is she classically trained or did she come by her talents naturally? And what else does everyone need to know about her? This is the untold truth of Halle Bailey.

She never expected to blow up so fast

Bailey has loved performing since she was very young. Growing up in Atlanta, she and her sister Chloe would play together at gigs, something the two of them wanted to do professionally. But it was YouTube that ended up making them famous, specifically a cover of "Best Thing I Never Had" by Beyoncé — when they were only 11-years-old and 13-years-old, respectively. Talk about an early start!

Neither of the sisters thought they'd go viral, but that's exactly what happened. "We didn't expect much; we were happy about the first 100 views," Chloe recalled in an interview with Time magazine. "But then our covers started blowing up. From there we went to The Ellen Show, we did some stuff with Radio Disney, and then we just kept singing our hearts out and it opened up so many doors for us." That must have been both totally surreal and a dream come true.

Beyoncé is Halle Bailey's biggest champion

Queen Bey herself has been instrumental in Bailey's ascent to fame, as she reached out to her and her sister after hearing their YouTube covers. After that, she signed them to her record label, Parkwood Entertainment. Congrats, girls!

Beyoncé has also been a personal mentor to the Bailey sisters, and has given them some pretty sagely advice. "Beyoncé has always relayed that same message to us: your music is ahead of its time, and it's beautiful in that way, and we need more of that," Halle revealed in an interview with Time magazine. "Because our music is not the status quo, it's not like everything you hear." That's what makes them so fresh and exciting.

Additionally, Beyoncé has told Halle and Chloe to always be true to themselves. "One of the things [Beyoncé] says is to let the world catch up to you; don't dumb down your art," Chloe added. "As fans of hers and two young girls, hearing that from her was an 'aha' moment — and a confirmation that we were headed in the right direction." If Bey says it, you know it has to be true!

Where does Halle Bailey write songs?

Given how polished and professional-sounding the Bailey sisters' songs are, you'd think they have a super posh writing room to develop all of their ideas. But in true Gen Z fashion, they embrace the same DIY spirit of fellow contemporaries Sofie Dossie and Billie Eilish. "We write all of our songs from our living room," Halle shared in an interview with Vulture. "It's fun for us." The kids are alright indeed, you guys!

That generational spirit is not lost on Halle, who's fully aware that she, her sister, and their peers are harnessing technology in an unprecedented fashion. "We also feel like this generation is on this wave of learning how to do things on our own and learning how to stand up for ourselves," she continued. "It's a big thing for us." Given that the whole world is watching, it's kind of a big deal for everyone. Keep up the good work!

She's Atlanta bred, but Halle Bailey loves Los Angeles

After it became clear that Bailey and her sister were destined for pop culture success, the Bailey family had to get strategic about their next steps. So what do you do when you're on the threshold of becoming the next big thing? You go where the work is, of course. "We moved to L.A. about five and a half years ago on the dream of living out what we want to do," Halle recalled in a 2018 interview with Time magazine. "We knew that being out here was definitely better for the music scene." Sounds like the city of stars was the best place for them to nurture their talents, for sure.

But the Bailey sisters didn't go on their own, as it was a family affair — and one that worked out exceedingly well for everyone. "Our mom and dad made the decision to move us with our family," she continued. "We instantly fell in love; the sun was shining. It makes you a happier person." Vitamin D is a powerful drug, y'all!

This is why Halle Bailey looks familiar

Have you been wondering why Bailey looks so familiar, but can't quite place her? That might be because she and her sister have had recurring roles on the hit sitcom Grown-ish for some time now. And as she tells it, it was a match made in heaven. "Grown-ish actually came about really naturally and organic," she confessed in an interview with Vulture. "We always hang out with our friend Yara, and the show's executive producer, Kenya Barris, saw us onstage at the BET Awards accepting for Beyoncé. He said that was when the light went off in his head for us to be on the show." It must be nice to be on a first name basis with Yara Shahidi.

Even though Grown-ish is quite the cultural sensation, Bailey and her sis didn't freak out about it when they were cast in it. "We entered the whole project with open arms and no expectations," she continued. "It ended up being beautiful and it never feels like work." What a dream job.

Halle Bailey taught herself to play music

Both Bailey and her sister are insanely talented at what they do. What's also insane is that both girls are self-taught musicians, thanks to the guidance that their parents gave them. "Ever since we were young girls our parents have always said to us, you can always do it yourself, you can figure things out," Halle revealed in an interview with The Grio. "So we were like, 'OK, we'll make our own stuff… and learn how to play our own instruments.'" Once again, there's that Gen Z spirit for the win.

The whole process was pretty organic for the sisters, who had a natural inclination to work together on their projects growing up. "Really it just happened with us growing and getting to know ourselves as young girls and young women," she continued. "It was just a beautiful thing and we just feel like we can do anything we put our minds to." Show them how it's done, ladies!

The media storm after Halle Bailey landed the role of Ariel had tons of celebs coming to her defense

When Bailey was cast as Ariel in the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, plenty of people were absolutely delighted. Everyone from Mariah Carey to Halle Berry to Janelle Monae tweeted their congratulations, and Bailey couldn't have been happier about it. "This means the world. Happy to share names with you. Love you lots," she gushed in response to Halle Berry on Twitter. We are 100 percent here for this kind of love!

Unfortunately, some people were upset with the casting choice because Bailey is African-American. To that end, the hashtag #NotMyAriel started trending on Twitter, full of people complaining that Ariel should be fair-skinned with blue eyes and red hair. 

Fortunately, however, Freeform stands firmly by their casting choice, and published an open letter to the "Poor, Unfortunate Souls" on Instagram. "So after all of this is said and done, and you still cannot get past the idea that choosing the incredible, sensational, highly-talented, gorgeous Halle Bailey is anything other than the INSPIRED casting that it is because she 'doesn't look like the cartoon one,' oh boy, do I have some news for you… about you," they wrote. Burn!

Surprisingly, college is still in the cards for Halle Bailey

Despite the fact that the Bailey sisters have thriving music and acting careers, they have not shirked their studies or skipped their homework. Instead, they have made time for their schoolwork, which couldn't have been easy with all they have going on — something Chloe acknowledged on Halle's high school graduation day. "Seeing how gracefully you've balanced school x your career has been so inspiring," she shared in a tweet. "Blood, sweat, x tears…you earned this!!!! I love you to death sissy, congrats." Awww! What a major accomplishment.

Halle also has plans to take her academic studies to the next level, too, and go to college. "I'm in my senior year of high school right now and I graduate in June, so of course, that's always something I would love to do," she explained in a 2018 interview with Vulture. "I can't wait to be done with this high-school venture and go soon into the college venture." The world is your oyster, boo!

Who is Halle Bailey's biggest musical inspiration?

The Bailey sisters have a wide variety of musical influences, as evidenced by the artists they cover on their YouTube channel. Chloe and Halle have covered songs from Rihanna to Lourde to Cardi B to Beyoncé (duh), showing the breadth and depth of their music collection.  

But Halle cites one specific artist as an especially significant influence. "In terms of music, I've always been inspired by jazz," she shared in an interview with Time magazine. "Billie Holiday is one of my biggest influences." That totally makes sense when you hear her unique vocal style.

Halle has been a fan of the legendary singer's work for years, too. "I discovered her voice when I was 5 years old. Just that sound she emits and the feeling she gives you is pure love and joy and relaxation," she continued. "I feel like I've taken those melodies that she's given me and incorporated them into my repertoire." You can totally hear the influence.

Michelle Obama tapped her for her SXSW keynote

In 2016, as her tenure as First Lady was coming to an end, Michelle Obama gave the keynote address at South by Southwest. She also enlisted several artists to perform at the event, as well as collaborate on a song, and Bailey and her sister were among them. "We were the opening act for Michelle Obama's panel for 62 million girls in the Let Girls Learn movement," Chloe revealed in an interview with Fader. "We recorded a song with all of these incredible women like Zendaya and Missy Elliott and Janelle Monae and Kelly Clarkson." That had to be an incredible experience!

Both girls had an amazing time at the event, and have nothing but kind words about the former First Lady. "Michelle Obama is the most gracious person ever," Halle gushed. "She's literally a queen. We were in awe of her. She's so nice." We're sure the feeling is mutual — are there any super famous people that aren't fans of the Bailey sisters? 

How did that Ava DuVernay collab come about?

The black girl magic just keeps coming as, of course, the Bailey sisters are friends with film director Ava DuVernay, who had them compose a song for the A Wrinkle in Time soundtrack. "It was so much fun for us to just dig in, watch the trailer for the movie and think about… what we wanted to say to many young girls who were going to be watching this movie," Halle shared in an interview with NPR. Our girl knows the power of her music.

So what message did they opt to send out this time around? As it turns out, one of confidence in and the empowerment of women of color. "Being young black girls, you have to realize that you're beautiful and that you're strong in every single way," she continued. "So that was definitely a message that we wanted to get through." Hopefully that message was heard by many, loud and clear.

She knows she's been underestimated

Even though Bailey has an insane list of accomplishments, from her acting cred to her musical successes to her roster of uber-famous fans, she knows that people have been more dismissive of her and her sister than they should be. "There has been underestimation at the front door, and that's bound to be there since our appearance is these small, young girls," she explained in an interview with Vulture. "Most people just expect you to go in and write a Disney song." Ironically, she'll be singing a lot of them in The Little Mermaid, but we get her point. 

Plus, Bailey doesn't take it too personally or let it get her down. Instead, she enjoys rising to the challenge. "It's fun for us to prove ourselves," she continued. "Once we put our foot in the door and shove it open, it's exciting for us to see people's reaction. They realize that we can do this." What a badass!

Chloe Bailey is super proud of her sister

You might be tempted to think that working together so closely all the time, Halle and Chloe would be tired of each other, or wish they could have more space. But even though Halle is taking on the role of Ariel solo, she and her sister really are super close. It's so sweet to see such a strong sibling bond, especially between sisters.

Chloe, for one, is not shy about expressing her admiration for her sister. "In rehearsals I'll just see her freestyling and doing all these incredible acrobatics on the guitar, and I'm like, 'Whoa, that's my sister,'" she shared in an interview with Rolling Stone. "I'm so proud of her." You guys, it just doesn't get any more wholesome than that!

The feeling is mutual, too, as Halle had said some seriously kind words about Chloe. "Sister, you have no idea how much you light up this world," she wrote in a post on their Instagram page. "Your genius, your creativity, and infinite love and positivity continues to make the world a much better place." Awwww!

Halle Bailey not afraid to speak her mind

Like many of her generational contemporaries, Bailey believes in the power of young people, and isn't afraid to tell the world about it. "We feel like the youth are definitely going to make a change in everything that we're doing," she shared in an interview with Time magazine. "We're just happy to be a part of that conversation, and use our art as a gateway for people to see our message of love and empowerment." Way to bring some real positivity into the world.

Bailey also hopes that her and her sister's powerful voices give life to others, as so many other powerful voices have lifted theirs. "We hope it inspires other young people," she continued. "I hope it's a ripple effect." So do we, Halle! We definitely need more good vibes in this world.

And while Bailey and her sister have sometimes struggled with their confidence, they know enough now to believe in themselves. "You know what? We do have this," Chloe added. "We're figuring this out within through music." Yas, queen!