The Untold Truth Of Hayley Kiyoko

Hayley Kiyoko is one of the fastest-rising stars in the music industry. Her catchy pop songs have earned her a loyal fan base, and her genuine personality has earned her the nickname "Lesbian Jesus." As an out and proud lesbian who writes songs explicitly about her relationships and heartbreaks with women, many consider Kiyoko a trailblazer in the music industry and a role model for LGBTQ+ teens.

Kiyoko has always been an entertainer. Since she was old enough to walk she has had a fascination with singing, drumming, dancing, acting, and songwriting. Both her parents are creatives, and they always encouraged Kiyoko to follow her passions. Her father, Jamie Alcroft, is an actor and comedian, and her mother, Sarah Kawahara, is a figure skater and choreographer. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Kiyoko said both of her parents loved their work and followed their dreams no matter what, a lesson Kiyoko took to heart.

Today, Kiyoko is a superstar performer and a role model to many. But when she was younger, she often felt lonely and misunderstood. There were times when she didn't know if she would make it as a singer. This is the untold truth of Hayley Kiyoko.

Hayley Kiyoko wrote her first song when she was only 6 years old

Hayley Kiyoko wrote her first song, "Notice," at only 6 years old. Recalling performing that early song, Kiyoko told Rolling Stone that she had passion, even if she "had no idea what [she] was talking about." 

Kiyoko wanted to write songs as a way to tell stories and express herself. She might not have had as many stories to tell as a 6-year-old, but music became a way for Kiyoko to express her feelings as she got older. "I was born on this earth to do music. I've always been doing music my whole life," Kiyoko told Billboard.

Kiyoko's parents have always been supportive of her music, and Kiyoko told Billboard that her dad still thinks she should release her first song. "My dad is still convinced it's a hit song and wants me to release it," she shared.

Hayley Kiyoko was once in a girl band with Tinashe

Speaking with Rolling Stone in 2018, Hayley Kiyoko remembered going to an *NSYNC concert in fourth grade and dreaming about being "in a boy band." As a young dancer and drummer, Kiyoko knew making music and performing on stage was what she wanted to do.

It turns out Kiyoko got to live out these wishes when she got older. When she was 16, she joined a girl group, The Stunners. The group was formed by Vitamin C, known for her hit song "Graduation (Friends Forever)," and included R&B star Tinashe. The Stunners released the song "Let's Hear It For the Boy" on the iCarly soundtrack and a self-titled EP. The group also opened for Justin Bieber on his My World Tour, which was an important experience for wannabe pop star Kiyoko.

Kiyoko told Rolling Stone that joining The Stunners was a valuable experience. She learned "a lot of what to do and what not to do," but ultimately Kiyoko realized she wanted to write her own music and to have more control over her art.

Hayley Kiyoko found this Katy Perry song to be an inspiration

Hayley Kiyoko has always had an eclectic taste in music, but she began loving pop music in middle school, as she shared in an interview with Rolling Stone. And as a closeted lesbian who had no real LGBTQ+ role models at the time, Kiyoko found Katy Perry's "I Kissed A Girl" to be a major inspiration.

While Kiyoko may not have envisioned herself making music about girls at that time, "I Kissed A Girl" showed Kiyoko she could sing about whomever she wanted. In an interview with Paper magazine, Kiyoko said she remembers how popular the song was, and she described it as "groundbreaking."

"I loved that song, and I still love that song," Kiyoko told Paper. "When it came out, it was the first time I'd heard anyone in the public eye admit that they'd kissed a girl on the radio. I was like, wow, this is huge." She noted that it made her realize if you wrote a great song, "people will connect to it no matter what."

Hayley Kiyoko almost failed finding success as a singer

Hayley Kiyoko wasn't always confident she would succeed in the music industry. She told Rolling Stone she felt lost when she started out as a solo musician, not knowing how to make connections or get her music out there. Many recommended she cover songs on YouTube, but Kiyoko wanted to get discovered for singing her own music.

Kiyoko's hit song "Girls Like Girls" was a crucial turning point for her career. She hadn't received much recognition for her music previously, receiving only a few thousand views on YouTube. Kiyoko told Billboard's Pridecast she poured the last of her savings into the "Girls Like Girls" video, and she was prepared for the possibility that the video might flop.

The "Girls Like Girls" video was a last-ditch effort to make a name for herself, and Kiyoko succeeded. The video racked up over a million views in just a few weeks, and shortly after, Kiyoko was signed by Atlantic Records. Kiyoko was praised for being her authentic self and an inspiration for the LGBTQ+ community. As of this writing, the video has over 127 million views on YouTube.

Hayley Kiyoko's first hit was inspired by a high school heartbreak

Hayley Kiyoko's hit song "Girls Like Girls" was inspired by her own high school heartbreak, which many fans related to. Kiyoko told Nylon she wrote about getting rejected by a friend after confessing her romantic feelings. She was absolutely devastated, and she wanted to tell a story that would "create hope."

Despite telling her own story, Kiyoko didn't want the video to focus on her. Instead, she had some of her friends play the main characters, and she worked behind the scenes. Directing the "Girls Like Girls" video was a formative experience for Kiyoko. She told Paper she felt like she could be herself for the first time. "I felt like I was finally telling my story for the first time," Kiyoko wrote in an open letter to Paper. "The yearning feelings I had and also the feeling of being so alone. I think that's why people connected with the music video." She added that many related to the "sadness and longing" that comes with a having a crush.

Despite now being an iconic LGBTQ+ artist, Hayley Kiyoko once never saw that as a possibility

After releasing "Girls Like Girls," Hayley Kiyoko made headlines as a pop star in the LGBTQ+ community. But when she was younger, she never thought that would be possible. "Girls Like Girls" was Kiyoko's first step toward coming out publicly as an artist. She told Paper magazine she never thought she would be singing about girls for the whole world to hear. Rather, she always imagined she would be singing about "you" or "they."

After "Girls Like Girls" came out, Kiyoko felt like she had found her voice and her confidence as a singer. Fans told Kiyoko how much her songs meant to them, how they related to her experiences navigating sexuality. "I was shocked at how people weren't judging me," Kiyoko told Paper. "That was a moment for me where I was like, I can be myself and people are okay with that."

Hayley Kiyoko's third EP was named after something she used to help heal from a concussion

In 2016, Hayley Kiyoko suffered a severe concussion at a Road Rules/Real World-themed birthday party competition, and she spent years recovering. Kiyoko was touring at the time, trying to deal with severe pain while still performing, as she BuzzFeed. Speaking with NPR, she shared she felt hopeless and depressed at the time. So Kiyoko, who was diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome, started "resting with a piece of citrine on her forehead."

Citrine is thought to raise self-confidence and promote motivation, creativity, and self-expression. It is used in an attempt to stimulate the brain, and the crystal supposedly enhances concentration and "revitalizes the mind." Kiyoko loved the glassy, yellow quartz crystal so much, she named her third EP after it.

Though Kiyoko — who also regularly visited the UCLA concussion clinic – claims the citrine helped her heal from her concussion, she was still severely injured. The concussion impacted her life and career. In her interview with NPR, Kiyoko revealed she wrote an over five-minute-long song, "Mercy/Gatekeeper," on her first album, Expectations, about the depression she was dealing with as part of post-concussion syndrome.

Hayley Kiyoko "never officially" had a first date with a girl

In a Q&A with Billboard Live At-Home, Hayley Kiyoko revealed to a fan she had "never officially" gone on a first date with a girl. Kiyoko said many of her past relationships started as friendships and naturally turned into something more.

While Kiyoko has said she's known she was gay "since the womb," she didn't come out until she was much older. Kiyoko told Billboard she was popular and well-liked as a teenager but was scared of being ostracized if she came out. Throughout middle school and high school, when many teenagers were going on first dates, Kiyoko often felt left out. "I didn't get to date women, or go on first dates, or go to dances with people I wanted to. I missed out on being asked out," Kiyoko told Entertainment Weekly. "I felt so crazy, and hated myself, and beat myself up for my own reality."

What Hayley Kiyoko did with the 78 bras thrown at her during her Expectations tour

When Hayley Kiyoko was on her Expectations tour, she was no stranger to large crowds and adoring fans. But one thing she might not have expected is how many fans threw their bras on stage. 

Kiyoko posted a picture with all the bras and a special message on Instagram. "HEY BRA THROWERS. Remember all of those bras you threw at me on tour?!?!" she wrote in the post's caption. "We got a total of 78 BRAS. What are we going to do with your 'support'?"

Kiyoko shared that she saved all 78 bras flung at her and donated them to I Support the Girls, an organization that donates bras and menstrual products to women experiencing homelessness. "Thank you for an amazing tour and for all these bras," Kiyoko noted in her post. How thoughtful is Kiyoko?

Hayley Kiyoko has struggled with her image as a queer woman

Not unlike most young women, especially queer young women, Hayley Kiyoko has struggled with her image over the years. Though music has always been a way for Kiyoko to express herself, style and image were a bit harder for her to use as a means of expression. Kiyoko spoke with Allure about the pressure put on queer folks to look a certain way, and she said she struggled with finding her image and voice while also embracing authenticity.

"I've definitely struggled with defining beauty and what that means on the scale of femininity and masculinity," Kiyoko told Allure. "Beauty is about confidence and embracing who you are." She noted it took her a while to realize her own comfort mattered when it came to fashion.

Now Kiyoko certainly has a unique sense of style. She rocks everything from girly, fitted dresses to matching sweats to denim-on-denim 'fits. But no matter what she's wearing, she always looks effortlessly cool and stays true to herself.

Hayley Kiyoko wrote a comic book based on one of her songs

You can add "author" to the list of Hayley Kiyoko's achievements. Kiyoko collaborated with comic book artist Naomi Franquiz on the Gravel to Tempo comic book, which was based on one of Kiyoko's most popular songs. The music video for the track is a fan-favorite, so, naturally, the comic book received rave reviews.

The "Gravel to Tempo" music video follows a high school girl, played by Kiyoko, as she dances around high school, taunting a group of popular pretty girls. Kiyoko eventually wins over one of the popular girls, dubbed "Headphones Girl." And to fans' delight, the Gravel to Tempo comic book further developed Kiyoko's relationship with the character from the music video.

Kiyoko posted a page from the comic book on Instagram and said creating it was "a dream." The comic book is 24 pages long, and copies are available for purchase online.

Why Hayley Kiyoko loved starring in Lemonade Mouth

Though Hayley Kiyoko has always had a passion for singing, she had started acting in commercials when she was young (via BuzzFeed). In an interview with Rolling StoneKiyoko said she had her own agent and was making various appearances on Nickelodeon and Disney Channel by the time she was in middle school.

Kiyoko landed a role playing Velma in Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins and went on to star as Stella in Lemonade Mouth. The TV movie Lemonade Mouth is about five high schoolers who become friends when they form a band and is one of Kiyoko's most well-known roles. Kiyoko told New York Daily News that she was worried the movie might be "cheesy," but she said the musical aspect of the movie felt "organic." She further shared that she had an "emotional connection" with the movie. She also loved combining acting, singing, playing guitar, and dancing for the project, as she detailed to Teen Vogue.

Hayley Kiyoko has tried to set fans up at concerts

Hayley Kiyoko has made it abundantly clear that two things she loves are music and girls. But as a famous musician on tour, Kiyoko doesn't always give her dating life top priority. But putting her own love life on pause hasn't stopped Kiyoko from trying to set up those around her, including her fans.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Kiyoko recalled a meet-and-greet where she played matchmaker with fans. Kiyoko could sense the attraction between two fans, and she got one girl to give her phone number to a fan who was too shy to ask for herself. "A fan's phone wasn't working and she was shy, and there was a cute girl behind her," Kiyoko said. "So I was like 'Hey could we use your phone? Could you text it to her?'" Kiyoko continued, "And the shy girl leans in my ear and goes 'Thank you so much. She's so pretty. Thank you.'"

Shooting music videos has made Hayley Kiyoko want to be a director

It's no secret that Hayley Kiyoko is a triple-threat and then some. She sings, writes her own songs, acts, and, throughout her career, has found a love for directing. Kiyoko told W magazine she fell in love with directing because it was another way for her to tell stories. Kiyoko wants her music videos to tell a story with purpose, and fans love them because it's like watching a short film.

Kiyoko discovered her passion for directing when making the "Girls Like Girls" music video. Since then, Kiyoko has directed many of her music videos to tell the stories she wants to tell in the way she wants to tell them. 

"My dreams have definitely shifted to leaning more towards directing," Kiyoko shared with W magazine. "I think I'll always do a little bit of everything, but I just love storytelling. ... I would love to direct a feature and produce shows, and do on a bigger level what I've been doing, which is telling stories people want to see and need to see."