28/06/2021 05:00 BST | Updated 28/06/2021 05:00 BST

Hayley Kiyoko: 'Celebrate Yourself No Matter Where You Are In Your Journey'

The Chance singer on her "bucket list" Pride moment and why Britney Spears is her ultimate queer icon.

Trevor Flores/HuffPost

Hayley Kiyoko is undoubtedly one of the most exciting queer pop artists making music right now.

After releasing her debut album Expectations in 2018, she’s had the seal of approval from stars like Demi Lovato, RuPaul and up-and-coming singer-songwriter Taylor Swift (heard of her?).

She’s also won praise from music fans for highlighting LGBTQ themes in both her fresh-sounding pop tunes and their accompanying music videos, which she’s been directing herself for the past six years.

We caught up with Hayley for our Over The Rainbow interview series, and she shared why it’s important for queer youth to “celebrate yourself” regardless of where they are in their journey, and had some special praise for Britney Spears...

What is your favourite Pride memory?

It’s a tie between performing What I Need with Kehlani at San Francisco Pride in 2018, and riding the W Hotel’s float at NYC’s World Pride Parade in 2019.

During the performance with Kehlani, the song was cut short due to the sound regulations imposed by the city, so although it was brief, brief the moment was still so epic! (Sidenote: Kehlani and I deserve a redo in the future).

Also participating in New York’s Pride was such an incredible experience. The city was literally pulsing with pride within the community and the city as a whole. To see strangers cheering us on and celebrating us, I felt so much love that day. It was definitely a bucket list moment for me.

Rich Fury via Getty Images
Hayley Kiyoko performing live earlier this month

Who is your LGBTQ hero?

Tegan and Sara’s music has been comforting and inspiring my urge to create since my youth.

They have done so much for our community, including launching the Tegan and Sara Foundation which is a non-profit organisation focused on fighting for LGBTQ+ equality and justice, while raising awareness and funding to improve the lives of LGBTQ+ women and girls. 

Tim Mosenfelder via Getty Images
Tegan and Sara

What is your go-to Pride anthem?

That is a great but challenging question to answer. Ugh. I have so many!

One of my favourites is Born This Way by Lady Gaga. It’s just a powerhouse of a song that makes you want to scream the lyrics and dance at the top of your lungs while covered in glitter. 


What is your favourite LGBTQ film?

There are so many amazing films centred on queer narratives that I love, but Carol comes to mind first. It was such a poignant story told authentically which is a rare thing in the mainstream.

LGBTQ+ films tend to have a bittersweet traumatic storyline and that’s something I hope changes for the better, as we continue the work on making space for representation in film and TV.

Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in Carol

Who would be your ultimate queer icon?

Britney Spears has always been one of my favourite pop artists, and an icon for the LGBTQ+ community.

Vivien Killilea via Getty Images
Britney Spears accepting the Vanguard Award at the GLAAD Media Awards

What is your message for young LGBTQ people this Pride month?

Your resilience and courage is so important to this world, you matter! Celebrate yourself no matter where you are in your journey, I am sending you so much love this Pride season and every day after.

Watch the music video for Hayley Kiyoko’s latest single Chance below: