Reading and Leeds Festival is a bit of a rite of passage in the UK. Thousands of us have hopped on the train after picking up our GCSE results to head to our first festival with pals. This year was Hayley Kiyoko’s first time playing the festival, but she has her own first festival memories. “Coachella was that for me,” she explains backstage at Reading Festival, “Back home I’d go when I was 13, 14, and I’d just go and discover new artists and bands, and take notes as I was like “I want to be on stage one day!””
Watch our full video interview with Hayley Kiyoko at Reading 2019 above
We’re chatting a few hours after her excellent performance in the BBC Radio 1 Stage tent. Filled with slick choreographed dance routines and stuffed to the brim with her sparkling, electronic-flecked pop tunes, it was a hidden gem of the festival line-up.
Alongside tunes from last year’s album ‘Expectations’, Kiyoko also performed her new song ‘I Wish’. With its sing-a-long chorus and hand-clapped beats, the ear-worm tune will be stuck in your head for weeks. It also marks the next chapter of music the American musician is working on. “It’s a fairly new song, so when we finished it I was like okay this is a banger, let’s release it ASAP. And I have a lot of new music coming out this year, so I’m really excited about this next chapter and I feel like ‘I Wish’ is a very good intro to the next sound”
However what the next project will be is still to be confirmed: “I’m working on a project of music, I’m not sure how long or how many songs it’s going to be, but definitely a project,” Hayley explained, and when pressed for details she revealed: “I mean it sounds awesome and you’ll love it. I’m really excited about it, and I try to only put out music I’m pumped on. Sometimes it gets hard cause you’re like “will this be successful or will people like this”, and I’ve just gone back to the basics of just like if I like it hopefully people will like it too.”
She also discussed the community that has been created at her live shows. “As a musician you want to create a space that’s fun and freeing, and let’s you forget about your worries. And so I think when you come to my concerts, it’s the people who come and the audience who create that safe space. It’s these beautiful people that are supporting each other, and are excited to listen to music, and just let go”
Kiyoko has the sort of fanbase that has brought people together, with people turning up to her shows alone, and leaving with lifelong friends they’ve made in the crowd. “That’s the best!” she says, “When they’re like “I’m going alone like hopefully I’ll meet people” and then I’ll see them post after and they’re like “I had they best time, and I met six friends and we’re now going to get food together”
She’s proud of the community that’s been brought together, saying: “I mean it’s hard to make friends, it’s hard to find your people. And sometimes your people aren’t born or grow up where you are, sometimes they’re across the country and sometimes they live next door. So it’s really great to have that opportunity to find them.”
Watch our entire interview with Hayley Kiyoko above.