Halsey says asking Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross to collaborate was like “writing a letter to Santa”

"That’s kind of what this felt like – waiting outside Berghain being like, ‘Are they gonna think I’m cool enough?’”

Halsey has discussed asking Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross to collaborate on their new album, saying it was like “writing a letter to Santa”.

The Nine Inch Nails duo produced the pop star’s new album ‘If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power’, which was recently nominated for Best Alternative Music Album at the 2022 Grammys.

Speaking in this week’s NME Big Read cover interview, in which they discussed receiving the Innovation Award at the BandLab NME Awards 2022, Halsey said they were originally nervous about approaching the duo to work together, calling them artists who Halsey has “been plagiarising for years”.

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“First of all, I thought I was writing a letter to Santa being like, ‘I’ve been a very good girl’,” she told NME. “I was just really honest and said I was a huge fan and I’ve been plagiarising you guys for years – badly – and I’m not arrogant enough to believe that I have anything new to offer you, but this album is about pregnancy, gender identity, body horror.

“The most important thing to me is that this album has tension – it needs to be visceral, or I’m doing a disservice to the message.”

Halsey
Halsey on the cover of NME

Halsey added that asking Reznor and Ross to work together was akin to trying to get into Berghain, Berlin’s most notoriously picky nightclub, which hundreds get turned away from at the door every night.

“I’ve been to Berlin like 15 times and still won’t go to Berghain because I’m scared they’re gonna turn me away at the door,” Halsey said. “If they say no to me, I’m literally never gonna recover, so I just don’t even wanna go.

“That’s kind of what this felt like – waiting outside Berghain being like, ‘Are they gonna think I’m cool enough?’”

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Elsewhere in the Big Read interview, Halsey spoke about the honour of receiving the Innovation Award at the BandLab NME Awards 2022, which they will pick up during a ceremony at the O2 Academy Brixton in London on March 2.

Halsey told NME that she “wasn’t expecting” the award and was “very surprised” to be recognised with the nod. “But it’s really, really awesome – I think you start to get really sad and nervous about how your music connects when you’re not around to bring it to life and to know that it’s still resonating is really, really cool.”

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