This week, Ariana Grande’s “7 Rings” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, knocking Halsey’s breakup ballad “Without Me” from the spot, which it notched just two weeks ago. It was Halsey’s first time hitting the No. 1 spot with her own track, not one she was featured on or sang with other artists.
Although the charts are an (increasingly irrelevant) way to rank artists against each other, Halsey feels like the media has been stirring the pot and unfairly pitting her and Grande against each other. The music industry and music media suffers from a sense of myopia when it comes to women; whatever genre or niche an artist is in, her peers are seen as her detractors and competition instead of collaborators, supporters, or just other dang professionals doing their thing. Halsey was profiled for the latest Glamour cover story, published Tuesday, and in it, she talks about the expectation that women must continually distinguish themselves from their equally talented colleagues, while men don’t have to do much at all to be considered geniuses.
From Glamour (emphasis mine):
The two songs [“Without Me” and “7 Rings”] might be fighting neck-and-neck for the number one spot on the charts, but Halsey says she doesn’t buy into the narrative of competition between her and Grande. “We live in a world where women are required to be so fucking original, it’s crazy,” she says. “There are so many male artists who are regurgitations of each other: They all fucking dress the same, they all have the same stylist, they all wear the same fucking clothes, they write with the same writers.”
Halsey adds that she’s personally friends with other women who make music and that her “generation” will opt-out out of this narrative, because they’re too busy gassing each other up:
Her voice rises passionately as she continues, “I will say one thing about my generation of artists: We are just not fucking having it. Lorde, Ariana…if you open any of our text messages at any given time, all of us are just like, ‘Yo, I love your new record. When are you leaving for tour?’ We’re so supportive.”
A casual flex to say that she’s on a texting basis with Lorde and Grande, but that’s neither here nor there. Halsey makes a good point here: Women very often have to define themselves in opposition to each other, as the price for entry into the market where their ideas and art can be sold and shared. The worst thing about clichés—like, there can only be one woman [insert profession or artistic lane here]—is when they continue to become true! Fuck all that, and congrats to Halsey for seeing through it.
Read the full profile here.