May 18, 2024

Unveiling the remarkable story of Halsey’s breakout at 18, a tale of passion, perseverance, and undeniable talent.

Halsey’s rise to fame may seem sudden to some, but her journey was the culmination of years of hard work and dedication to her craft. While there were a few pivotal moments around the age of 18 that propelled her career forward, Halsey’s big break was really the result of a perfect storm of factors coming together over time. Let’s take a deeper look at the events that led to Halsey signing her record deal and achieving mainstream success.

Early Years: Developing Her Songwriting Skills (Pre-18)

Ashley Frangipane, now known as Halsey, was born in 1994 in Edison, New Jersey. She showed an early interest in music and began teaching herself guitar and piano as a teenager. In her formative years, Halsey focused on honing her songwriting skills by penning poems and lyrics. She also started covering popular songs acoustically and posting videos of her performances to YouTube and other social media platforms.

This helped Halsey gain exposure and connect with early fans, even though her following was still relatively small at that stage. Performing covers allowed her to showcase her vocal talents while developing her songwriting abilities behind the scenes. She was constantly writing and experimenting with new styles. By around 2014 at age 17, Halsey felt ready to start recording and releasing her own original material.

The Power of Social Media (Age 18)

In 2014, Halsey was still primarily known as an online presence rather than a recording artist. That year, at the age of 18, she self-released a song called “Ghost” on her SoundCloud page. The emotionally raw pop track stood out for its dark lyrical themes and Halsey’s powerful vocals.

Perhaps most importantly, “Ghost” resonated strongly with listeners. It quickly gained tens of thousands of plays on SoundCloud—an impressive number for an independent release at the time. Halsey’s dedicated online following helped spread the word, as fans shared the song widely on social media.

This organic buzz caught the attention of music industry professionals. Representatives from record labels took notice of Halsey’s online popularity and critical acclaim for “Ghost.” Most significantly, Astralwerks—a label known for signing emerging artists—reached out with interest.

Signing the Big Deal (Age 18)

In late 2014, still at only 18 years old, Halsey signed a record deal with Astralwerks. This provided a major boost that allowed her to focus fully on her music career. With the support of her new label, Halsey gained professional resources like studio time, producers, and marketing support.

She was also able to quit her part-time jobs and enroll in online school to balance pursuing her passion. Signing to Astralwerks validated years of independent work and proved her budding talents to the industry. It was a true turning point that set the stage for Halsey’s next chapter of commercial success.

Building Momentum (Post-18)

After inking her record deal, Halsey worked diligently on new music. In 2015, she released the singles “Ghost” and “Colors” to further promote her emerging sound. Both tracks gained airplay on alternative radio stations and amassed millions of streams online.

That summer, Halsey supported The Kooks on their nationwide tour, using the opportunity to perform for larger audiences. She also embarked on her own headlining tour of smaller clubs and venues. These live shows were a chance for Halsey to connect directly with devoted fans, while expanding her fanbase in the process.

Her debut studio album “Badlands” followed in August 2015 to widespread acclaim. Critically praised for its raw lyricism and genre-blending pop sound, “Badlands” debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 chart—an incredible achievement for an artist’s first full-length release.

Halsey supported the album with high-profile television performances and continued touring. By the end of 2015, she had risen to mainstream popularity as a talented new voice in pop. Halsey was even nominated for “Best New Artist” at the 2016 Grammy Awards. Her star was truly on the rise.

Key Factors in Halsey’s Big Break

While signing her record deal and the success of “Ghost” were undeniably pivotal moments, Halsey’s breakthrough success was the result of many compounding factors coming together:

Social Media Presence: Halsey utilized platforms like YouTube, SoundCloud, and Tumblr at a grassroots level to connect with early supporters. This helped generate buzz that caught industry attention.

Songwriting Talent: Halsey spent years honing her craft, which was evident in her emotionally powerful original songs like “Ghost.” Her lyrics resonated and proved she had real artistic ability.

Hard Work Ethic: From her early covers to recording her own music independently, Halsey put in tireless efforts to improve. She remained dedicated even before achieving fame.

Timing: Halsey’s online popularity coincided with a time when social media was empowering independent artists. Her talent met an industry increasingly focused on new digital marketing models.

Supportive Label: Signing to Astralwerks, a label committed to developing emerging talent, provided the structure needed to take her career to the next level.

While “Ghost” and her record deal marked key milestones, Halsey’s big break was truly the result of her effective grassroots online presence, songwriting skills, work ethic, fortunate timing, and the right industry support all aligning in her late teens. Her journey exemplifies how dedication and utilizing new opportunities can help talented artists break through to widespread success.


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