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Hayley Kiyoko was advised to ‘tone down’ her sexuality for her career

Nick Duffy January 2, 2019
Hayley Kiyoko speaks onstage at Billboard Women In Music 2018

Hayley Kiyoko speaks onstage at Billboard Women In Music 2018 on December 6, 2018 in New York City. (Mike Coppola/Getty)

Lesbian singer Hayley Kiyoko has said she was encouraged to “tone down” her sexuality.

The artist spoke to i-D magazine about facing pressure to “tone down” her music after heavily referencing her sexuality on 2015 track “Girls Like Girls.”

She said the track was “too sexual for a lot of people to premiere.”

Hayley Kiyoko: I won’t tone down my sexuality

The singer added: “When you’re in the LGBTQ community and you’re open about your sexuality, it’s not common for you to hear your music played on the radio. It’s more common to be underground and left of centre with a selective core that listens to that music.

“My sexuality, loving myself and expressing my love for others is not something that’s negotiable.”

— Hayley Kiyoko

“That’s why this is an exciting time to really break those barriers of… I wouldn’t say judgement, but to break out of that box.”

The cover of Kiyoko’s March 2018 album Expectations featured the singer sat on a throne in front of a naked woman.

She explained: “I don’t like to play it safe. I like to make a statement.

The cover of Hayley Kiyoko album Expectations featured a naked woman
The cover of Hayley Kiyoko album Expectations featured a naked woman

“My sexuality, loving myself and expressing my love for others is not something that’s negotiable. There’s no toning that down because this is who I am and this is what I experience. I can’t change that.

“I still have a lot of room to grow as a person and think that anyone being brave, bold and willing enough to stand up for what they believe in and protest is really inspiring. It inspires me to put just as much energy into not only putting out art, but putting out art that can help move people forward.”

Taylor Swift supported Hayley Kiyoko’s criticism of the music industry

Kiyoko won support from Taylor Swift in June 2018 after she spoke out against homophobic double-standards in the music industry.

The singer accused music execs of having a double-standard on the issue because artists like Swift commonly talk about their relationships in music, while queer artists face pressure to avoid doing so.

Taylor Swift responded: “We should applaud artists who are brave enough to tell their honest romantic narrative through their art, and the fact is that I’ve never encountered homophobia and she has.

“It’s her right to call out anyone who has double standards about gay vs straight love interests.”

Swift also shared a post pointing out that the media focuses on her songs about relationships but “don’t call out people like Ed Sheeran or Bruno Mars for writing about theirs.”

More: Gay, hayley kiyoko, lesbian, LGBT

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