Billboard interviews Hayley + new photos

Hayley Williams opened up with Billboard about her upcoming album Petals for Armor, releasing music during a pandemic, the beginning of her career and the future of music. The article and the interview includes also words from Atlantic Records representative and Hayley/Paramore manager. Click here to read it and see two new pictures taken by Lindsey Byrnes.

You signed with Atlantic around age 14, and have taken ownership of your career ever since. How do you make sure you’re listened to?

There was a meeting [with Atlantic] that I do remember, where there were ultimatums being presented. I was a kid. I was like, “Look. I would be just as happy going back and playing music in my friend’s basement. I don’t need all this.” That is the same energy that I carried throughout my career. Throughout my life, one of the themes for me has been not feeling heard. I’m working on this in therapy. I think I long to perform songs because somewhere deep down, I want to be heard and understood. And that feeling does come along with me when I go into a meeting.

I just have to trust that what I say is true, and be bold enough to say the things that I feel. And that doesn’t mean I walk in being a bulldozer. I’m very much the opposite, and I wish I could be a bulldozer more often in business settings. Especially when I watch Succession. [Laughs.] For Petals For Armor, I sat down with [Warner Music Group CEO of recorded music] Max [Lousada] and Julie and told them, “Here are my influences and the music I’ve written thus far. I want to make something of this. And this is how I’m going to do it.”

The rock genre has arguably been slower to innovate on that front. Why do you think that is?

My best guess is that there are less resources in the genre. And I think that rock artists are people of a more alternative state of mind. It’s completely different for an alternative band to do sponsorships or endorsements because there’s this mentality of, “I don’t want to sell out.” But pop artists, R&B artists, hip-hop artists — they’re so proud of these partnerships, and it really helps to bolster their career. We also don’t celebrate rock music on a big level. The Grammys don’t televise an alternative genre. When [Paramore] won best rock song [for “Ain’t It Fun”] in 2015, not only did we win and we weren’t there, but it wasn’t a televised award.

Has this experience changed the way you’ll think about releasing music in the future?

Regardless of coronavirus and the quarantine, I think we’re already having to figure out new ways to do stuff. Not only because it might be lucrative, but also because it’s just time to try new things. I’ve put out records since I was 16, and we’ve more or less done it the same way. This scratched that itch for me, where hopefully I can learn from this, and then when it’s time for Paramore to do something else, we can decide. Maybe by then, there will be all these other new ways of doing it — a big buffet of how to release shit.