My Hero: Angel Haze on Paramore's Hayley Williams
The up-and-coming hip-hop artist on her admiration for the red-headed emo poster girl.
One of the fiercest new voices in rap goes all gushing over Paramore frontwoman and flame-haired emo heroine Hayley Williams, her teenage idol-turned-Twitter BFF.
“Without sounding like a creep, I think Hayley Williams and I were always bound to meet and hit it off. I was 16 when the Riot! album came out, and only just started listening to music – in the Christian cult I’d grown up in it wasn’t allowed. I turned on my TV and on MTV there’s this girl with fiery red hair fronting a band with the strongest voice, dressed like a tomboy in a freakin’ graphic T-shirt and doing something boys normally do. I remember dancing on my bed to 'Crushcrushcrush,' moshing so hard I probably broke something inside of me.
“I try not to meet my idols. I was in Paris three weeks ago at Givenchy and Kanye and I were sitting next to each other the entire show and I didn't say a word to him. I didn’t want to risk having all of my ideals shattered. So when Hayley and I first met it was totally by accident. It was spring last year, when I was playing small shows [at the Austin music festival in March]. I was at a MAC cosmetics party and all of a sudden my manager comes over with her and says, ‘Hayley, Angel is a huge fan of yours’. Later I changed my Twitter bio to ‘Rap Game Hayley Williams’. We started tweeting every day and our bromance went from there.
“We have very similar personalities. People might think that we’re too tough, but then when you meet us it could not be any less true. She’s the sweetest, kindest person and the only person I’ve talked to about career dilemmas. When I leaked my album she texted me: ‘Woah, dude…!’
“Hayley was 14 when she was signed. She gets what it’s like to be a young female in the music business. With rock it’s exponentially easier than rap – with rap you’re limited to only one girl at a time, one female rapper of the moment, that’s just a given. But in rock they’re still the female in the workplace making five dollars to the male counterpart’s 10. I tell her, I feel like rap’s ugly stepchild. She says: ‘Fuck that! Everything about you is genre defying. It’s not about appealing to a certain demographic. You’re gonna have to be strong for people who do get your message.’
“She invited me to see her play her first time at Madison Square Gardens. Before then I’d never actually seen anyone in concert. I’ve got a ton of videos of it on my iPhone and my whole stage presence has entirely changed since then. I’m learning guitar for my next album, two hours every day I’m on the road. So far I can play 'The Only Exception,' which is my favourite Paramore song.”
“At Madison Square Garden, I was dating some kid, and I’d told him ‘I don’t wanna be anyone’s anything’. Then right as Hayley starts playing 'The Only Exception,' he comes out of nowhere and goes, ‘Hey Raeen’ – Raeen’s my name – ‘will you be my girlfriend?’ I go: ‘I hate you! Why would you do this to me? You’re ruining this song for me!’ I was literally crying along. I’ve always admired lyricists who write open wounds.
“I can’t believe this person who was so inspirational to me is now a friend. I ask her advice about everything. I just dyed my hair last month and I tweeted her: should I keep the purple or go back to blonde? She says keep the purple, make it lighter, you’ll look like a My Little Pony. So now we've decided we’re gonna make our own line of punk-rock My Little Ponies. They’ll have light orange hair or purple-into-teal hair, and tats on their butts.
“Actually, I’m gonna get Hayley’s signature tattooed on me, right on my sleeve arm. Yeh, we’re talking insurmountable amounts of love.”