By Tiffany Sandrasageran
Think Paramore and the first thing that comes to find would be a flash of flaming red hair and an iconic, fierce female voice belting out in the top of the register. 3 studio albums, 2 Grammy nominations and a couple of hit collaborations later, the dynamic redhead continues to shine.
Paramore has gone through a whirlwind of change, grappling with the loss of the Farro Brothers (the initial founders of Paramore) from the band, as well as a hacker who posted nude pictures of Hayley on her twitter page.
Paramore has gone through so much, especially Hayley. The petite 22-year-old shocked the Twitterverse once in May 2010, where nude photos of her leaked on her twitter page, @yelyahwillams. Paramore’s made up of Christian members, and most songs consist of Christian themes, so this incident might have cost them some religious fans.
However, in today’s entertainment industry, a nude scandal would definitely get a celebrity more… eyes. Hayley received nearly 50,000 more followers on Twitter that night. The charming front-woman dealt with the issue graciously and laughed it off with a comeback tweet, “Pretty much my day has consisted of folding and organizing clothes. You aren’t gonna believe this…. but… I have a whole lot of shirts.”
It might be hard to believe from the confident and unperturbed demeanour of Hayley, but she used to be bullied in high school and had to be homeschooled as a result. According to an interview in Cosmopolitan Magazine in May 2011, she used to be accused of being gay. She shared, “I came home crying one day and told my mom I couldn’t be around them anymore. So we decided I would be homeschooled.”
5 colours (and more) in her hair
Haley has been flanked and revered by the fandom for having outlandishly bright hair colours and styles that are iconic of her. Since 2005, she’s had a total of about 20 whopping changes in her hair colour, including a full red-head, yellow bangs, ginger, cherry red, purple, solid orange, bleach blonde, red and pink, and most recently, red hair again. Oftentimes, Hayley also customises her microphone colour according to her hair to give her performances and additional oomph.
The imminently growing image of Haley as a solo entity from her band came during her big stint with B.o.B on the hit single, ‘Airplanes‘. As the undying, and oftentimes only face of Paramore, it has inevitably led to fact that the rest of the band members fade into the background, and the main identifying factor of the band would be Hayley.
‘Airplanes’ might be the biggest and most popular mainstream collaboration that Hayley has done so far, but the spunky lady has had her fair share of collaborations prior to that, and is no stranger to duets. In 2006, she had also teamed up with the pop punk band October Fall for the song ‘Keep Dreaming Upside Down‘. Also, she did ‘Tangled Up‘ with Newfound Glory and ‘The Few That Remain‘ with Set Your Goals in 2009.
Late last year the Farro Brothers decided to exit Paramore, claiming that the band was falling out. On Dec 21, Josh Farro made a statement in his blog that revealed the reason for his departure. “Hayley claimed that this record (Brand New Eyes) reunited us as band and made us grow closer together, when in reality we were all growing further apart. Suddenly the band had spilt into 2 sides. Touring became more difficult since we couldn’t agree on anything. The friendships our band once had were no longer existent.”
The departure of the Farro Brothers, Josh and Zac Farro, has also garnered some reservations amongst rabid Paramore fans that worry for the band’s sound and direction of music.
Paramore fan, Nur Haafizhah Bte Khosni, an avid Paramore fan, spoke of how she worries about the change of the musical direction for Paramore. “After they (Farro Brothers) left, Paramore seemed incomplete. Paramore will still be Paramore, the band that had me hooked on their music the first time I ever heard of them, but with some slight changes. The music will probably change because Josh took part in most of the lyric writing and composing,” said the 16-year-old fan.
The departure of the Farro Brothers was not all that smooth, as they claimed that their exit from the band was due to some differences and clash in the beliefs and their thoughts that Hayley “mispresented the band”. As stated from Josh’s blog post, “Hayley presented lyrics to us that were really negative and we didn’t agree with. We fought her about how her lyrics misrepresented our band and what we stood for, but in the end she got her way. Instead of fighting her any longer, we decided to just roll over and let it go.”
With a bitter departure and a vast hole in the band’s future, fans had their doubts whether Paramore would disband altogether. Just as the fans had their reservations about where the band is heading, the new Paramore (where Hayley is flanked by bassist Jeremy Davis and guitarist Taylor York) decided to turn up the offense and dive straight into the attack mode with the release of their first single, “Monster”, on the Transformers: Dark of The Moon soundtrack, in June.
The song is a prelude to their new album set to release in 2012, and with its signature minor-key angst and lyrics like “I’ll stop the whole world from turning into a monster, eating us alive” and “Call me a traitor, I’m just collecting your victims”. But perhaps the deciding lyric “Now that you’re gone, the world is ours”, unanimously answered the world’s question as to whether the song was a direct hit towards the Farro Brothers.
The evolution of Paramore’s music
Paramore’s music has seen a steady change throughout their three albums. In 2005, their debut album, All We Know Is Falling, where the redhead wasted no time in showing the world her impressive vocal range and unique grunge inter-tones to her voice.
2 years later, Riot! was, as the band would like to call it, “an outburst of emotion” that Hayley and her band members had. Songs like ‘Misery Business‘, ‘CrushCrushCrush‘ and ‘Hallelujah‘ garnered a lot more attention this time, landing the band a spot on stage at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards.
The band greeted 2009 with Brand New Eyes, a fresh album with slower tempo, emotionally vulnerable songs like ‘Misguided Ghosts‘ and ‘The Only Exception‘. The album also reflected their steadfast belief in God and Christianity, as portrayed in songs like “Playing God” and “Miracle”. Apparently, this album unleashed the softer side to Hayley as it was about the heartache she went through. In an interview with MTV, she said, “I would say that a large majority of those songs, yes, have to do with the relationship we (Hayley and Josh) had and then that we had to mend.”
She added, “And it was really hard, because we were all friends, and then going through a breakup and going through any kind of tension as a band really affected all the lyrics. … There are a lot of specifics that I pulled from my experience with just feeling like my face was underneath a boot all the time.”
With the sneak peek of via the angst-filled single, ‘Monster’, we can probably expect an irate and fury soundtrack of Hayley’s trying phase with the Farro Brothers, all cooped up in the upcoming album.
After all that’s been said and done, and even in her darkest of moments, Hayley Williams is still a force to be reckoned with.
Catch the feisty lady in action as Paramore performs live at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, Aug 21. Tickets are available at SISTIC.