Latest posts ‘Interviews’
The Rookie Yearbook Four features a friend crush interviews with Hayley and Joy Williams. They talk about their friendship, how they met and other things too. You can read the interviews below and see photos of the yearbook in our gallery. The book is in stores now, order your copy here.
Hayley Williams and Joy Williams
The Paramore frontwoman and Civil Wars vocalist on the power of singing your own stories.
Brittany: How did you and Joy meet?
Hayley Williams: I think I was 12. My mom and I moved to Nashville to try and get away from my hometown in Mississippi. She was going through some stuff in her marriage. One of my closest friends had moved up here, so we came up to stay with them. We started going to this church right outside of Nashville and I guess Joy must’ve gone there, because we met her one of the first weeks we were there. Joy used to sing a lot of Jesus and gospel music, and just had this incredible voice even when she was super, super young. I think she was maybe 18 when I met her. I was already a fan. So when I met her my mind was absolutely blown that she wanted to talk to me and hang out with me. You know, because I was so inspired by her. And she had no ego. She didn’t act like she was better than anyone, even though in my mind, she was this incredible, talented, wonderful person.
So we started hanging out kind of often. She would come over to see my mom and me, and hang out. She would listen to me sing songs on the piano, or we would talk about life and boys and all that stuff. It was cool, because it was like having an older sister. I’ve always been the oldest sister.
When did you go from good friends to best friends?
It’s been a long journey, because she and I went our separate ways for a while just by accident. I joined Paramore at 13. And life started moving at super speed. Later, when I was 19, I was hanging out with Taylor Swift and she was like, “I love this band the Civil Wars.” And I was like, “Oh yeah, I’ve heard of that band.” And I went home and downloaded their EP and loved it. I was like, “Ah, this is so beautiful!” And I had no idea it was Joy, for probably a couple of weeks. And then, when I realized it was her, it was like [re-discovering] someone you’ve known for a very long time. Like, Why are you here? How are you here? I reached out and was like, “Oh my god! The Civil Wars is so amazing. I had no idea that was you, and I’m so excited for you.”
We slowly started talking more and more. Then the middle of last year, we asked her to do a duet with us. We’ve always sort of checked in with each other. And now, we’re at the point where I just feel we’re, like, soul sisters, you know?
What was it like to hear the Civil Wars and watch Joy become successful with that?
It kind of felt like a long time coming. When she was singing Christian or gospel music as a teenager, you could already tell. Her voice was insane. Her range was crazy. She grew up on a lot of singers who really sing. It’s like an art form. It’s not just singing a melody. That’s why I loved her voice so much and that’s why I was so excited to meet her, because I was like, “I like to sing like this too.” I like my voice to sound strong and I like to do these big sweeping notes.
Then I found the Civil Wars stuff she was writing and singing… I think it’s always interesting when you have a vocalist who grows up focusing on their vocals and then they learn to write for themselves – the lyrics and the way they move the melody around for their voice – it usually changes how they sing. It changed how I sing a lot. When I was singing other people’s songs, as a kid growing up in church, those weren’t my stories so much. But now Joy is singing her own stories and there’s such depth. She can sing anything in the entire world, but when she sings her own stories, there’s so much power you can’t deny it.
What makes Joy stand out from the other people in your life?
She’s so calming to be around. She’s very strong and she has a lot of opinions, but you don’t ever feel like you have to shield yourself from her words. She’s one of the most honest people I’ve ever known. But also, she’s so graceful about it. I’ve gotten to watch her grow up, too. I’ve seen her in her marriage. I have seen her have a child. I have seen her navigate different eras of her musical career. And now she’s starting a brand-new career with a solo album that’s so insanely good.
In what ways are you most alike?
We do everything with a lot of conviction. But we also don’t think that we’re the best. We feel like we are on this journey to constantly get better and better. To me, it isn’t a comfortable place, because every day, I’m in a mindset of OK, what can I be doing better to do this?
And in what ways are you opposite?
She moves with a lot of grace. I feel like I stumble around a lot. I don’t feel graceful at all. Because she’s just a handful of years older than me, I’m always hoping, “Ah, in six years, I hope I’m like Joy.” I don’t feel like I will be, ‘cause I feel like the clumsiest person, both emotionally and physically. But you know, we can aspire to greatness.
Do you ever write songs together?
Yeah. The first time that we ever really sang together was for our duet that came out last fall called “Hate To See Your Heart Break.” It was so amazing because Paramore’s never done any collaborations, really. The thing that worked about it is that Joy and I both grew up listening to a lot of divas, like Whitney Houston, Patti LaBelle, Mariah Carey… really poppy music with a lot of vocal aerobics or acrobatics. But we ended up singing different styles of music. For the Civil Wars, Joy did a lot of that Americana sound that was dark. And I ended up singing aggressive songs and pop songs with Paramore. But none of it really sounds like what we grew up listening to.
It was so amazing to share that duet with another singer who understands little inflections… she’s such a smart singer. She puts so much taste into what she does. When I was harmonizing with her, I would follow those little things. So, if you really pay attention, you can hear where her style is sitting right on top and I’m following that. And then the moments where she’s harmonizing to my melody, you can hear how she’s following my little subtleties. So it was amazing to share that moment as friends, but even more, I think, as singers who really understand singing together. We don’t get to just sing with other women all the time. I wish I did it more, because I feel like that experience was so good for me as a singer. I learned a lot and felt like it showcased something in both of us we haven’t been able to show for a while.
Do you ever talk about business-related stuff, or give advice? Or is it very separate, like when you two are together you don’t really think about work?
No, it totally overlaps. We’ve grown up in the music business together. She saw me as a person before she ever knew me as the girl who’s in Paramore. And I knew her as a completely different artist than she is today. So we kind of have always gone to each other for advice. While she’s been working on this record, I’ve been so lucky to hear songs take shape. She sent me a picture she did for her photo shoot for the album package. It’s so beautiful – it’s stunning. I was like, “Oh my god, this is my friend Joy who is literally about to take over her area of music and it’s going to be so powerful and it’s going to mean so much.”
So it’s been cool for me to watch because we are friends and because it’s not like we have to run every single thing by each other to do what we do and do it well. But it’s nice when you have someone who trusts you. It’s not weird to talk about music. It’s just part of who each of us is.
Brittany: What was your first impression of Hayley when you met?
Joy Williams: Hayley was in junior high when we met, and I wasn’t much older. I remember she had this spark even then. She had this bounce in her step always. She had determination. Bangs, bright clothes, an obsession with ‘N Sync. I can still remember her pounding away on her red keyboard in her bedroom, eyes closed, singing me a new song she’d just written.
Hayley told me that hearing the Civil Wars’ EP helped you rekindle your friendship. How did it feel to reunite with her?
Getting back in touch after a few years of us both touring and going through our own whirlwinds on the road was a gift. It’s not like we had a falling-out or anything like that-it was just schedules, and life in general, that got in the way. But I was always keeping an eye out on the tours, the songs- and looking back, she was doing the same. When we were able to reconnect, it was like sitting down with someone I’d never really been out of step with. That’s when you know you’ve found a dear friend – when you can pick right up where you left off.
What makes Hayley stand out from the other people in your life?
Hayley has amazing blend of badassery and total humility, neither of which is put out forced. I’ve said it before, but she’s the type of person whose arrows go outward, not inward.
How are the two of you the most alike and most opposite?
We seem to really value similar things, in the way we see the world and how we interact with people. We are both ridiculously short humans, which we laugh about a lot. We’re the opposite in the way we decorate, maybe? I live in a postmodern house in California that’s all white… and at one point, Hayley’s house had an octopus chandelier in the dining room, scratch-and-sniff cherry wallpaper in her hallway, and a giant dinosaur next to her pool.
What’s been your favorite memory with Hayley?
Whatever the next one is going to be, because all the others have been pretty awesome leading up to now.
Alternative Press’ Lee McKinstry interviewed Hayley at the Alternative Press Music Awards last week. She talked about winning ‘best vocalist’, meeting PVRIS’ Lynn Gunn at the awards, the end of the self-titled era and true love. You can read the interview below.
Congratulations on your win, how do you feel?
Awesome! I don’t know if I’ve ever won an award for vocals specifically, so it’s kinda cool. I think it’s cool that there’s a category for vocals here, especially in this scene. It felt good. It was really nice.
What did you think of your competition?
I was actually just psyched to be in that lineup of people, because I pretty much know all of them. It was really cool to see Lynn Gunn. I love that [PVRIS are] killing Warped Tour right now. I’m watching from afar a little bit. It’s nice that there’s another girl that sings really strongly over guitars, and it’s really translating from stage well. I was—oh my God, I almost said I was “gunning” for her, and then I realized her last name is Gunn. That was so cheesy!
Very nice, very nice. You didn’t even try.
Any information you can give us on the next Paramore album?
Oh, I can’t give you any information on it! Is that helpful? [Laughs.] We really have been home working slowly. It feels better that way. Most albums—between albums—for Paramore were always so rushed. Even between Brand New Eyes and self-titled, there was more time in between than what is normal for us, but we put out an EP, we kept touring. So it feels good to work slowly and see what comes out of it that way.
You said the self-titled era is over. So what’s next for Paramore?
I mean, that’s the scary and amazing part. To be honest, I’m still in mourning a little over the self-titled era. It was such a happy, wonderful time for our band. Our band’s been through a lot of ups and downs, so it was nice to just have those three years of exciting adventures. I’m definitely in mourning, but I’m really excited to see what happens next, because I never would’ve predicted the self-titled record. That makes me hopeful for the future.
How did you and New Found Glory decide “Vicious Love” was the song you wanted to collaborate on?
I knew they wanted a female vocal on that song particularly. When I heard that, I was like, “Here I am! I’m Hayley. From Paramore.” But seriously, I’m such a fan. Like, beyond Chad, I love those guys so much. From day one when I met them on Warped Tour, we’ve just become such good friends with them over the last few years. I really wanted to do it just for personal reasons, like just that friendship-hang situation, but I love the song.
So they already knew that was the song they wanted. I know it’s inspired by your relationship. Do you think you wanted to show a different side of that relationship?
Yeah! Even with “Still Into You,” and “The Only Exception” as well, actually. To me personally, it’s more convicting to talk about the stuff that’s hard about love, because I don’t think I really believed in it when I started to experience it. I like to keep grounded in that, and that it feels very impossible. Sometimes even when it’s happening, it still feels impossible.
I think people relate to that a little bit more.
That’s good, I like that. Because the fairytale is nice and all, but it truly doesn’t exist. I don’t mean that in a pessimistic way.
Sometimes the reality can be just as nice.
Exactly! I love the reality.
I’m just here to give you your pep talk.
[Laughs.] Thank you, thank you.
Hayley and her fiancé Chad Gilbert are on the cover of the newest issue of Alternative Press. They were interviewed by Jason Pettigrew and talked about remaking New Found Glory’s song “Vicious Love”, the story behind the song and their relationship.
New Found Glory with Hayley Williams:
This month, Artist Of The year nominees New Found Glory are reissuing their kickass album Resurrection with a remake of the pop-punk-meets-glam track “Vicious Love.” How sweet is this new version? Well, it features Paramore frontwoman/best Vocalist nom Hayley Williams, so pretty sweet. And if you’ve got your APMAs tickets, you’ll be able to see Williams and NFG perform it live. NFG guitarist Chad Gilbert and Williams talked about the story behind the single and how Williams likes pampering her fiancé’s bandmates.
What’s the story behind the new version?
Gilbert: the songs was originally on resurrection. I wanted to redo it, so I hit up Hayley and I was like, “Hey can you help me brainstorm and think of a cool female vocalist to sing on this?” [Laughter.] Ian [Grushka, NFG bassist] loves Kacey Musgraves and one time I saw this post where she said her first crowd-surf was at a New Found Glory show. Hayley’s friends with her so I was like, “Maybe we would do it or…“
Hayley Williams: …and I’m like [points at self, starts clearing throat]
Gilbert: …and I’m like, “You? That’s little too obvious for me.” And she’s like, “No. I love New Found Glory. I want to do it and I know I would kill it.” So I said to her, “Obviously, I’m not going to tell you ‘no,’” –the band loves her and we love her voice and she’s so talented – and I think [her contribution] makes the song special, because it was inspired by her.
The song isn’t a perfect love song: It’s easy to see photos of Hayley and me on Twitter and think, “Oh, they’re perfect.” The truth of the matter is no relationship, even if [it’s] working, is ever easy. We did have a phase that felt like constant battling, and I feel like when you’re in that friction, living in that tension made us realize that our relationship was worth it. When people in a relationship start battling–that time always comes–and when most people abandon their relationship, for us, that’s when we learned we liked each other the most, after getting through that.
But you have this unique relationship, the kind where you can say something like “I can’t talk, I’m talking to Dave Grohl and Trent Reznor,” and no one’s going to say, “Who’s more important, rock stars or me?” “Normal” people would take that as an affront to the relationship.
Gilbert: Totally. I was in the Shai Hulud when I was 14 years old: My entire life has led me to Hayley because of music. I don’t think she’d want to jeopardize where music could take my life in the future. One of the reasons we found balance in our relationship is because we know we can’t exist together without doing what we love. Take her out of what she loves, she’s not what she’s supposed to be–neither am I. We both want the best versions of what we’re supposed to be.
Williams: We’ve been super-lucky to be in bands as individuals, but when we come together, it only makes the relationship stronger. When some people aren’t living out what they really want, that takes a toll on not only romantic relationships, but your relationship with yourself.
Gilbert: [to Williams] Can I tell him?
Williams: [smiles] I don’t care.
Gilbert: Remember the Parahoy cruise ? We weren’t together.
Williams: [Laughs] It was horrible.
Gilbert: We were stuck on a boat in the ocean for about four or five days with a bunch of Paramore fans asking me, “Where’s Hayley?” And I’m like, “She’s great.” We didn’t tell anyone because we’ve always been private with our relationship. But that time period was part of the “Vicious Love” thing…
Williams: You have to figure out who you are by yourself. Your identity accidentally wraps yourself up in what band you’re in for 10 years. Even if you’re not in a band, I think you can still feel various levels of that in relationships and when it’s taken away, you’re kind of like, “What am I?”
There’s sense of optimism in the song. You can fall in love or text a Dear John letter to it. And people can hear it at the APMAs.
Williams: It’s gonna be rad.
Gilbert: Hayley always sings better live anyway. It’s true.
Williams: [NFG] have never had a bad show, but I swear before every show, Jordan [Pundik, vocalist] comes up to me and he’s like [imitates nervous dude], “Ahhh, I don’t know about this. Ahhh, I don’t like my shirt. Ahhh my voice.” [Laughs.] I try to show him warm-ups, give him tea or whatever. Even when they say they suck, New Found Glory don’t suck at all. I love watching them and to be actually onstage with them will be a good time.
Hayley is the biggest New Found Glory fan because she takes the time to coddle the lead singer.
Gilbert: She made us do face masks after our show in Belgium. We got offstage and she was like, “You have to do face masks!”
Williams [Laughs.] You gotta keep these guys looking young. You should’ve felt Ian’s skin afterward. It’s never been so baby soft.
Hayley also talked about Paramore’s past and their journey in her own interview, you can read that from the scan below.
Paramore Venezuela interviewed Paramore in Dallas, TX on May 19th. They talked about the Writing The Future, Jeremy’s daughter, Hayley’s Kiss Off video series, Parahoy, Game of Thrones and more, you can watch the interview below. Few photos from the interview available in our gallery.
VH1’s Shannon Coffey interviewed Paramore at the Hangout Music Festival last week. They talked about the festival and who they are most excited to see, their musical flavors of the month and first Parahoy! Cruise. You can watch the interview below.
Paramorefans.com interviewed Paramore in Uncasville, CT on May 9th. They talked about tour-mates and memories, missheard Paramore lyrics, favorite words and other things too. You can watch the interview below.