Hayley Kiyoko Talks Mental Health & New Single "Found My Friends"

“I realized instead of being my own worst enemy, I could actually be my own best friend.”

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Innovative pop star Hayley Kiyoko is back with a brand new single. The song, “Found My Friends,” picks up where Kiyoko’s 2020 EP I’m Too Sensitive For This Sh*t left off: It’s all about finding friendship within yourself, in moments where you’d otherwise feel totally alone.

“‘Found My Friends’ is a song I wrote during a challenging time when I realized instead of being my own worst enemy, I could actually be my own best friend,” Kiyoko told NYLON ahead of the song’s premiere. The relatable track was written by “Lesbian Jesus” herself pre-pandemic, when Kiyoko says she was struggling with many of the issues that have become so commonplace today.

She also directed the song’s 16mm film video, which features Kiyoko symbolically dancing through her feelings and back to herself. Watch the video below and read on for our chat with Kiyoko about mental health and what it’s like to be releasing music after a brief hiatus.

What was the inspiration behind the song?

“Found My Friends” is a song I wrote during a challenging time when I realized instead of being my own worst enemy, I could actually be my own best friend. It's about discovering and nurturing a strong friendship with yourself. And I think also too, this song can resonate even more so now with everyone experiencing isolation in quarantine when we still somehow find the resilience to connect with one another and find comfort in each other.

Was the song born out of this time in isolation in quarantine or unrelated?

I actually wrote this song in January 2020, before everything went down. It's cool because I wrote it going through my own personal experience, and then everyone went through this isolation figuratively and literally. So it's added a whole new meaning to the song.

You directed the visuals yourself. What was that experience like, and how did you decide which direction to take?

I think for every video I direct, I'm always trying to challenge myself a little bit more. So this time around was shot on film, on 16 millimeter film, and that was really an amazing experience because film is very specific. The lighting has to be perfect. Everything has to be perfect because there's no grace in the editing room.

It was super challenging, with a small crew obviously, and following all the COVID protocols and stuff. So I was just so excited about how it turned out. And I think for myself, I was worried about my performance, because it's been a long time! I haven't danced. I haven't been on stage. I haven't seen my fans. We've all just been in our own personal bubbles.

So, I think it was a very emotional and healing experience. I think hopefully it shows this liberation that I'm feeling throughout the video, of really feeling like I'm back and I've found myself again, which is what I went through.

What does it feel like to be releasing music again, and why did now feel like the right time to do it?

I feel like every time you take a break and you come back and start to release music, it feels like the first time every time. So I feel nervous. I feel excited. I think as artists you feel vulnerable, because you're sharing something that means a lot to you that you've been through, and getting to share that with other people is just a really exciting opportunity to hopefully connect with others.

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