The pop sensation affectionately nicknamed “lesbian Jesus” by fans, claims top award for songwriting
Hayley Kiyoko picked up the Facebook Songwriter Impact Award at this year’s City of Hope: 15th Annual Songs of Hope event Thursday night (September 19).
Songs of Hope aims to honor songwriters and composers while raising funds for the City of Hope – a clinical research and cancer treatment center in California. Now in its 15th consecutive year, the bash has raised more than $4 million (approx £3,207,760).
Kiyoko, 29, received the award in recognition of her continued work in promoting acceptance and equality through her music. The LA-based artist has earned a reputation as a trailblazer of the music industry in recent years.
Though her songs often deal with common pop tropes – love, lust and heartbreak – her status as a trailblazer comes by way of her resolve to confront these topics through her own lens – that of an openly gay pop star of Asian descent.
Following her awards win, Hayley appeared on The Kelly Clarkson Show on Friday where she discussed her fears of knowing she was gay while at school. “I really feared growing up because I was gay and I was different from everyone else. I was like, life is going to be so difficult and people are just not going to understand”
Hayley also spoke to Clarkson on her decision to remain authentic to herself and others when pursuing her career:
“Going into my music career, I just thought that, if I’m scared, everyone else will be. So, I have to embrace who I am, I have to be the brave one because if I take that first step, everyone else will follow.”
She added: “They [fans] will hopefully grow to feel inspired and know that they can have a good life. They don’t have to commit suicide, the don’t have to not love themselves, they can be loved. It’s about people in general taking that first step and initiative to showcase that.”
Check out the video for Hayley’s latest single, ‘I Wish’ below.