Hayley “Don’t-Mess-With-Me” Williams

Hayley “Don’t-Mess-With-Me” Williams

Think Paramore, and the first thing you’d find would be a flash of flaming red hair and an iconic, fierce female voice belting out at the top of the register. Three studio albums, two 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 when nude photos of her leaked on her Twitter page, @yelyahwillams. Paramore comprises Christian members, and most songs consist of Christian themes so that 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 their confident and calm demeanor 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 colors (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 about 20 whopping changes in her hair color, including a full red-head, yellow bangs, ginger, cherry red, purple, solid orange, bleach blonde, red and pink, and most recently, red hair again. Hayley often customizes her microphone color according to her hair to give her performances an 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 frequently only face of Paramore, it has inevitably led to the 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 before 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.

Farro-less Paramore

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 who worry about the band’s sound and direction of music.

Paramore fan Nur Haafizhah Bte Khosni, an avid fan, spoke of how she worries about the band’s change of musical direction. “After they (the Farro Brothers) left, Paramore seemed incomplete. Paramore will still be Paramore, the band that had me hooked on their music the first time I 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 in 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 doubted 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 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, the redhead wasted no time 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 much 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 a slower tempo and 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 of 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 via the angst-filled single ‘Monster,’ we can probably expect an irate and furious soundtrack to 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 moments, Hayley Williams is still a force to be reckoned with.


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