On Wednesday, April 11th, pop singer Hayley Kiyoko kicked off her headlining tour to a sold out crowd at The Observatory North Park in San Diego, CA. The “Expectations” tour, in support of her debut album (of the same title) will span the U.S. over the next four months, including sets at both weekends of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. While focusing the majority of her set on new songs from Expectations, Kiyoko featured a few fan-favorites from previously-released EPs.

Perhaps the most memorable part of the evening had to do with the atmosphere and how inspiring it was to witness a young, LGBTQ+ identifying artist play a sold out show. There was an air of acceptance and freedom within the crowd that evening that wasn’t necessarily the norm. This made me feel welcomed and that I belonged. I have to admit that this revelation alarmed me in the sense that I hadn’t realized I wasn’t completely comfortable there previous to this.

At one point in the evening, Hayley waxed poetic about a song that she had written a few years prior about a relationship she was in and how she felt like she had to be vague when it came to mentioning any specific pronouns. She continued on about how good it felt to be living her full truth and identity now and the importance of representation, no matter what the avenue. It was incredible to see an artist like her thriving and being celebrated for who she is and also what makes her unique. Poignant moments like that don’t happen often at concerts and I’m grateful that we have artists like her sharing unique stories on such large platforms.

This lead into an acoustic version of “This Side of Paradise,” with Hayley baring her heart on her sleeve in the near darkness while the crowd listened intently. Showing vulnerability (especially to a sold out crowd) is extremely difficult and it was nice to see this side of an entertainer that is usually vibrant and bubbly.

For her first headlining tour, Hayley was completely at ease and comfortable on stage. She engaged with the crowd in between songs, sharing bits and pieces of her inspiration behind her songs. It was so natural that even though nobody was responding back to her (aside from boisterous screams) it felt like a conversation she was including us in.

Hayley Kiyoko

You can hear Hayley’s music across a variety our Core Programs here at Mood, including Hitline and Shine. Expectations is out now via Atlantic.

– Submitted by Tristan Bolden, Music Design