If you don’t know who Hayley Kiyoko is, you probably will soon. After kicking off her first (and nearly sold out) nationwide headlining tour today, the singer went ahead and dropped her new single “Sleepover” as well — complete with a music video that she directed herself.
With previous singles like “Girls Like Girls” and “Gravel to Tempo,” a song about having crushes on girls in high school, the 25-year-old has already established herself as an artist unafraid to provide young queer women with tangible representation through her work.
The “Sleepover” video, premiering exclusively on BuzzFeed, was inspired by the artist’s own personal experiences with the agony that comes along with an unrequited crush. Frankly, it’s so relatable it hurts.
It’s a video concept Kiyoko has been wanting to bring to life for a long time. “This is a really exciting piece for me because I’m able to speak my truth,” Kiyoko told BuzzFeed News. “Throughout my music, I’m in pursuit of a deeper truth — this is my truth.”
The video opens with Kiyoko’s crush, played by Christina Santini, hanging out, dancing, and even having a steamy makeout session with Kiyoko in her bedroom.
But it soon becomes clear that all these little moments are simply daydreams playing out inside the singer’s head.
The scenes then continue to flip back and forth between fantasy and reality.
“Having these fantasies of liking girls and not knowing if they liked me back — I think everyone can relate to that longing, yearning feeling,” Kiyoko said.
“I have yet to really set a visual to that emotion and that state of mind. It was exciting to see that come to life and be open about it.”
She also released a personal note earlier today addressed to her fans explaining how her own experiences inspired the scenes for the video.
“The music video for ‘Sleepover’ is not a concept or an idea for me. It is my life,” she explains:
I’ve never truly believed that sexuality defines who you are. I do believe, though, that sexuality helps shape and build who you become. How you act, what you pursue, who you surround yourself with. This music video for “Sleepover” is not a concept or an idea for me. It is my life. It defines a part of who I am today. I grew up a dreamer and found comfort through a safe haven in my head. It’s where I was able to find self-love and feel validated. This music video validates those feelings for me, even if in those moments the girl I fell for was unavailable. I made this video to help validate those fantasies. To create a space for the lovers, dreamers and seekers. Falling in love can be a bittersweet feeling, especially if you know it’ll never be reciprocated. I think we can all relate to that.
“Falling in love can be a bittersweet feeling, especially if you know it’ll never be reciprocated. I think we can all relate to that,” she concludes.
And she’s not wrong. With lyrics like “Even when you’re next to me, it’s not the way I’m picturing” and “You want to be friends forever, I can think of something better,” she strikes at emotions many queer women can easily relate to.
The second verse gets even more achingly real, with the lyrics:
“You won’t ever understand / even when you hold my hand / I just feel alone, feel alone.”
It’s the more painful emotions like those described in her lyrics that Kiyoko hopes her audience connects with.
“A lot of times we try to ignore the sadness and push through,” explained Kiyoko. “With this video, I hope people find comfort in that these feelings — when they feel down, or hoping, fantasizing, and wishing — those feelings are valid and there’s a space for that. It’s OK to let that in.”
Kiyoko is currently working on her debut album, which will be released later this year.