About Hayley Williams
It’s fair to say that Hayley Williams is Paramore. After all, Williams has been Paramore’s lone constant member since the band first formed in Nashville in 2004, commandeering their transformation from teenage emo phenoms to perennial Top 40 contenders. But it’d be just as accurate to say that Hayley Williams is more than Paramore. Born in Meridian, Mississippi, in 1988, Williams was already signed to Atlantic Records as a solo pop artist at age 15 before she insisted on going in an edgier alt-rock direction with her high-school pals in tow. As Paramore became fixtures on the mid-2000s Warped Tour circuit, Williams represented an orange-haired beacon for girls looking to elbow their way into the predominantly male mosh pit that was the pop-punk scene, with kiss-off anthems like “Pressure” and “Misery Business” staking the middle ground between riot grrrl and girl power. Outside the band, Williams has crowd-surfed far away from her punk roots, whether playing the melodic foil on B.o.B’s 2010 rap banger “Airplanes” or teeing up the drop on Zedd’s euphoric EDM surge “Stay the Night,” extracurricular dance-floor pursuits that anticipated Paramore’s turn toward frisky funk on 2017’s Top 10 smash “Ain’t It Fun.” But little in Williams’ far-ranging CV could quite prepare us for the Fiona Apple-worthy confessionals and Radiohead-style experimentation of her 2020 solo debut, Petals for Armor, cementing her status as one of the most fearless artists of her generation.