Did Halsey Plagiarize 1 of Her Hits from Tumblr?

According to some internet rumors, Halsey plagiarized one of her hits from Tumblr. Halsey responded to this claim on an episode of Hot Ones. In addition, she discussed her reaction to the backlash against the song.

Halsey | Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

This Halsey song has a very dark meaning

Firstly, Halsey is known for using metaphors in her songs. For example, in her debut album Badlands, she compares herself to a hurricane. In addition, she compares her lovers to books, ghosts, and colors. In the song “Colors,” she says a man in her life was an embodiment of the color red, though he fades to grey.

During an interview with SiriusXM, Halsey explained the meaning of “Colors.” “My song ‘Colors’ is about being in a relationship with someone and kind of watching the vibrancy slowly start to leak out of them,” she said. In addition, Halsey connected the song to people who became so involved with work or drugs that they are no longer the same person. According to The List, there is a rumor the track is about Matt Healy, the frontman of The 1975, a British indie pop band. However, there does not appear to be substance to this rumor.


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Why Halsey’s ‘Colors’ became controversial

The lyrics to “Colors” are similar to a Tumblr post — a Tumblr post by Halsey herself. During an interview with Hot Ones, she said “I had a really popular blog on Tumblr back in the day. And one of the poems I put on it was ‘You were red, you liked me because I was blue. You touched me and suddenly I was a lilac sky, and you decided purple just wasn’t for you.’ I was 18.”

She added “So a couple years later it ended up in one of my songs ‘Colors.’ People were like ‘you stole that from Tumblr.’ And I was like, ‘I stole it from my Tumblr.’ But yeah, it was good. It was humbling. But now I don’t post any of my sh*t online until it’s locked and loaded. And submitted to BMI or Universal Publishing because I’m not trying to get called out.”

Halsey on Hot Ones

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How the world responded to ‘Colors’

So did the controversy hurt “Colors?” It certainly didn’t stop Halsey from working with a prominent celebrity to promote the song. After all, the music video for “Colors” co-stars Tyler Posey, one of the stars of TV’s Teen Wolf.

The track reached No. 8 on Billboard’s Bubbling Under Hot. That chart tracks songs that haven’t charted high enough to reach the Billboard Hot 100. While “Colors” was not a major chart success, it still found an audience. RIAA gave the track a Platinum Certification, meaning Halsey sold 2 million copies of it. Although the track was not nearly as successful as some of Halsey’s later singles like “Bad at Love,” “Without Me,” or “Closer,” it still managed to become a success in spite of the controversy surrounding it.