Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross Gave Halsey Lots of Parenting Advice While Working on ‘If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power’

Halsey released her fourth studio album If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power on Aug. 27. Academy Award winners Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross produced the album. If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power explores Halsey’s journey with pregnancy and motherhood. During a moderated discussion about the album, it was revealed that Reznor and Ross gave Halsey parenting advice while working on If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power.

Halsey holds a microphone at 102.7 KIIS FM's Jingle Ball 2019
Halsey | Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross gave Halsey parenting advice

After If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power dropped, Lizzy Goodman moderated a conversation between Halsey, Reznor, and Ross at Capitol Studios. The moderated discussion was posted on YouTube for fans of Halsey, Reznor, and Ross to watch.

Shortly before the album was released, Halsey gave birth to their first child, Ender. During the moderated talk at Capitol Studios, Halsey revealed Reznor and Ross helped her with parenting advice in addition to helping her make the album.

“You guys gave me so much great advice about that while we were in the studio,” the singer-songwriter said. “Which is kind of something that I never thought would happen.”

She continued, “… you know, it’s like I’m gonna fangirl out for a second… I never pictured myself eight months pregnant sitting in the studio with Trent and Atticus getting parent advice talking about kindergartens.”

Halsey sent Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross a letter

The filmed conversation between Halsey, Reznor, and Ross also explained behind-the-scenes details about the creation of the album. It turns out Halsey sent the Nine Inch Nails members a letter to convince them to work on If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power.

“Right around that time, we got an incredibly eloquent letter from Halsey,” Reznor said in the discussion. “It was flattering, and it was just nice to receive. But it also signified authenticity.”

He continued, “And it was intriguing, you know? The ask was, to the effect, ‘I’m telling a story about the following things. It means a lot to me. I really want to make this powerful and have impact, and tell this story. Could you help or could you weigh in on any level of what might help deliver that?'”

How did Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross become producers of the album?

After receiving the letter from Halsey, Reznor, and Ross decided to tentatively investigate the musical project. According to Reznor, the two musicians asked Halsey to send some tracks from the album.


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The singer sent Reznor and Ross four songs from the record. When they listened to the music, Reznor felt like they could help the album reach the full potential Halsey wanted.

“When I heard the tracks I could hear something in there that felt like, knowing what you’d just written to us, it made sense. But I didn’t feel like it delivered what you were asking for,” Reznor told the singer-songwriter during the moderated conversation.

Together, Ross and Reznor worked on the four tracks and sent back the new versions. When Halsey liked what Reznor and Ross did, the three decided to collaborate together.