Paramore’s Hayley Williams Shares Open Letter Before Headlining WWWY Fest
Ahead of their headlining set at the nostalgia-heavy When We Were Young Festival on Sunday (Oct. 23), Paramore lead singer Hayley Williams shared an open letter looking back at the emo and pop-punk scene that engendered the influential rock trio.
Last month, Paramore released their first new song in five years, "This Is Why."
As recounted by Billboard, the length note shared by Williams on Sunday finds her reflecting on the musical era in which she came to prominence. "Nearly 20 years later, we find ourselves a pillar of the very scene that threatened to reject us — and me," she writes. It was posted on her Instagram Story.
"To grow up in this scene was not a simple thing," Williams says. "To be celebrating it (and to be celebrated by it) is not a simple thing. Nothing about this life — for you, me, or anyone — is simple. We fell in love with this subset of post-punk and hardcore likely because nothing else moved us. We didn't fit in other places."
She continues, "To be a young girl in love with this scene was to have the hope that I might find my own way to belong. It took years to find that belonging. It's taken a lot of unlearning. A lot of untangling knots I didn't even know were there. What I did know was that for every 'Take off your top!' or snarky punkzine review … for every dramatic headline pinned on my name, or any season of self-doubt … no one was going to define Paramore but Paramore."
When We Were Young, the newly minted Las Vegas emo and pop-punk fest, missed its inaugural date last Saturday (Oct. 22) due to high winds in the area. However, the second day of the fest continued as planned. A third is scheduled for Oct. 29. When We Were Young 2023 is also already scheduled with a litany of likeminded bands.
In her letter, Williams states, "I do my best to stay humble. What good is a bloated ego? But beyond the intense devotion of Paramore fans around the world, the reason we made it this far is us. What I really mean to say is — we never banked on trends. Or nostalgia. Or even me, alone. We only did exactly what we knew was real for us."
She adds, "Tonight, while we're running through the lengths of our discography and I'm refraining from singing the word 'whore,' know that, inside, I'm celebrating the fact that, as a scene, we’ve come a long way."
Williams concludes, "Hugs to the ones who watched on and even sort of believed. Young girls, queer kids and anybody of any color. … We have shifted this scene together, messily, angrily, heartbroken and determined. Tonight, for me at least, is about celebrating all the facets of what punk music actually represents. All the things it wasn't allowed to be when we were young."
Paramore's sixth album, also called This Is Why, is due out on Feb. 10, 2023. Williams recently confirmed her relationship with Paramore bandmate Taylor York.
Before performing at When We Were Young on Sunday, Paramore launched their first concert tour in four years. Get Paramore concert tickets here and see their upcoming dates underneath the music video for "This Is Why."
Paramore, "This Is Why" (Music Video)
Paramore Fall 2022 North American Tour Dates
Oct. 2 – Bakersfield, Calif. @ Mechanics Bank Theater
Oct. 4 – Magna, Utah @ The Great Salt Air
Oct. 6 – Omaha, Neb. @ The Orpheum
Oct. 8 – Oklahoma City, Okla. @ The Criterion
Oct. 9 – Austin, Texas @ ACL Music Festival
Oct. 11 – Chesterfield, Mo. @ The Factory
Oct. 14 – Bonner Springs, Kan. @ Azura
Oct. 16 – Austin, Texas @ ACL Music Festival
Oct. 22 – Las Vegas, Nev. @ When We Were Young
Oct. 23 – Las Vegas, Nev. @ When We Were Young
Oct. 29 – Las Vegas, Nev. @ When We Were Young
Nov. 7 – Toronto, Ontario @ History
Nov. 9 – Chicago, Ill. @ Chicago Theatre
Nov. 11 – Cincinnati, Ohio @ Brady Music
Nov. 15 – Atlanta, Ga. @ The Tabernacle
Nov. 16 – St. Augustine, Fla. @ St. Aug. Amp.
Nov. 19 – Mexico City, Mexico, @ Corona Capital Fest