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AUTHOR: DEEPA LAKSHMIN, MTV.COM

Romeo + Juliet may have inspired Halsey’s upcoming sophomore album, but she’s putting her own spin on Shakespeare’s classic play. The 16 tracks off Hopeless Fountain Kingdom, due out June 2, weave together a modern tale of romance and tragedy. Lauren Jauregui of Fifth Harmony, who features on “Strangers,” helps Halsey tell that story.

“This is the first song that I ever wrote where I openly used female pronouns,” Halsey recently revealed to Zach Sang, adding that she tried to keep her previous LP gender neutral. But Hopeless Fountain Kingdom‘s songs switch between male and female pronouns, reflecting the real-life relationships that loosely inspired the music.

That’s why Jauregui, who came out as bisexual last November, was the perfect fit for a collaboration. “If I want this song to be believable it needs to be real, so I’m not going to put a girl on the song to sing who’s straight,” Halsey explained. “I’m just not going to do it. So I reached out to Lauren and she came in and she cut the vocal and it sounds awesome.”

Hidden in the newspaper. A TRACKLIST….. ✨🌹🔥 hopeless fountain kingdom 6/2/17

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Each song off Hopeless Fountain Kingdom tells a small part of a bigger story; “Strangers” tackles what happens when Halsey’s and Jauregui’s characters meet at a house party. It’ll be interesting to hear their naturally raspy voices combine for a duet.

“I just love that Lauren and I are two women who have a mainstream pop presence doing a love song for the LGBTQ community,” Halsey explained. “It’s unheard of. It’s very rare to see it from a female perspective. … Sam Smith obviously made waves making records that were so human and so amazing and emotional that it didn’t matter what your sexuality was, you just identified with what he was singing. That’s kind of what I wanted to do with ‘Strangers.'”

To hear more about how Hopeless Fountain Kingdom came to be, watch Sang’s full interview with Halsey below.

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