Hayley Nichole Williams (born December 27, 1988) is an American singer and songwriter. She is the lead vocalist of the American rock band Paramore.
Hayley Williams was born to Joey and Christie Williams, in Meridian, Mississippi. She is the oldest of three sisters. In 2002, following the divorce of her parents, Williams moved to Franklin, Tennessee. She met band members Josh and Zac Farro in her new school. While still at school she tried out for a local funk cover band, The Factory, where she met Jeremy Davis.
Williams was discovered in 2003 by managers Dave Steunebrink and Richard Williams, who signed the 14-year-old to a two-year production deal. At the time she was writing pop songs with songwriters in Nashville. Williams was introduced to Atlantic Records A&R Tom Storms through Richard Williams' attorneys Jim Zumwalt and Kent Marcus, and then signed to the label by Jason Flom. The label's original plan for their new artist was to make her a solo pop artist but Williams objected to this, saying that she wanted to be part of a band and play pop punk music.
Atlantic decided to go along with her wishes, and she then formed Paramore with Josh Farro, Zac Farro, and Jeremy Davis. The music of Paramore was originally supposed to come out on Atlantic Records, but the label's marketing department decided it would be better for the image of the band to not have them attached to a huge label. They instead released their music through a "cooler" niche label, Fueled by Ramen. The band's debut album, All We Know Is Falling, was released in 2005 when Hayley was only 16 years old.
In 2007, she appeared in the music video for "Kiss Me" by New Found Glory.
In the 2007 Kerrang! Readers' Poll she finished second to Evanescence's Amy Lee in the "Sexiest Female" category, going on to win the first place spot for "Sexiest Female" a year later in the 2008 poll, and again in the 2009, 2010, and 2012 poll. She also appears as a playable character in the video game Guitar Hero World Tour.
Williams wrote and recorded the song "Teenagers", which was featured in the soundtrack for the feature film Jennifer's Body. After the release of "Teenagers", Williams stated that she had no plans to establish herself as a solo artist. In 2010, she appeared on the tracks "Airplanes" and "Airplanes (Part II)" from alternative rapper B.o.B's debut album, B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray. When it was released as a single, "Airplanes" peaked within the top ten in nineteen countries, including number one peak positions in the United Kingdom and New Zealand.
Paramore was founded in Franklin, Tennessee in 2004 with Williams (lead vocals/keyboards), alongside Josh Farro (lead guitar/backing vocals), Jeremy Davis (bass guitar) and Zac Farro (drums). Prior to forming Paramore, the other members of what was soon to be Paramore had been "edgy about the whole female thing" of having Williams as singer, but as they were good friends she began writing with them and eventually became a member. The band has released four studio albums, All We Know Is Falling, Riot!, Brand New Eyes, and Paramore as well as two live albums and three EPs. In June 2009, the band welcomed Taylor York (rhythm guitar) as an official member, although he had already been playing as a touring member with the band since 2007.
In 2006, Paramore started touring outside of the US for the first time, which included a headline tour of the UK and supporting post-hardcore rockband The Blackout on the Give It A Name Festival in Europe.
In December 2010, two of the founding members of Paramore (Josh and Zac Farro) left the band. The news was posted by Williams on Paramore's web site, with Josh later posting a controversial blog post confirming their departure.
The band finished recording their fourth studio album, the self-titled Paramore, on November 1, 2012. The band informed fans from their website that the album would be released in April 2013. On January 4, 2013, the band communicated through their website that the first single from the album, "Now", was to be released January 22, 2013. The video for "Now" was released on February 12, 2013. Paramore's second single "Still Into You" was released March 14, 2013 after they performed it the first time live at SXSW and the video was released on April 9, 2013. Williams announced in March 2013 that she was partnering with MAC Cosmetics for the release of a new makeup collection on April 9, 2013.
Williams collaborated with EDM producer Zedd on the track "Stay The Night" as a featured artist. It was released on September 10, 2013 as the fourth single from his debut studio album, Clarity, and the first single from the deluxe edition.
Williams was born in Meridian, Mississippi but she currently resides in Franklin, Tennessee, a town near Nashville. She is a Christian and regularly discusses her faith in relation to her music, but has been critical of the judgmental nature of some in the Christian community. The Farro brothers cited differing attitudes on faith as contributing to their exit from Paramore.
Since 2008 she has been in a relationship with New Found Glory's lead guitarist Chad Gilbert.