Halsey Talks Leading Fans on an AR Treasure Hunt Set to New Song ‘Darling’

Halsey has helped curate a first-of-its-kind treasure hunt in the metaverse in partnership with Verizon and FriendsWithYou.

Starting Saturday, the Grammy-nominated singer will launch the H1DD3N immersive installation, an ever-growing augmented-reality-powered treasure hunt that will admit fans who use their smartphones to scan QR codes on nearby signs in select Verizon 5G public spaces across New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami and Seattle. Upon entry into the AR treasure hunt, fans will explore larger-than-life art pieces, listen to Halsey’s track “Darling” from their recent album If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power, and potentially win the grand prize of Apple’s latest iPhone 13 Pro, which was revealed this week.

“I am so excited to be a part of this immersive AR experience with Verizon. FriendsWithYou created this incredible art for the platform to showcase the power of 5G, and our fans can experience this art and my new track ‘Darling’ and potentially win the newest Apple device,” Halsey exclusively tells Billboard. “When artists across numerous genres come together, the synergy can be so inspiring. I hope our fans enjoy what we’ve created with Verizon this upcoming weekend.”

For fans located outside the five cities, they can partake in the H1DD3N immersive treasure hunt online and create their own FriendsWithYou avatars.

“Darling” comes from Halsey’s most recent fourth studio album If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power, which was released Aug. 27 via Capitol Records. Executive produced by Grammy and Oscar winners Trent Reznor and Atticus RossIf I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Album Sales, Alternative Albums and Vinyl Albums charts. The set peaked at No. 2 on the all-genre Billboard 200 tally. Although “Darling” has not been released as a single, Halsey believes the song’s gentle nature encompasses the artist’s latest H1DD3N experience.

“My song ‘Darling’ is much softer and sweeter than the rest of the album,” she explains. “‘Darling’ is set to just acoustic guitar, whereas much of the album features industrial drums and ‘bigger’ sounds and instruments, so as soon as I saw the first renderings of the characters FriendsWithYou was creating, and how adorable they were, I knew ‘Darling’ would be the perfect song to exist in that world with them.”

“Adorable” isn’t the word Halsey would typically use to describe their art. In the spring, the Badlands singer transformed her sleep-paralysis-induced nightmares into an original “People Disappear Here” NFT art series. To go along with the release of her latest album in August, Halsey wrote an hourlong If I Can’t Have Love I Want Power IMAX film experience, which was directed by Colin Tilley and unpacks “the lifelong social labyrinth of sexuality and birth,” according to the trailer. The album artwork, which Halsey first unveiled at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, also depicts the tension of the Madonna-whore psychological complex of how women are perceived as either motherly figures whose bodies are vessels for childbearing or sexual beings. The pop superstar explained on Instagram how they believe both ideas “can co-exist peacefully and powerfully.”

“I’ve always had huge artistic ambitions,” says Halsey. “I still feel like some of the video and photo concepts I come up with now actually originated in my bedroom when I was 17. The difference is that now, I have the means to make my wildest creative dreams come true. I am so unbelievably grateful everyday to have reached the position in my career where I can have a huge idea and pull it off the way I want to.”

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