Hayley Williams is one of few women in the contemporary rock genre who can claim national prominence. Much of that is due to Paramore's recent pop hit "Ain't It Fun," but Williams and pals have been slowly building an impressive discography and ravenous following since 2004.
In a recent Billboard interview, the singer discussed the "female" label in alternative music.
"I've always been like, 'I don't want you to call Paramore a female-fronted band. I just want to be a band,'" Williams said. "But I make the distinction now because I grew up not really placing much value on the strong women I was listening to."
She then listed the women who inspired her as a young musician.
"I love Debbie Harry and Siouxsie Sioux," Williams said. "I grew up listening to The Distillers, so Brody Dalle was a hero. Girl groups are really important to me, but the Shangri-Las especially. As far as more current acts: Joy Williams, Gwen [Stefani] and Beyoncé. I am always watching and trying to learn from them — they're smart and calculated, but still free."
Williams also discussed the Paramore-themed cruise — Parahoy! — that took place this spring.
"I swear I recognized everyone in the front of the crowd — like I remembered a time we had hung out at Denny's after a show or at the merch table," Williams said. "It just felt like family: It was everything you start a band for in the first place. I was really thankful and humbled and geeked out. And there was an open bar and free ice cream and pizza all the time. I loved it."
Asked about the impact of "Ain't It Fun," Williams has big aspirations for its footprint.
"If young kids listening to the radio hear guitars and decide to pick up one — in five or 10 years, they're the ones changing the world," she said.