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'I Love Being in a Band.'
Hayley Williams of Paramore Sings the Praises of Her Relationships

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Attention Wal-Mart shoppers: When she's not on tour with her Nashville-based band mates, Paramore lead singer Hayley Williams may be in the next aisle scoping out some bargains.

But she has precious little time for such pleasures now. In addition to plugging "The Final Riot!," a CD/DVD concert and documentary to be released Tuesday, the band is busy promoting "Decode," the lead single from the soundtrack to "Twilight." Like many teenage girls, 19-year-old Williams loves the Stephenie Meyer-penned book upon which the movie is based, but if she is friendly with any vampires, she's keeping that to herself.

-- Melinda Newman

What direction were you given when they asked you to write "Decode"?

I flew out [to L.A.] and met Catherine [Hardwicke], the director. I was explaining to her that I thought we had some stuff that would really fit the film and I would love to go back and write to it. We kinda fought tooth and nail to make sure we could be part of the soundtrack. . . . I saw a couple clips. They wouldn't show me anything too important. [Laughs.]

You're roughly the same age as "Twilight" protagonist Bella. What do you have in common with her?

The way she goes about her relationship with Edward [in] the beginning [is] very intense, and there's clearly a lot of tension in the first half of "Twilight." I've felt that way in relationships with not only dudes, but friendships. Those extremes she kind of goes through, the complicated part of what can seem to be a really simple relationship, I understand that because of things I've been through [like] my parents being divorced; her parents are divorced in the book as well.

"The Final Riot!" includes live footage. How have you grown over the last few years as a performer?

The first six to eight months [of touring], we really had to win over a lot of crowds, and it took a lot of shows where we just left the stage feeling like "Oh my gosh, we were so embarrassing. None of the kids care about us." . . . We had to prove ourselves and that all makes it really worth it when you get to where you want to be. At this point, we've exceeded every real goal that we've made for ourselves. We don't really know where we're going next, and that makes it even more exciting.

You're only 19. How does that affect your mind when you've already accomplished more than you ever thought you could?

(Long pause) Well, it just makes me really excited and hopeful about our future. . . . We don't have any limits, we don't have boundaries. If this all ended today and we sold 10,000 records of the next album and that was it, I would just be like "Man, this is awesome." We've done everything we ever imagined.

Do you ever think, "I'm going to chuck it and go to college?"

Definitely not, because I've become aware that music is the one thing that I know I can do. I've definitely thought about, when we're off, trying to take a cosmetology course or something like that. I know I would just be awful at college and I'm just thankful that I don't have to go. [Laughs.]

Do you see a solo record in your future?

Ooooh. I don't know about that. I love being in a band. I can't see myself singing alone and just being Hayley, you know. That would feel so weird. [Laughs.]

What do you do on a rare day off? I have an image of you and Taylor Swift swapping war stories in Nashville.

I do know Taylor, not extremely well. She's really cool. I'm learning how to sew right now. That's pretty fun. To be honest, Wal-Mart has really cool fabric and it's really cheap. Other than that, I hang out with friends and family. I go to Starbucks, like any other kid.

How does it make you feel to know there's scores of girls who are going "I can do that" because they see you rocking out?

Man, it's just going to be so weird if there's a girl-fronted band in 10 years and I'm older and they're freaking blowing up and they're like, "Yeah, we used to listen to Paramore; that's why we started a band." I'm just going to be like "WHAT!?!"

What's the hardest part about being on the tour bus with three boys?

Just trying to figure out when I should take my own time to be a chick. . . . I have a hard time making a lot of friends that are girls, to be honest. Guys are just more relaxed and wacky, and I tend to relate to that better. The dudes in the band are just funny and crazy. I wouldn't trade that to be in an all-girl band if someone had a gun to my head.

So no Bangles or Go-Gos for you.

No way! Belinda Carlisle, maybe.

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