'The Fosters,' 'CSI: Cyber' Actress Hayley Kiyoko on Embracing Her Musical Side

Hayley Kiyoko 2015 H
Topshelf Junior

While making her new EP, This Side Of Paradise, the musician and actress Hayley Kiyoko took part in a time-honored tradition: she headed to her parents' garage. Working there -- along with the producer and multi-instrumentalist James Flannigan -- she wrote and recorded the EP's five songs, drawing on the thick, bubbling textures of '80s pop and injecting them with modern flavor.

If you watch TV, you might've encountered Kiyoko in The Fosters or The Vampire Diaries; in 2015, she's also appearing in CSI: Cyber, which starts March 4, and the movie Jem and the Holograms. Somehow she manages to maintain a busy music career as well. This Side Of Paradise is her second solo EP.

"The outcome of this EP is worth so much more to me because it was really built from the ground up," says Kiyoko. She wrote a highly personal collection of songs. "I think every track of the EP is really a piece of me, of what I have felt growing up, from a child to a young adult," she says.

This Side Of Paradise is vibrant and full of details. The galloping "Feeding The Fire" is especially vigorous -- rubbery, galloping, hard-headed. "We didn't have anyone telling us how to make a record, we just did what we wanted," Kiyoko explains. The result? Energetic, high-stakes pop music.

Listen to This Side Of Paradise at Billboard.com.