"What I Need" is the fourth single and the third track off Hayley Kiyoko's debut album, Expectations. It was released on March 30, 2018 through Atlantic and Empire. It features American singer Kehlani and is praised for featuring two queer women singing about love. Despite not being released as a single at that time, it has peaked at number eight on the Official New Zealand Music Chart.
Rumors that Kehlani and Hayley were working on a song together sparked as early as September 2017 when pictures of the two hanging out together surfaced online and were fueled again in December 2017 when more pictures of the two together appeared. The two were also rumored to already have shot a music video as early as December 2017.
Hayley confirmed the collaboration on March 10, 2018 when she unveiled What I Need to be the third track off her album during the "#CountdownToExpectations" that took place on her social media profiles.
During her tumblr Q&A she revealed that this song was written in only four hours and also revealed that Kehlani wrote the hook and Hayley did the verses and the bridge.
- "I’m just obsessed with Kehlani. That’s what I’m obsessed with. If I could sing like her… We do sound really lovely together. I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is a really nice match.’ We wrote that song in four hours. I’ve been trying to work with her for a year and a half because I’m a hardcore fan. She is one of the first artists to really support me and be like, ‘Yo, you’re dope,’ and that means a lot. It was such a 50/50 collab. It was just so easy and flowed so well."
- - Hayley on working with Kehlani
- "That song was kind of in the same time during the ‘Curious’ situation. [It’s the] same girl! I was really frustrated, because it was like, ‘You need to know what you’re doing, please stop involving me in these games. You need to love yourself and know who you are before involving me in this situation. I can’t teach you how to love yourself.’"
- - Hayley on whether or not the track is connected to other songs
- Hayley Kiyoko as herself
- Kehlani as herself
- Sian Vilaire as Kehlani's aunt
- Tim Mikulecky as Truck Driver
- This song marks Kiyoko's very first studio collaboration.
- Moreover, this is the only song on Expectations to feature another singer.
- This song is about the same girl that also inspired "Curious" and "He'll Never Love You (HNLY)". Thus linking the three tracks together.
- All the speaking parts in the music video were improvised, the only things scripted were the scenes. Hayley, Kehlani and the other cast naturally improvised all the movements.
- Originally, Kehlani's aunt was yelling in Spanish and Kehlani replied why it would always be a novela with her to which her aunt replied that she did not even know what a novela was. However, that part did not make the cut.
- Kehlani and Hayley performed this song for the first time live at San Francisco Pride on June 24, 2018.
|March 30, 2018 • 48:37 • Atlantic • Empire|
|Released||Curious • Expectations (Overture) • Feelings • He'll Never Love You (HNLY) • Let It Be • Mercy/Gatekeeper • Molecules • Palm Dreams • Sleepover • Under the Blue/Take Me In • Wanna Be Missed • What I Need • xx|
|Unreleased||Blame Joy • Curious (Acoustic)|
|Hayley Kiyoko • Kehlani|