QT (musician)

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QT performing in March 2015
QT performing in March 2015
Background information
Birth nameHayden Frances Dunham
Born (1988-06-16) June 16, 1988 (age 32)[1]
Austin, Texas, U.S.[2]
OriginNew York, U.S.
  • Singer
  • performance artist[3]
Years active2014–present
Associated acts

Hayden Frances Dunham (born June 16, 1988) is an American performance artist known for her musical project QT, an initialism for Quinn Thomas.[3][4] QT is a pop singer portrayed by Dunham who promotes and is the living embodiment of the semi-fictitious DrinkQT energy drink. Her debut single "Hey QT", produced by A. G. Cook and Sophie, was released in 2014.

Background and concept[edit]

A package with the DrinkQT energy drink

Dunham grew up in Austin, Texas and attended the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at NYU.[5] Before the QT project, Dunham had done work as a designer and artist.[3][6][7] She met British producer Sophie after the two had seen each other at various events. She found Cook, head of the PC Music record label, through his work online. Dunham originally wanted to do a song as a way to market a QT energy drink, and she asked the producers to repeat the name regularly.[8]

QT is, in effect, a virtual character. The concept drew comparisons to the 2002 science fiction film Simone and the virtual Japanese pop star Hatsune Miku.[3][9][10] The project includes DrinkQT, an "energy elixir" with a design by Kim Laughton.[11] The music and drink are intended to be two manifestations of the same product.[12] Both have been described as "fizzy" and "energetic", with Dunham stating that she wanted "to be able to talk about 'Hey QT' and have DrinkQT talk about 'Hey QT' and 'Hey QT' talk about DrinkQT."[13] The drink has been distributed at performances, and in May 2015 DrinkQT was made available for pre-order.[14] Journalist Sasha Geffen described it as tasting "like Red Bull, only a little more tart."[15] Distributing the drink was a source of friction with the Red Bull Music Academy's sponsorship of a PC Music show.[16]

"Hey QT"[edit]

On August 26, 2014, QT released her debut single "Hey QT" via XL Recordings.[17] The single's release was accompanied by a photo of QT with a blonde wig trimmed into a messy bob cut.[18][19] The promotional image was made by Diamond Wright, a team that includes PC Music musician Hannah Diamond.[20]

"Hey QT" is a dance-pop song composed in the key of F major, with a tempo of 129 beats per minute.[22][23] Its production uses synthesizer melodies and an irregular beat comprised of staccato snare hits.[22][24] It features a call and response hook of "Hey QT! Yeah?".[20] QT doesn’t actually sing herself on the track, instead à British singer filled in and her voice was shifted to a higher pitch,[22][25] and the song has a girlish, cute aesthetic.[26] She said that the lyrics describe a "feeling of sensing someone's presence even when they are not in the same physical space".[18] "Hey QT" includes a metanarrative about the song itself.[27]

The song was debuted at a Boiler Room show in Los Angeles promoting Hudson Mohawke's Chimes EP. A digital broadcast by Eric Wareheim opened the performance.[28] Dunham performed the song as QT, opening the act by sitting down and reading a fashion magazine while a voiceover endorsed the QT energy drink.[20] Dunham then lip synced "Hey QT" while appearing disinterested.[29]

Diplo premiered his remix of "Hey QT" on March 6, 2015 through Annie Mac's BBC Radio 1 show.[30] His reworking is more subdued, with a drop leading into the chorus.[31] The remix was made available as a free download on WeTransfer.[32]

Reaction to "Hey QT" was divided; many people responded with confusion or repulsion.[9] It received some acclaim from music critics, placing 84th on The Village Voice's 2014 Pazz & Jop critics' poll.[33] "Hey QT" was chosen as number 14 on Pitchfork Media's "100 Best Tracks of 2014".[25] Spin ranked the song 4th on its list of "The 101 Best Songs of 2014",[34] The Fader listed the song 3rd,[35] and Fact magazine placed "Hey QT" 37th on its year-end list.[36]

The music video for "Hey QT", directed by Bradley & Pablo, was released on March 25, 2015.[37] The video depicts QT developing the DrinkQT energy drink.[38] A laboratory measures her emotional state and distills it into the drink's formula.[12] The video features CGI animations of DrinkQT, which were simulated in RealFlow and rendered using 3ds Max.[39] It references Gap advertisements and includes product placement for Beats headphones.[40][41]


  1. ^ "Texas Birth Index, 1903-1997". FamilySearch. Retrieved June 20, 2018.
  2. ^ Dunham, Hayden. "Hayden Dunham CV" (PDF). SIGNAL. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 4, 2016. Retrieved April 24, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d Taylor, Trey (December 16, 2014). "Is QT the musical S1m0ne?". Dazed & Confused. Retrieved January 19, 2015.
  4. ^ Carley, Brennan (March 25, 2015). "The 'Hey QT' Video Is the Strangest, Bubbliest Thing You'll See All Year". Spin. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
  5. ^ Sullivan, Tavaner (November 8, 2011). "Austin native turns heads in NYC, Paris and London with unique necklace designs symbolic of her Southern roots". CultureMap Austin. Retrieved March 27, 2015.
  6. ^ Armstrong, Liz (September 27, 2011). "New Dust Is Full of Hair and Leather". Vice. Retrieved January 19, 2015.
  7. ^ Schwendener, Martha (April 18, 2014). "Hayden Dunham and Meriem Bennani: 'Paste'". New York Times: C27. Retrieved January 19, 2015.
  8. ^ Lea, Tom (September 9, 2014). "Hey QT! An interview with 2014's most love-her-or-hate-her pop star". Fact. Retrieved January 19, 2015.
  9. ^ a b Martin, Clive (September 12, 2014). "PC Music: Are They Really the Worst Thing Ever to Happen to Dance Music?". Vice. Retrieved January 19, 2015.
  10. ^ Frank, Alex (September 23, 2014). "A Rational Conversation: Is PC Music Pop Or Is It 'Pop'?" (Interview). Interviewed by Erick Ducker. National Public Radio. Retrieved January 19, 2015.
  11. ^ Jones, Charlie Robin (September 11, 2014). "PC Music's digital dreams". Dazed & Confused. 4: 178–183. Retrieved January 19, 2015.
  12. ^ a b "Hey QT". One Point Four. March 26, 2015. Retrieved March 30, 2015.
  13. ^ Stephens, Huw (March 25, 2015). "PC Music Interview". BBC Radio 1. Retrieved March 30, 2015.
  14. ^ "You can finally drink QT". Fact. May 12, 2015. Retrieved May 12, 2015.
  15. ^ Geffen, Sasha (March 30, 2015). "PC Music's Inverted Consumerism". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved March 30, 2015.
  16. ^ Zoladz, Lindsay (May 15, 2015). "The Enigmatic PC Music Is Ready for Real Life". Vulture. Retrieved May 18, 2015.
  17. ^ "Sophie and A. G. Cook are QT Announce Debut Single Hey QT". Pitchfork. August 29, 2014. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
  18. ^ a b Friedlander, Emilie (November 26, 2014). "QT Is The @Horse_Ebooks Of Music". The Fader. Retrieved January 19, 2015.
  19. ^ Frank, Alex (September 19, 2014). "A Visual Primer on PC Music, London's Weirdest New Subculture". Vogue. Retrieved January 19, 2015.
  20. ^ a b c Sherburne, Philip (September 17, 2014). "PC Music's Twisted Electronic Pop: A User's Manual". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved January 19, 2015.
  21. ^ Robinson, Peter (September 11, 2014). "'You become an arse overnight': the pitfalls of having a hit novelty single". The Guardian. Retrieved January 19, 2014.
  22. ^ a b c Adams, Gregory (August 26, 2014). "QT 'Hey QT'". Exclaim!. Retrieved January 19, 2015.
  23. ^ "QT — Hey QT [XL Recordings]". Beatport. August 26, 2014. Retrieved March 30, 2015.
  24. ^ Fallon, Patric (August 26, 2014). "QT: 'Hey QT'". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved January 19, 2015.
  25. ^ a b Mapes, Jillian (September 30, 2014). "The Best Tracks of 2014". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
  26. ^ Pearl, Max; Lhooq, Michelle (January 8, 2015). "PC Music is Post-Internet Art". Vice. Archived from the original on January 10, 2015. Retrieved January 19, 2015.
  27. ^ MacNeill, Kyle (August 29, 2014). "Tracks: QT, Death From Above 1979 & More". DIY. Retrieved January 19, 2015.
  28. ^ Beauchemin, Molly (September 9, 2014). "Sophie and QT Perform Boiler Room Sets: Video". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved January 19, 2015.
  29. ^ Weiss, Dan (December 17, 2014). "Trend of the Year: How PC Music Chewed Up Pop Conventions". Spin. Retrieved January 19, 2015.
  30. ^ Milton, Jamie (March 11, 2015). "Diplo shares edit of QT's 'Hey QT'". DIY. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
  31. ^ Rettig, James (March 11, 2015). "QT – 'Hey QT (Diplo Remix)'". Stereogum. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
  32. ^ Harrison, Angus (March 25, 2015). "The Video For 'Hey QT' is the Dystopian Energy Drink Commercial We've All Been Waiting For". Vice. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
  33. ^ "The Village Voice's 42nd Pazz & Jop Music Critics' Poll: The Last Word on the Year in Music". The Village Voice. Retrieved February 15, 2015.
  34. ^ "The 101 Best Songs of 2014". Spin. December 8, 2014. Retrieved January 19, 2015.
  35. ^ McDermott, Patrick D. (December 9, 2014). "The FADER's 116 Best Tracks Of 2014". The Fader. Retrieved January 19, 2015.
  36. ^ "The 50 best tracks of 2014". Fact. December 11, 2014. Retrieved March 21, 2015.
  37. ^ "pc music drop hey qt video and spread happiness". i-D. March 26, 2015. Retrieved March 26, 2015.
  38. ^ Gordon, Jeremy (March 25, 2015). "QT Shares 'Hey QT' Video". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
  39. ^ Mzhavanadze, Beso (March 26, 2015). "QT - Making Of Video". Vimeo. Retrieved March 27, 2015.
  40. ^ "Watch QT's virtual reality advert-video for 'Hey QT'". Fact. March 25, 2015. Retrieved March 25, 2015.
  41. ^ Milton, Jamie (March 25, 2015). "QT unveils elixir-fuelled video for 'Hey QT'". DIY. Retrieved March 25, 2015.

External links[edit]