Bea-ing Baebadoobee

Photography:
Yis Kid
Styling:
Grace Joel
Words:
Cordelia Speed

A quick Google search of Beabadoobee will tell the story of a young woman going from singing in her underpants in her bedroom to selling out world tours practically overnight. The funny thing about Bea Kristi is that she is just as astounded by the dream-like sequence that has been her past few years as we are. Dialling into a zoom call in-between rehearsals at her studio, Bea is all giggles as we catch up on everything from writing her most introspective and raw record to date, Fake It Flowers, to embracing our own immaturities. The life of this bedroom-pop-turned-international-rockstar is anything but boring, but she assures us she still finds time for her bedroom boogie sessions.

Paula Canovas Del Vas 3D coat, Gucci socks & shoes

Christopher Kane dress, Mimi Wade T-shirt, Gucci socks, Paula Canovas Del Vas shoes

Cordelia Speed: Hey Bea! How are you?
Beabadoobee: I’m good, I’m just in the studio rehearsing!
CS: I was really struck by the maturity of your new record Fake It Flowers. It’s an exceptionally honest and refreshingly open body of work. Was it difficult allowing yourself to be so vulnerable on this album?
B: Definitely. I think it’s a weird thing because obviously I wanna be super open about what I write about and it’s kinda to do with my mental health. It helps me to get things off my chest but at the same time I always forget how much people are going to listen to it and how much people are gonna know about me! It’s a conflicting one but I think over these past few weeks I’ve been trying to think about it much more and if at least one person gets a lyric in the album or says it’s relatable to their situation or it helps them in some way, that makes everything so much more worth it.
CS: It’s that willingness to spill your feelings onto the page and to let your listeners in that makes us feel so connected to you and your music. How does it feel knowing that so many young girls and women are listening to your work and feeling understood by it?
B: It honestly makes me really happy as a person. Growing up I never really had a girl that looked like me that played in a band who I could look up to and I wanna be that for at least one girl, you know? I made this album for girls to rock out to in their bedrooms in their underpants. I do this thing that I tell everyone: every time I feel shit, I dance in the mirror in my underpants to an album I love and I want Fake It Flowers to be that album.
CS: I find the way in which you unpack your past traumas through music really inspiring and I think it inspires a lot of others to do the same. Do you find song-writing to be a cathartic process?
B: I honestly think it benefits me and that it makes me feel better about myself. It makes me organise the way I think and it helps me get things off my chest. I feel like music is a bit like therapy and that’s kind of how I started writing in the first place. I talk about it on the album, to kind of distract myself from all the bad things that were happening in my life and then I found music and it was like a positive and healthy distraction from all that stuff.

Coach blouse

Coach x Basquiat trench coat

Coach denim shirt dress & Coach x Basquiat bag

CS: Fake It Flowers is in your own words a “female record” and listening to it as a woman almost feels like you’ve entered the familiar space of your childhood bedroom where you’re safe to cry and dance and feel. I wondered how it feels and what it’s like to be a 20-year-old female working in the music industry? It seems to be a pretty competitive and complicated sphere.
B: Honestly, it’s cool being a girl and feeling empowered and wanting to empower other women, but it also kind of fucking sucks I think it’s important for someone who has a position like mine, even though it’s not the biggest platform, it is a platform and it’s a platform to kind of speak what I feel and say my opinions and say what I believe in! Especially though music, if I can encourage girls to play guitars, if I can encourage girls to be loud and to know it’s okay to be a bitch, it’s okay to be annoying, it’s okay to whine when you’re sad, I’m gonna do it. There’s a lot of hate in the industry on social media, especially when it comes to girls. Girls shouldn’t bring other girls down. I just want people to kind of understand that this record I made specifically for girls like me, because at the end of the day I’m a 20-year-old woman, I’m still super immature, still super dumb, I don’t know who I am and this record is vulnerable and so are other girls out there that I hope to inspire in some way.
CS: Speaking of complicated spheres, how was school? I’ve read that you were one of the few Filipino students in a West London all-girls school.
B: There were a few Filipino students and it was like you were either in the “Asian Squad” and liked all of the same things or in the popular group and I didn’t fit into both because I liked different things and I looked different. I thankfully found an amazing group of friends who helped me accept myself and it was really conflicting because I look back at it now and I cringe because I’m like ‘why was I ever embarrassed about the way I look, or where I came from?’ The fact that I was Asian – why was that even a thing? But you know, sometimes I think it’s inevitable. I moved here when I was three and I went back and forth from the Philippines to London and it took some time to grow into my skin – I feel like I’m still growing into my skin! But you know, culturally I feel much more open about where I’ve come from and proud of being a Filipino woman in this industry with not a lot of Asian women.
CS: You may be young, but you speak about your experiences with such maturity, which shines through your music. There is a certain 90s nostalgia about your work, which throws us back to a time before you were even born. I wondered, do you feel connected to the music scene of the 90s and who are your biggest musical inspirations?
B: Oh yeah, definitely! Growing up, my mum used to play a lot of bands like The Cranberries, The Sundays, The Cardigans, Alanis Morissette and Suzanne Vega in my childhood and I kind of rediscovered them during the writing process and recording process of Fake It Flowers. Those women specifically inspired this record and in general, coming up towards my second EP and third EP when I was kind of getting into sonically louder, bigger music, I was getting into Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine, The Smashing Pumpkins and Dinosaur Jr. I was getting so inspired by all these bands from that time and I think it’s honestly like, you know when something feels so nostalgic it feels like a warm blanket? Listening to Alanis Morissette was so comforting, it reminded me of when I was a kid and being in the background and it felt like a warm blanket, and I wanted my music to have that vibe and to give that feeling to people.

Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello Latex dress, chain & shoes, Gucci socks, vintage T-shirt

Gucci blouse, knitted vest, skirt, shoes & socks

CS: And with the current situation with the global pandemic – are you missing gigs and touring? How’s it been?
B: It was weird, I was supposed to go on tour for the majority of this year and if I’m being completely honest, I don’t think I was ready to go on tour this year or to be away for so long. I had just come back from three consecutive tours and I feel like despite Coronavirus being the most horrible thing, I honestly think being locked down with my boyfriend helped me fix my head a bit. All of this time kind of just let me sit and appreciate everything that has happened to me so far and helped me rebuild relationships I lost a bit on tour and you know, it just got me back on my feet and especially helped me perfect the aesthetic vision of Fake It Flowers, like what I wanted it to look like. My boyfriend is my main collaborator with my music videos and it was amazing living with him because we were just like “and then we could do this, and then we could do this!” and now this whole campaign is so much more special knowing that I’ve had so much time to perfect it. It’s my baby, you know?
CS: Can you tell me anything about what you’ll be working on next?
B: Well, I’ve finished a little thing for after the album already and I can’t wait for that to come out! I feel like I’m becoming more open in terms of musical ideas, people’s opinions and what they want to add to my music and I feel like that really helps growth for an artist. I think specifically for Fake It Flowers I wanted to focus on “this is me!”, all of the songs are written in my bedroom, I wanted an album like that. I feel like for all of the next stuff I want to get my band more involved, I want to get producers more involved and I’m just excited to see what I can make in the future.

Clio Peppiat top, Mimi Wade skirt, Gucci socks & shoes, Bea’s own jewellery

Mimi Wade dress, Gucci socks

Gucci blouse, knitted vest, skirt, shoes & socks

Photography: Yis Kid
Stylist: Grace Joel
Makeup: Takenaka using patmcgrathlabs
Hair: Moe Mukai
Model: Beadbadoobee
Photo assistant: Polish Creator
Styling assistant: Jemima Magner 
Studio: Cre8 Studio
Interview: Cordelia Speed
Download your copy of issue 12 here
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