Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Beabadoobee talks Fake It Flowers, Spotify and lockdown creativity | Music Ally

“It’s so hard to stay positive in a time like this, but it’s about finding the little things. Once this is all over, there’s going to be the Summer of Love, and festivals, and touch. I can’t wait!”

Beatrice Kristi Laus – aka Beabadoobee – is looking for the silver linings in the Covid-19 pandemic, although she’s not dodging the fact that it’s a “complete shitshow”.

Another silver lining: lockdown has given her the time and space to fully concentrate on the finishing touches for her debut album ‘Fake It Flowers‘, which comes out in October. “I’ve been given so much time to perfect the aesthetic,” she tells Music Ally.

Part of that aesthetic will be a print zine gathering together artwork, Polaroid photos and stories (plus a CD) that will be offered to her top listeners on Spotify, as part of a wider partnership with the streaming service.

Spotify has made Beabadoobee the latest musician to be backed by its ‘Radar’ emerging artists scheme – the third UK artist after Young T & Bugsey and Vistas to be chosen.

Besides the zine, there’ll be a track-by-track guide to the album using Spotify’s ‘Storylines‘ feature; prominent spots on the streaming service’s flagship playlists; and promotion including ‘out of home’ advertising.

Spotify isn’t the first streaming service to splash its cash on Beabadoobee billboards either: Amazon Music and YouTube Music have both given her that treatment this month already.

She’s excited about ‘Radar’. “Spotify is my go-to streaming service when it comes to finding music. I find all my favourite bands from there, that inspired the album. I found Pavement on there, I found Sonic Youth on there,” she says.

“I’ve always loved listening to music, and now it’s definitely listening to music as enjoyment, but also for inspiration. It’s kinda like my homework.”

“I have a private Spotify account, and for every EP I make, and for ‘Fake It Flowers’, I make a playlist with all the songs that inspire me to write this new record. I constantly add to it every day, when I’m recording or when I find a new song. It’s really easy being a 20 year-old in this day and age, in terms of finding new music.”

The way a lot of people have been finding Beabadoobee this summer is through ‘death bed (coffee for your head)’, a track by Powfu ft. Beabadoobee that’s been streamed 675m times on Spotify alone, and more than 190m times on YouTube.

It’s not a traditional duet. Canadian artist Powfu (aka Isaiah Faber) sampled Beabadoobee’s track ‘Coffee’ – her first ever release in 2017, and then asked her permission to release it commercially.

“I really appreciate its existence, and being there and helping people discover my other music, and Powfu’s music. Listening to that song, it’s so strange that the first song I’d ever written is sampled in a song. It’s crazy and terrifying, the coolest thing!” she says.

Beabadoobee is signed to Dirty Hit Records – of The 1975 fame – and says that the company’s approach, as well as the fact that ‘death bed’ was someone else sampling her song, means she’s not under pressure to chase more hits in that style.

“I’m lucky to be in the position, signed to Dirty Hit, to just have complete freedom with what I make creatively. That goes down to the way my music sounds, the way I dress. Everything is very me,” she says.

“Living in this day and society, if you look at it through positive eyes, you are your own boss, you can do whatever you want, and you don’t need anyone to tell you what to do.”

Besides perfecting ‘Fake It Flowers’ how has the Covid-19 lockdown been for Beabadoobee? She has relished the chance to spend time with her family and boyfriend, while navigating the ups and downs of creating music in isolation.

“At the beginning of Covid, I wrote so fucking much! I’ve basically finished and written the next release after ‘Fake-It Flowers’ – just something small – but currently I’m going through a really bad writer’s block. At times it’s like, my god, I can’t do this any more, I can’t write anything!” she says.

“But sometimes you have to live in your writer’s block to get over it. During Covid, I spent all this time to appreciate everything that’s happened in my career, and to perfect ‘Fake It Flowers’ and make it my baby, and make the aesthetic perfect in my eyes. Not a lot of artists have [pre-Covid] this time to live in their album.”

Beabadoobee had been scheduled to spend most of 2020 on tour, before Covid-19 shut down the live music industry. She’s now got a tour scheduled for September 2021 though.

“It’s a good time to be: holy fuck, I need to play live, and I don’t even care if I sound good!” she says. “I can’t wait to play live. The thing I love about music is making it and performing it, and that’s what I’ve been missing out on.”

She has done some livestreams during lockdown, which were a positive if weird experience.

“I still get the butterflies you get before going on stage. I know people who’ve said they hated it, but I genuinely really liked it. It sucked because I couldn’t do it with my band, but… it reminds me of the time when I used Instagram to show my music and do livestreams, and only 10 people used to watch.”

Beabadoobee enjoyed the spontaneous, raw nature of livestreaming – “Mistakes are charming, and it shows you. I’m definitely the kind of person to fuck up loads!” – and she thinks that the modern streaming world offers a similar lack of pressure when it comes to how music should be released.

“If you have a six-song [EP]? Yeah, put it out. If you’re really passionate about something, there’s no rigid schedule. No ‘you can’t release this, you have to release it during this time’. I’m excited for everything.”

Spotify’s ‘Radar’ campaign kicks off today, with a couple more singles to come before ‘Fake It Flowers’ comes out on 16 October.

“Every song is so personal to my life. [Writing music] really helps my mental health: to be mentally okay. I really wanted to create this world, and what it’s like being a teenage girl, and growing up and going through shit that everyone else goes through, and speaking and talking about it from my perspective,” she says. “I’ve made this album essentially for girls like me.”

Stuart Dredge

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