Beabadoobee has told Music Week that she intends to use her platform to help forge a more diverse and equal music industry.
On the eve of her second album Beatopia, due on July 15 via Dirty Hit, the Music Week cover star has spoken about her experiences in the business. Beabadoobee (real name Bea Laus) was born in Iloilo on the island of Panay in the Philippines, and moved to London aged three.
“Filipina girls telling me I’ve inspired them to pick up a guitar or that this music can be for them really means a lot to me,” she told Music Week. “I didn’t have that sort of representation growing up and so I very much want them to have it.”
The star, who performed at Glastonbury at the weekend, admitted that she had encountered stereotyping in the industry.
“I think maybe in the beginning,” she said. “It’s an inevitability, especially with POC musicians. But there are a lot of amazing Asian musicians coming up like Mxmtoon, Japanese Breakfast and so many more. It’s really lovely being part of that, but you don’t want it to be all that anybody talks about, like, ‘Oh, I’m a female musician, I’m an Asian musician,’ because that’s not what describes me as a person.”
Bebadoobee, however, called for more conversation across the business.
“That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk about it either, because the more normal it becomes, the more girls will learn and be inspired,” she said. “I do have a platform and it’s important to use it.”
“It’s so English not to talk about mental health, but those conversations are starting to happen,” she said. “Therapy is something that everyone should have. It’s taken years to find a good therapist, but I finally have one now. I feel that it’s important to talk about your feelings. To know where the anger comes from, know where the frustration comes from, and be able to leave that [behind].”
Beatopia is based on an imaginary world Beabadoobee dreamt up as a child and she said the album features her most personal, unfiltered work yet.
“With Fake It Flowers I was processing past trauma, and this record is more accepting, hopeful,” she explained. “I can’t think of anything I’d change. Right now, as an artist and as a person, it’s the most perfect representation of me.”
The singer also opened up about her close relationship with Dirty Hit and her label mates and past collaborators The 1975, who feature on the new record.
“Jamie [Oborne] is great and I always know I can speak to him, he listens to me, I trust him and that’s important,” she said. “It’s a great relationship. I am scared of major labels and what they might do. Being on an indie means they focus on me and my experience, so an indie label is a blessing for someone in my position and for me as a person.”
Laus co-wrote her Our Extended Play EP with The 1975 singer Matthew Healy and drummer George Daniel, who also produced it. She also wrote and sung with Healy on the Beatopia track Pictures Of Us.
“It’s always really lovely working with Matty, he’s a really great songwriter,” she said. “It was eye-opening. For me, it was learning to be open to ideas, that you can stand back with music and learn what other people want to do to your song. I began to feel like two heads are better than one.”
Beabadoobee has more than 10.5 million monthly Spotify listeners, 1.4 million followers on Instagram and over 750,000 on TikTok, where she also has 14.2m likes. The singer went viral in 2019 when Canadian rapper Powfu took a few lines from Coffee for his track Death Bed (Coffee For Your Head).To date, it has 1.25 billion streams on Spotify and the singer acknowledged the boost in our interview.
“I used to be a rather classic 19-year-old about it,” she said. “You know, ‘Oh my God, it sounds nothing like my music!’, but now I’ve fully accepted it as an amazing thing. It’s great that people are able to connect with that song. And it’s a great way for them to discover my music, and realise that I’ve got lots of different types of songs. It has only worked in my favour.”
PHOTO: Thomas Davies