When West London alt-pop prodigy Beabadoobee began posting tracks online it was more a way to pass the time, a means to test herself and her abilities. She didn’t anticipate what followed: countless million streams, online fandom, and a record deal with Dirty Hit.
Sitting down with Clash outside our studio, she’s endearingly charming, incredibly young. Still a teen, she takes time out from studying for her A Levels for the shoot, desperately reining in her creativity to avoid disrupting her revision schedule. She starts to laughs, and says: “It’s like my guitar is calling my name, saying: ‘Play me!’ And my books are like, ‘Revise, bitch!’”
Bursting with effervescent energy, Beabadoobee is a torrent of enthusiasm. While her opening EP contained some folk moments, the follow-up was a grunge haven. Stephen Malkmus and Moldy Peaches are her icons, she explains, while she’s also got a Daniel Johnston tattoo.
Her work comes from a highly personal place, and right from the start she displayed incredible imagination. “I do it mostly for myself to organise my thoughts,” she explains, “and I guess by doing that people relate to it.”
With a global audience following her and Khalid shouting her out on Twitter, beabadoobee has struck a chord with millions. “I never really think about how many people listen to my music because when I do it just freaks me out,” she says, wrinkling her nose. “But then, I think making music makes me feel so much more confident, because it made me know who I want to be and what I want to sound like. It makes me feel so much more sure of myself.”
The past 18 months have seen Beabadoobee emerge blinking into the light. Once so shy she had to get another girl at school to perform her song for a talent contest, she’s now nailed high profile headline shows.
“People have this thing about me that I’m, like, confident. And I’m like. ‘Hmmm…’” she says, shrugging her shoulders. “I guess I’m sure of myself: what I want, what I sound like, what I want to wear. But that doesn’t mean I’m necessarily confident… I’m awkward as fuck!”
WHAT: Raw, lo-fi pop with a grunge streak and viral capabilities
WHERE: West London
GET 3 SONGS: ‘Disappear’, ‘Coffee’, ‘Apple Cider’
FACT: Beabadoobee wrote her first song at the age of seven - it was about being chased by a squirrel.
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'Space Cadet' EP is out now.
Words: Robin Murray
Photography: Sophie Mayanne
Fashion: Zarina Shukri
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