Bea Kristi is tired. She’s had a long day at school, and now she’s sat opposite me – clad in baggy brown cords, a comfy sweater, and silver jewellery – in Room 1 at The Grove Studios in west London, as she takes a break from rehearsing for her first ever gig, due to take place the next day. Bea, a singer-songwriter, is better known as Beabadoobee, and came to attention via her disarmingly simple, gentle love song “Coffee”, which attracted 300,000 YouTube views through one of those fan-upload accounts before she was even aware of it. Industry interest quickly followed, and she chose to sign with the Dirty Hit “family.”
It’s with Dirty Hit that she released her EP Patched Up last Friday (7 December). Taking the promise of “Coffee” and other early tracks like “Bobby” and “Home Alone”, Patched Up expands on Bea’s soft but warm aesthetic, and ends up sounding like how looking at a sunset out of your childhood bedroom window feels. With music this touching and emotionally real, Bea has resonated massively both in her own peer group of teens, and beyond, and she looks to have a massive 2019. It’s about time the world got acquainted with Beabadoobee, so here are the 11 things you need to know:
1) Her Filipina roots have influenced her musical style
Bea was born in Manila, in the Philippines, but grew up in London after moving to the UK with her parents aged three. Though she’s got lots of influences, she thinks that her music is “low-key similar” to “some of my mum’s OPM music – which is old Filipino music.”
2) Elsewhere, her tastes fall a bit more into the US rock and folk categories
“Most of the music I listen to is by people who are dead, or American,” she laughs. “Most of the artists I look up to are like, The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, Elliott Smith, Daniel Johnston.”
3) Kind of amazingly, Bea first picked up a guitar aged 17
“I was 17 when I started playing guitar, and I’m 18 now. I always wrote songs, but the first song I ever wrote on guitar was “Coffee,” she says. She is, however, a seasoned violinist, and feels like her experience has been a help and hindrance to her guitar-playing: “I learned the violin for seven years,” Bea tells me. “The thing is when you play the violin, you’re supposed to hold the neck quite tightly – even now, every time I play guitar, it feels like I’m holding a violin.”
4) Her inspiration for learning to play came from an unlikely place
When I ask who made her want to start making music, Bea tells me: “Kimya Dawson. Basically the Juno soundtrack was the one where I was like ‘ohh my god.’ Moldy Peaches and Kimya Dawson – that kind of battered down, rough sound.”
5) In fact, she loves movies so much that she’d like to make soundtracks in the future.
When quizzed on her favourite film, Bea has an immediate answer: “My favourite movie is Where The Wild Things Are – freaking Karen O, I love that soundtrack. I want to make a soundtrack like that one day. I like 80s films, Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles and all that.”
6) She was shocked when her track “Coffee” became such a success
“I thought it was a joke,” Bea deadpans. I didn’t know people were listening to it until someone commented on my Instagram post: “Hey you’re that “Coffee” girl!” and I was like “I don’t drink coffee?” And I searched up “Coffee” randomly and I saw it was like 300,000 views, like, “What, that’s so big for me!”
7) …Especially because it’s got such simple origins
I wondered what the inspiration for the song was, and Bea tells me, simply, “It was about my boyfriend Søren, because he has green eyes. It was about him – it’s the cringiest love song about me making coffee for him.” She continues, “I feel like I’ve developed a lot lyrically with the Patched Up EP, I spent so much time writing every song – every lyric is relatable to myself, and hopefully relatable to other people too.”
8) She also can’t believe the response she’s had from fans, who she also sees as her peers
As a keen Instagram user, Bea’s got a big following on the platform, and is always hearing from fans. “I can’t answer my DMs because it’s flooded, there’s so many amazing messages. Today for instance, my EP came out in Australia because obviously it was midnight there, and I’ve been flooded with messages about the EP and how amazing it was, and how much I’ve helped people through things – how when they were sad and then they listened to the EP and it made them happier. Hearing that makes me super happy, as cringe as that sounds.”
9) She’s proud to have kept her signature, stripped back vibe on her new release Patched Up
It was important to Bea to keep things authentic to her when going into the studio for Patched Up. “We had a drummer in for two of the songs, but it was hella simple drums. I kept that touch of simplicity, like ‘Yeah, let’s throw a little glockenspiel on there, but let’s not throw the whole thing at it,’” she says. “There’s this one song called “Dance with Me,” which I think is, like, gorgeous, and we added some orchestral parts. I was scared of the whole orchestra thing because I thought they were going to make me so different – but actually it matched my vibe, it just amplified the beauty of the melody of the songs.”
10) But she’s also excited to try new things, and there seem to be interesting projects to come
I’m curious as to what’s next, and Bea is already thinking ahead – there’s a lot to look forward to: “I’ve been writing for another EP already, it’s jokes. My plan is to continuously release, release, release. And after that hopefully album or something. And maybe a tour, maybe another music video for this EP actually, at the beginning of the year.”
11) Ultimately, she wants her music to tell you that it’s allll Gucci:
At the end of our interview, I ask Bea what it is that she hopes people will take away from her music. She thinks about it for a second, before telling me: “I always said that I make music for myself so I can get things off my chest, like organise my thoughts in my head and shit. But at the same time, the fact that I know that people are getting their thoughts organised when they listen to my music, or they feel better, equally makes me just as happy.
I want to make sure that people listening to my music all know everything is going to be fine: it’s all Gucci at the end. Even though it’s shit right now, it’s gonna be fine. I feel like there’s not a lot of music that explores subjects which are quite scary to talk about, like people don’t talk about scary feelings that are intimidating, but it’s okay to have intimidating feelings.
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