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Beatrice Eli Is not the First Lesbian who Makes Music

And she'll most probably leave P3 Guld tonight as a winner of some sort.

One of Sweden’s biggest music awards, P3 Guld, is taking place tonight in Gothenburg. Nominated in two categories – pop and newcomer – is Beatrice Eli. Together with girlfriend Silvana Imam who’s also nominated in two (other categories) the couple will most probably leave the gala as winners. I caught up with Beatrice a couple of months ago when “Girls” and “Moment of Clarity” were the only two songs going through my mind (they still are) taken from her grand slam debut album Die Another Day.


NOISEY: It took you three years to finish up this record, right?
Beatrice Eli: Mm… more like two very intense years. Or three. Depends on how you count. Now it’s out, it must feel pretty alright? You’re nominated as newcomer of the year at P3 Guld and all.
Yeah. I was about to leak some of the songs on the internet, like on Soundcloud. I always want to share my songs when I'm done. But deep down I believe in some sort of album format, you know. Next album won’t take three years though. Not even two.

Who did you collaborate with on this record?
I’ve worked a lot with producer Saska Becker. Some of the tracks are more of him and vice versa. He’s an amazing producer, the sound would have been totally different if he hadn’t been a part of the process. Then again, it would have been [different] if I hadn’t done my part, too.

Journalists have kept asking about what your parents think about your lyrics and lifestyle. How did they react when the album finally came out?
Haha, they took it really cool. I texted them the day it got out. My dad was like “I don’t understand why they [journalists] wonder about what we think of your ‘masturbation-lyrics‘. Everyone masturbates!” But you gotta understand that it’s a weird thing for a parent to read interviews about their kid on what he or she thinks about sex, drugs and partying. I’ve tried to expose them to my lifestyle, little by little, with the help of interviews. And they’re great, they really support what I do, artistically and musically.


So what did they say when you told them that you were gay?
I thought… I had this big scenario build up inside my mind, of how it would go. Then… It sort of got big – but that’s nothing I want to talk about. Things are fine now and that’s all that matters.

What’s your opinion on the music industry in Sweden?
People are saying that there are many great female artists about right now, but I think we’ve always been here, just not been given the same opportunities. It’s like the industry and media finally have accepted that there can be more than one successful woman at a time. We’re getting more radio time and bigger influence on the live scene. I’ve been out there and I’ve seen that we can all work and exist at the same time.

Do you believe music can have a part in politics?
I think it’s important to try and make a difference with music, sure. Although sometimes it’s more preaching for the choir, you know. None of my lyrics were ever meant to be political. I’ve done a pop record, nothing else. But the fact that I’m a lesbian has become very political for some reason. Which I honestly don’t get, because it’s like one song on the record, "Party in my Pants" – that’s sexual. Maybe people have very little sex, what do I know.

Still, "Party in my Pants" is more sex education than I got during my whole time in grad school.
[Laughs] Blah, it’s just that sometimes I get so fed up of all this talk about me being a lesbian. It has nothing to do with the music I make. But on the other hand I’m like, “Hell, I’m proud to be a lesbian! It’s the best price in life and I have no problem talking about it”. If people want to focus on it, it’s okay. It’s not like I’m the first lesbian making music. For some reason I got this medial advantage right now, so I’m going to use it. I’ve seen how much it can mean to others – especially young people. It can be hard for heterosexuals to really understand how it feels as gay and not be represented anywhere. That’s way I really wanted "Girls" to be a huge hit, not a fucking underground/club/gay song. I wanted to integrate it in the “normal” hetero world of music.

And it has, hasn’t it? Thanks Beatrice, and good luck tonight.