In The Spotlight // BABY QUEEN
Following the release of our ‘Ones To Watch’ list for 2021, ‘In The Spotlight’ offers the chance to get to know our picks more intimately and find out why we fell in love with them.
You’ve heard about the artists that we’re most excited for this year. Now, get ready to hear from the artists themselves as we shine a spotlight on their personality, the year just past, and their most anticipated musical artists. This week, we catch up with the South African-born London-based Baby Queen – aka Bella Latham – who has taken the pop music scene by storm. Her debut EP, Medicine, released in November last year, was a true breakthrough for the “anti-pop” star. With an unabashed honesty and an empirical approach to her songwriting, Baby Queen effortlessly provided a raw snapshot of Gen Z’s complexity and anxieties on Medicine. Painting it with kaleidoscopic splashes of pop styles and diverse aesthetics, she created a palatable sonic palette that cemented her unique voice in pop music. As she kicks off 2021 with the release of her new single Raw Thoughts, now’s the perfect time to hear from one of the most promising new talents.
What’s integral to the work of an artist?
For me, the most important part of doing this job is having a good work ethic. I think to create art, I need to be able to allow myself to experience the highest highs in life as well as the lowest lows, but there’s no point if I can’t do that functionally. Looking after my health (especially my mental health) has become so important to me, because it’s the only way I know I can be creative whilst still delivering what I need to every day.
Are there any behind-the-scenes stories of recording your Medicine EP that you can share with us?
This EP was actually recorded quite unusually because when we were ready to put vocals on a lot of the demos, we went into that first national lockdown. The vocals of Medicine, Want Me and Online Dating were literally all recorded in my bedroom in an empty cardboard box that I cut the bottom out of to make a little sound cave. It was the most ridiculous experience. All throughout that first lockdown, my family would be like “where’s Bella?” and it would be like “oh she’s definitely in the box.”
How would you describe the project to someone at a dinner party that’s never heard of you?
I guess I would tell them that it’s pop music but with a focus on the lyric. It’s pop music for people who appreciate depth in words and ideas. I’d also probably say it’s really happy sounding music for really sad people. I like anti-pop as a word; or like… pop music with a point… I don’t know. I’d probably just play them songs. I’m sadly that person at a dinner party.
What advice would you give to your pre-lockdown self?
Focus, create as much as you can, don’t skip your therapy sessions, watch less television, write more, read more, get out of bed, go outside, don’t smoke so much weed, stop ordering deliveroo, make a list of everything you want to do at the end of this and work for it. You’ll never have time like this again so don’t waste it.
How would you sum up your 2020 in one sentence?
2020 was the weirdest year of my life.
Name one thing you can’t imagine your life without.
Writing… not necessarily music, just ideas.
What is the most useless talent you have?
I can open bottles with my teeth; which I actually think is pretty useful.
What are your hopes and dreams for 2021?
I really just want to stay happy and stable so I can do my job properly and create the music that my listeners deserve. There are so many incredible things to be grateful for and I don’t want to waste my life being depressed – it’s so boring!
Which artists excite you the most this year?
I’m so excited by female artists in the industry right now… Phoebe Green, Arlo Parks, Holly Humberstone, Olivia Rodrigo.
And finally, what does your music say about you?
I use humour to deal with trauma…lol.