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In Conversation: Baby Queen - I wouldnt be alive without the drive to succeed

by Shannon Garner. Published Mon 10 May 2021 18:18, last updated: 11/05/21

We enjoyed a Zoom chat with pop’s new anti-hero, Baby Queen, who has been tipped by many as the artist to watch in 2021.

Having burst into the pop sphere barely a year ago, the South African-born singer, real name Arabella (Bella) Latham, has struck a chord with her online fanbase and continues to do so.

Growing up in Durban, a small town in South Africa, Bella felt totally isolated from what she saw as the glitz and glamour of the music industry and touched on the cultural shock of moving to London. She said: “It was the biggest cultural shock ever and I don’t recommend it for the faint-hearted.

“This is the hardest city in the world to survive in, make money in, and to keep your head above water in, and being in a ruthless cut-throat industry doesn’t make it any easier.

“Coming from a more relaxed place, you realise that when you’re in the UK, it’s every man for himself and you have to have your own back.

“It is really intense but I do feel like London is now my home.”

Bella has already racked up support from some of the biggest names in the industry like Courtney Love, who took to her Instagram to proclaim her love for the upcoming artist back in January. Bella told us: “What’s nuts to me is that Courtney has become a really good friend of mine now.

“There are still moments when we are hanging out where I’m like whoa because it’s totally surreal.

“It means a lot to have support from people like her, whose taste I respect so deeply, and the fact that she likes my music is definitely going to my ego.”

Not only has Bella had significant praise from Courtney Love, but other people in that sea of support consist of Jodie Comer, Mollie King, Olivia Rodrigo, and Greg James.

For the incredible amount of buzz Baby Queen has received, the frustration of a global pandemic curtailing the chance to play live shows has her more excited for the return of live music. She said: “I think performing is the most incredible feeling.

“It’s one of the times I find a true sense of freedom without having to get wasted so I am looking forward to getting back to doing that.

“Part of being an artist is touring and I am yet to have that, I think it will enrich the experience of being an artist.

“I haven’t met any of my fans properly, I wish I was exaggerating there, but I can’t wait for the chance to meet people and actually socialise with them when on the road.”

With the hopes of life returning to normal pretty soon, Bella also commented on her predictions for the industry moving forward. She said: “I don’t despair for the state of the industry but I don’t feel stunning about it either.

“I think that there’s so much of it now that is lead by social media and I feel like the best time to be a musician was the 90s.

“That’s when people were making full records and the public were buying them on vinyl or CDs whereas now most things are just streamed on online services, the artist doesn’t get much out of that.

“There is too much of the industry that is social media-based now and there is less importance on the music which I hate.

“I think that we are only going to be heading more and more away from the importance of the music and more towards everything else.

“I definitely don’t despair but who knows what to expect anymore.”

Already racking up the accolades, Bella has dropped a steady slew of singles that place her at the forefront of a musical movement and have landed her slots on many of the UK’s biggest festival line-ups.

Set to play Leeds/Reading, Boardmasters, and Liverpool Sound City, Bella commented on these great opportunities. She said: “Being on so many festival lineups this year is so exciting but also really nerve-wracking.

“I think the shows and the stages are going to be a lot bigger than they would’ve been had we not been in lockdown.

“I am grateful for the chance to play all these shows, granted everything surrounding the pandemic settles in time, but I am going to walk out screaming at the amount of people there will be.”

The pop alter ego also described the reason for releasing her music under the Baby Queen moniker rather than using her real name. She said: “My real name felt wrong which is a weird thing to say but when I closed my eyes and listened to just the sound, the sound wasn’t asking for my real name.

“It was asking for something purple, light purple to be exact and my real name didn’t feel right.

“I like the music to be the focal point and the thing that everything else is formed from so when I found Baby Queen in a sentence of a lyric book, it felt perfect and I knew I had to have it.”

For Bella, it has proven to be important for the music she makes to be fiercely honest and unflinchingly direct. Bella commented: “I feel like it’s difficult to create a Baby Queen song without that intense aspect of honesty.

“I feel like my instinct is to take something disturbing and painful and make it sound really beautiful and happy.

“I decided to chase that theme in all of my songwriting and now push the honesty to the point that it’s shocking and they’re the songs that people have had the best reactions to.

“I am so proud of the opening lyrics in my song ‘These Drugs’ because it has that shock factor and makes people question if I actually said what I just said.

“It’s very hard-hitting and I like the idea of making people feel uncomfortable in that moment with how raw the lyrics are.”

Bella exclusively revealed that she’s working on her debut album and that there will be more music very soon.


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