Bebe Rexha On New Single ‘Baby, I’m Jealous,’ Addressing Insecurities, Making Her Movie Debut In ‘Queenpins’ And More
The American artist also discusses how she deals with mental health issues
When American artist Bebe Rexha left college, with only $600 in her bank account, she began shopping for a record deal. To her disappointment, the singer-songwriter fell short at bagging one at the time. However, to her sheer luck, rapper Eminem heard her song “The Monster” and asked to have it. The track went on to become a smash hit off Slim Shady’s 2013 album The Marshall Mathers LP 2 that featured Rihanna on vocals. Rexha received writing credits for the song – which also went on to win the 2015 Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Performance – after which her life completely changed.
Since then, there have been more hit collaborations with artists such as G-Eazy (“Me Myself & I”), The Chainsmokers (“Call Me”), Martin Garrix (“In The Name Of Love”), David Guetta and J Balvin (“Say My Name”) and more. In 2018, Rexha released her full-length debut album Expectations to positive reviews and is now readying her sophomore record. The vocalist recently released the LP’s first single, the funky and dancey “Baby, I’m Jealous,” featuring rapper Doja Cat.
Watch our interview with Rexha above or read excerpts below where she talks about how the new music addresses her insecurities, gives advice to people suffering from anxiety or depression, being a torchbearer for women and more.
I caught your American Music Awards set with Doja Cat, it looked terrific online. What was it like for you performing in that sort of environment and atmosphere? I read that there were cardboard cutouts and stuff around.
Yeah, it was definitely different, especially without having fans there. You know, the best thing about performing is the energy of the audience. And it was different, but it was nice to be doing what I love again, that was a really cool moment. Just to be in that in that atmosphere, just to be able to perform. It just felt so good. I missed it so much. Yeah, there were cardboard cuts out in the audience. There were no real people on the bottom level. And it was very different. It was very different this year, but I still had a great time.
Let’s talk about “Baby, I’m Jealous,” I quite liked the funkiness about the track. When did this sort of theme come across for you to write about? And also, how did the collaboration with Doja Cat come about?
Well, I was dating this guy. And he was liking some other girls’ pictures on the internet. And I got upset. I was like this is so uncool. What? But it was constantly liking pictures, leaving comments, messages. And I kind of got jealous. I was like, ‘what, you’re dating me.’ I decided to write a song about it. It’s about this love-hate relationship that I have with social media. This love-hate relationship that I have with myself and how it reflects on my relationships. It gets really hard sometimes when you’re in a relationship, and there’s so much people on the internet and there’s so much things moving at all times. And it’s just different, you know, our world is different now, especially all of us being at home and being in quarantine and not being able to really be out. It’s just so much different. And so, I wrote a song about it. Then I sent it over to Doja Cat and she loved it, and she put her verse on it and the rest was history.
There’s a new album on the way next year, is the song going to be part of the album?
You’ve spoken about how the album addresses your insecurities. What more can you tell me about that?
I’m still working on myself a lot. As a person. I have this sometimes… these negative thoughts about myself. Am I good enough? Am I too heavy? Am I going crazy? So the album talks about all my insecurities and all the things that I fear. Am I good enough for this relationship? Everything that I feel like is private to what is actually going on in my head. I have put into the songs in the album. And they all kind of reflect an insecurity of mine.
2020 has been tough for everyone and you’ve been very open about your mental health. This year especially could have taken a toll on a lot of people that are suffering from mental health issues. So how have you been coping and also, do you have any advice for young people going through this sort of thing?
For me, I’ve honestly been working on myself. If I can’t meditate, I’ll put on really relaxing music, I have an app on my phone, a meditation app. And if I’m getting ready or have something to do, I’ll put it, I’ll listen to it on my headphones or I go for walks with my dog. I’ve been trying to cook as much as I can. Because cooking for me is very therapeutic. Cutting the onions and the garlic and peeling, I do things that are making me feel good.
I think that’s very important right now to know that it’s okay that everything is at a halt. And that if you feel like you’re in a very dark spot. I promise you a lot of people feel that way as well. A lot of people are going through anxiety and depression. It’s just about reminding yourself that it will come to an end, it’s going to be okay and you’re going to come out of it. That’s a very, very important thing to keep reminding yourself, and to be kind with yourself. Because even if you feel sad, and you’re angry with yourself, like, ‘Why do I feel sad?’ ‘Why am I not able to do what I love right now?’ You have to just be like, ‘Listen, it’s okay, one day at a time, one day at a time.’ For me working out has helped me so much just like going for a run outside or walking or something. It helped me so much just doing that or even waking up in the morning and making a cup of coffee or a cup of tea. Not looking at my phone, not looking on social media, stuff like that. Just things that are good for you.
Over the years, you’ve become a role model for women, especially young girls. How do you feel about being a sort of torchbearer for them and did you have anyone in that sort of light when you were growing up?
I always had my mother, she is a very strong woman. I had her and she was always telling me to follow my dreams. And I think it’s really important for women and girls to know that nobody is really perfect. Because when I grew up, watching my favorite pop stars, or watching my favorite celebrities, they all seem to be super, super skinny, super, super fit, super young, super perfect all the time, all the time. And that’s why when I go on my social media I don’t like to fall any rules or be in a box of any sort. I don’t like to be told this is how you should dress, this is how lady dresses, a lady should never be too sexy, a lady should always be this age. I think that, for me, I really want to show women that they could just be whatever they want. And they should do it for themselves. If you want to cover yourself and be more conservative, you should do it because you want to do it not because somebody is telling you to do it. If you want to be more sexy and be more of a badass, you should do it because you want to do it for yourself. If you want to speak out loud or follow your dreams, you should do it because you want to do it. And my mom was always very strong like that. I never had something like that in the music industry. But recently, Alicia Keys has been absolutely incredible. If I text her and I need anything from Alicia Keys, she always is responding to my text messages. Always just an incredible, incredible, incredible human being. And I’m really glad to have to have met her and know her.
You’ve worked with and collaborated with a bunch of stellar artists over the years. Is there any collaboration that you’re still seeking out?
I would love to do a song with Kanye West.
Writing and singing or just writing?
Either one. I love writing songs. I just really love writing songs. So however it works out. I just love to be a part of this process of writing. It’s fun for me.
While the music video for “Baby, I’m Jealous” was top-notch, you’re also acting in a movie called Queenpins. How was that experience?
Yeah, I just shot the movie this week, actually. And it was incredible working with all these movie stars. And it was scary, but it was so fun. I had the best time ever. And it was so much different than being in a music video or being in the music scene. Shooting a movie is so much more… It’s so different. It’s a different world, It’s so fun. You get to be a different character, you get to study the character, you become the character. And I honestly had the best time of my life and Kristen Bell and Kirby [Howell-Baptiste] and Vince Vaughn were all so kind and I just grew up watching their movies. And it was really cool to be on set with them. It was really cool.
Finally, have you ever been to India before and would you ever tour these parts whenever things get better?
Absolutely, I would love to. I’ve never been to India, but that’s a place on my bucket list. I would love to come see the cities, try the food and I would love to do a retreat, a wellness retreat and maybe meditate somewhere really beautiful. I’m really big into astrology, I know that in some of the Indian culture there’s some people that are really into astrology and stars and all that. I want to speak to some people about that because that’s cool to me.
Watch the music video for “Baby, I’m Jealous” below: