Madison Beer on New Album: ‘I Wanted to Show the More Vulnerable Side of Myself’
The American artist’s 17-track record ‘Life Support’ released at the end of February
At just 21, Madison Beer has achieved plenty. The American artist burst on the scene a decade ago and has gone from posting covers on YouTube to releasing her seven-track debut EP As She Pleases in 2018 and is now out with her glittering debut full-length album, the 17-track ‘Life Support.’
In this exclusive interview with Rolling Stone India, Beer talks about the making of her latest record, connecting with her listeners, coming to India and more.
It’s been three years since your debut EP As She Pleases came out. What I want to know is what you learned from that experience of releasing that record as well as what you’ve been up to since it released and before work on Life Support began?
As She Pleases was the first time I really bet on myself and pursued a body of work that felt true to who I am. I was an independent artist at the time – I had moved on from my first record label – and there were times when I struggled with feeling like people had given up on me. Ultimately, I think that experience helped me to evolve and realize that I should never compromise on my artistic vision. I took a lot of what I learned during that EP process into working on Life Support.
When did you start assembling and putting the songs together for Life Support and what was that process like?
Life Support has been a long time coming, I finished the album over a year ago at this point. When I first started the writing process for the record, I was drawing a lot of inspiration from a recent breakup I had been going through. As I was working through those emotions, I realized I didn’t want to be reduced to a breakup or the ‘bad bitch’ anthems I had put out in the past. I of course still draw inspiration from those things, but I have so much more to offer, and I wanted to show the more vulnerable side of myself on this album.
Daft Punk and Radiohead were both really influential to me on the album, and I’ve been fans of both for years. Daft Punk is a dream collaboration of mine, I’m always striving to be as innovative and sonically interesting as they are. [This interview was conducted prior to the duo announcing their disbanding]. I drew on Radiohead heavily for ‘Stained Glass,’ particularly in the chord progressions and how the playful melodies take you to places you wouldn’t expect. It took a long time to get right – it’s a really complex song with a lot of moving parts – but I’m really happy with where it ended up.
Where did you record the album and who did you work with on it? And what are some of your memories from the recording process?
My team and I are super close, I recorded the whole album with Jeremy ‘Kinetics’ Dussolliot, Tim ‘One Love’ Sommers and Leroy Clampitt, aka Big Taste, whose home studio we recorded at. Every day there was some new memorable creatively breakthrough moment, but I was really just grateful to be around people every day who understood me and who I trusted to bare my soul to. There were a lot of days where being in the studio was true therapy for me, so I’m just grateful they stuck by me through it all.
The pandemic has been challenging for everyone – how did you cope with it?
We finished the album pre-COVID, but I’ve been working on some new things in lockdown. Technology makes it really easy to navigate recording during a time where maybe we can’t get together in the way that we normally would. COVID has been really challenging mentally and emotionally, for everyone. It’s been a blessing to have a creative outlet for those emotions.
From posting covers to YouTube to now having your first album release – when you look back on how you’ve achieved so much so fast, how does it make you feel?
At this point, I’ve been in the industry for almost a decade. It’s taken a lot of hard work and perseverance to get to where I am today. Some people have given up on me, some people tried to get me to be someone I wasn’t. At the end of the day, I just had to keep betting on myself, and know that I had something special to bring to the table. I’m so glad I never gave up on my vision for this album and my career, I’m really proud at how far I’ve come, and forever grateful to the people who have stuck by me.
You put out the Dreams Look Different in the Distance film and opened your heart out through it. What made you want to do that and also what do you hope people take away from it?
Doing the entire VEVO Lift campaign was a dream, specifically collaborating with them on this short film. I’ve always felt that it’s really important to have an open dialogue with my fans, and this was just an extension of that. I wanted them to know that they’re not alone in their emotions, we all experience moments of weakness and self-doubt in various aspects of our lives, but that doesn’t have to define you.
Have you had any interaction or come across any Indian artists over the years that you’ve liked?
I’d love to learn more about Indian culture and music! Hopefully, I’ll get to tour in India and be able to check out some other live shows while I’m there.
So touring India is definitely on the cards when things get better and the world is healed?
Of course! Touring is my favorite thing to do – I live for the connection with my fans at shows and it’s been really hard to not tour this past year. But I’m so looking forward to it when the world opens back up and it’s safe for us to come together.
What’s next for you once this album cycle wraps up?
New music of course! Obviously, I’d like to get back on the road and tour once we can do so safely, but I’ve already started work on my next album so can’t I wait for everyone to hear what I have coming next. I’m doing a live stream show on March 6th. I obviously can’t tour right now, so this is the next best thing. I’m really excited to show all my fans what the album sounds like live with a badass, all-girl band that I’m so hyped to play with. The show is going to combine my love of music, art, and technology in some really fun ways – can’t wait for everyone to see what we’ve been working on.