Branching Out: Q+A With Bebe Rexha

By NICOLE FREDERICK
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You may not know the name but you’ve most likely heard the voice: Bebe Rexha is the haunting vocalist behind Cash Cash’s “Take Me Home” and David Guetta’s new hit “Hey Mama” and she can also claim bragging rights for co-writing Eminem and Rhianna’s massive hit, “Monster.” The accomplished Brooklynite just released her first EP I Don’t Wanna Grow Up and her full album Blanket is expected to follow later this year. Her music is a mixture of pop and electro, with a no-holds-barred emotional approach packed into every song. With all of her talents, it’s to be expected that LA CANVAS would want to get to know Bebe a little more, so we caught up with her to discuss her writing process, how to cure homesickness on tour and her hopes to cop Riff Raff’s hair style at Warped Tour this summer. Meanwhile in LA…

LA CANVAS: Hi Bebe, so nice to to get a moment to talk to the girl behind that powerhouse voice. You’ve been in a band and co-written some massive hits in the past. When did it become clear you wanted to start a solo career?

BEBE REXHA: I was always an artist ever since I was a little girl but when I was 19 Pete Wentz, who was on hiatus from Fall Out Boy at the time, started a side group called Black Cards that I was a part of. It wasn’t until the band broke up that I started songwriting; I was broke and needed the money so I decided to go solo. Once I made a little money from songwriting I was able to branch out and focus on my own career.

LAC: You’re EP I Never Wanna Grow Up is full of emotion, and it doesn’t take long after a listen to realize you put your whole heart into every track. What would you like fans to take away from this EP?

BR: Well, my album is about not being an adult but not being a child and kind of going through a transitional stage. I’s kind of me just going into adult pain and heartbreak and basically not being scared to not put that into my music. I use my songwriting as therapy—grabbing my guitar and writing helps me deal with my problems.  If my fans or people in general can use my music as their therapy, that would be incredible.

LAC: A particular song that really hit home for us was I’m Gonna Show You Crazy which is gaining a ton of attention online. It truly is a girl-power anthem with a dark side. What was the inspiration for this song?

BR: It was basically me trying to be myself at the time when I was writing it. I thought I wasn’t good enough and I saw a therapist because I was lonely and she wanted me to take all these pills and I wasn’t into it.  I was always scared of my abilities and what I could do, I wanted to belong.  All this song is really about is accepting who you are and what you are you scared of. I want this song to be about accepting imperfections, everyone is different.

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LAC: How does your writing process evolve from one song to the next? Do you mostly draw upon personal experience?

BR: Yes, I always draw from personal experiences. The process is different every time. There’s no like structure. I write on a computer or into a book and I keep those thoughts in my book or laptop for months until I form it into a arrangement and then I’ll put lyrics to cords or cords to lyrics. Other times I have a guitar or piano and sing about what’s really bothering me and a song will just come together.

LAC: You are a part of Vans Warped Tour this year. Anyone you’re excited to see?

BR: I really wanna hang out with Riff Raff and maybe we can do a song together, maybe he can give me some corn rows and I can walk out of Warped Tour with a whole new look.

LAC: After Warped Tour, you’ll be going on tour with Nick Jonas.  How do you stay grounded during tour life, and do you have any must haves you take with you or ways to cure homesickness?

BR:  Umm, I don’t know. I try to have my mom fly out and see me so I can have someone with me who loves me. I also bring a coffee machine so I can make my own coffee but other than that, I basically Skype friends and family a lot while I’m on the road.

LAC: Both yourself and Nick Jonas are talented songwriters. Have you guys met before and is there talk of a collaboration? Don’t break our aching heart by saying no.

BR: Haha, yeah we’ve met before. I met him at Jingle Ball and at the iHeart pool party and we were actually talking about doing a song together, but it’s all about timing and when we’re available. I definitely think it’s something that will happen but it’s all about scheduling.  A collaboration with him would be awesome though!

LAC: You’ll be in LA a lot the next couple of months. Are there any places you’re stoked to hang out at while your here?

BR:  The Belmont it’s a really chill spot on La Cienega and it’s a bar with trivia and karaoke. I go with my friends and get tipsy and have fun. I love that place. I also like doing chill shit with my friends walking up and down Melrose and shopping,  and sometimes going to the beach and chilling with the weirdos.

Catch Bebe during the Vans Warped Tour on June 19th at the Pomona Fairplex or grab tickets to her show at The Wiltern with Nick Jonas on October 23rd.

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