Bea Miller has learnt to be completely unapologetic through her music, but it’s not something that’s always come easily to her. Finding herself occasionally doubting if something is too honest, or too straight forward, she’s had to remind herself of the platform and messaging that she wants to spread as an artist.
Her recent viral hit ‘Feel Something’ is a perfect example of that. After going into the studio feeling a deep disconnection with people in general and feeling uninspired creatively, she took a risk to write about that. Following its initial release last year, the song has recently started blowing up on TikTok due to its candidly relatable emotions that people are experiencing in lockdown. It’s become an anthem for the people who feel a lack of connection in their new day-to-day lives, and it’s been special to witness it connect so transparently.
Following in the footsteps of her NOTD collaboration ‘I Wanna Know’ which also had a viral fame through TikTok, Bea Miller is quickly being introduced to a whole new fanbase. Luckily for her, she has a strong back catalogue of music including her bold doubt album ‘aurora’ that boldly represent who she is, and the trajectory she’s on.
I recently chatted to Bea Miller about the new found relevance that ‘Feel Something’ and the connection it has with mental health awareness has had with current COVID-19 pandemic, as well as dived into what she’s learnt about herself as an artist since the release of ‘Aurora’ and deciphered some of her recent tweets. Check it out BELOW;
THOMAS BLEACH: ‘Feel Something’ was first released a year ago and it’s started to have a resurgence thanks to TikTok. So reflecting on the song’s honest lyrics and the vision you had sonically for it, has your connection or thoughts with the song altered at all?
BEA MILLER: It’s been interesting because I obviously wrote this song before I had any knowledge that I was experiencing something that pretty soon the rest of the world was also going to be experiencing due to the pandemic. I feel like now those lyrics are truer than ever, even to me.
It’s honestly a little frustrating and upsetting, because when I wrote the song I was going through a weird faze where I just wasn’t feeling anything, when normally I’m a very emotional person. I feel very high, highs and very low, lows. I’m very upfront about my feelings, and they’re usually very strong. I’ve been like that my whole life.
So I was in this really weird place where I just wasn’t connecting to anything, and it was really awful as I felt like I wasn’t myself. I felt disconnected to who I was, who is an emotional ass bitch.
I kept making myself better by saying it was a temporary faze, and it was happening for whatever reason, and it eventually did. But then the pandemic happened, and now we have to be inside our houses and have no real life experiences for the majority of a year, and of course that brings back those same feelings. It’s frustrating that it’s happened again, but at least it’s not just me. I don’t feel so alone which is great, but it also just sucks that I’m feeling that again.
TB: The song does feel quite timely with the current global pandemic and how looking after mental health has been a huge discussion point online. So going into this really unprecedented situation, how did you make sure you looked after your own mental health?
BM: I’ve never really been great at taking care of my mental health, which is unfortunate for me to admit, and I don’t know that I’ve ever really said it out loud before.
I promote to my fans, my friends and my family to really prioritise your own mental health, but I don’t think I typically do that for myself very often. I definitely didn’t focus on that enough at the start of quarantine, and still probably don’t now. Most of the time I feel apathetic and that I’m just floating, and not really caring or connecting to anything. Sometimes I feel pretty extreme bouts of sadness and loneliness, which I unfortunately think is probably normal for everyone right now.
I think I always prioritise the people I care about over myself, and I’m constantly checking in on other people and sometimes that makes me feel worse. But at the same time it makes me feel better knowing that they’re doing alright, even though it’s taking away that energy that I probably should be focusing on myself sometimes.
TB: What did the creative process behind this song look like? Was it a song that came together easily, or was there a lot of fine tuning?
BM: We actually wrote this song very quickly. I didn’t think we would write anything good that day because the best songs I’ve written in the past have been done when I’ve felt an extreme emotion, but obviously I wasn’t feeling any emotions when I wrote this song. And I didn’t really have anything to talk about because I wasn’t connecting with anyone or anything.
I remember going into the studio and just saying that as I was writing with people who were also my friends, so I felt really comfortable in opening up to them. I explained that I felt like I was living in a bubble watching everyone else, and I just didn’t know what to say. And they were like “why don’t we just say that? And if it’s bad then it’s bad. And then if it’s good, then it will be interesting”.
We ended up writing the song really quickly because I was only thinking about a few things. I put together those few thoughts, and then there was the song.
TB: It recently started going viral on TikTok, and there are so many great interpretations of it already. What has been one of your favourite videos or trends from it so far?
BM: I think it’s really cool that someone paired up a slow version of ‘Feel Something’ with ‘Still Don’t Know My Name’ from Euphoria. I love Labrinth so much, and have been a big fan of his for ages.
I actually remember the first time I heard that version as I had no idea people were doing that, and I never thought that those two songs could or would ever go together. It was super cool as it worked so well. And a lot of people were making videos to that edit of them sitting around to my song, and as they lean back and his song comes in they have the Euphoria styled make-up on. It’s cool to watch. I really enjoy watching people do those transitions!
TB: Your album ‘aurora’ was released in 2018 and it was such an experimental and strong collection of songs. Reflecting back on the album now, what song do you think really captures the Bea Miller from that moment in time?
BM: That’s hard to say because I’m always very truthful in my music, and I always write about exactly what I’m experiencing in that specific moment. But I feel like the song that I can still look back on now and relate to, and sounds like something I would make today, would be ‘Outside’.
I wrote that song at the end of the album process, and I was going through a change in what I was listening to from other artists, as well as a lot of changes in my personal life. I moved to California, I had my own place, I was going to the studio and writing more, and I was working with producers that understood me better and songwriters that wanted to help me perfectly capture things I wanted to express.
So yeah, that song came at a time I really started to figure out my own melodic and lyrical style. And it’s one that is also very relevant right now as I’m singing about not wanting to go outside, and right now I can’t *laughs*.
TB: I’ve been talking to artists recently about “portal songs” that trigger the next chapter sonically, lyrically and mentally. So what song from that album would you say would be the portal song into ‘it’s not u it’s me’, ’Feel Something’, ‘That Bitch’ and this future new music.
BM: I feel like ‘Outside’ was that song for the song’s I released last year, but ‘That Bitch’ would be the song that has inspired the new music that is coming soon.
It was really scary for me to release ‘That Bitch’. A couple of days before I released that song we were on tour and I was sitting on the bus and frantically asking my band and management if we could not release it. I was so scared that people just wouldn’t get it and think I was cursing for the sake of being crude, when in fact I was just trying to say something.
I had a real moment of panic about it being too honest and too real, but everyone calmed me down and made me realise that even though it’s scary, that this was unapologetically who I was and was ultimately my opinion. So a lot of the new songs that are coming are similar to that lyrical content, where I question if I should really say this, or if it’s too aggressive. But I’m honestly excited at the same time. I think it’s my responsibility as someone who has a following and can express certain messages to a larger group of people to be honest, point out certain behaviours that I think we should change as a society, and to point out things I think are wrong.
TB: Now I have to say that I love your Twitter because you are so honest on it and it’s genuinely entertaining and interesting to see your thoughts. So let’s do a little Bea Miller twitter anecdote time.
BM: Oh god! I’m scared, but I’m ready!
TB: You tweeted about singing the wrong lyric from ‘like that’ at shows. How did you figure out you were singing it incorrectly after all this time?
BM: *Laughs* Okay, this is so embarrassing. I don’t want people to think that I’m sitting around in my house listening to my own music all the time, but the other day I did that *laughs*. I realised I hadn’t watched the ‘like that’ music video since we released it. So I decided to watch it because I was bored and was trying to come up with new activities to do alone in my house.
In the video I heard the song, and I hadn’t heard the studio version in a long time, and I very clearly said “couldn’t make it out alive” not “wouldn’t”. I was shocked that somehow at every one of my live shows I had been singing words incorrectly that I wrote. It’s a very small thing but it’s very obvious, and I couldn’t believe that I didn’t know how my own song goes.
TB: The tweet about being upset about coming across as the type of person you should hide a bong from. HILARIOUS! What happened there?
BM: I was coming back from the grocery store and somebody else’s car was parked opposite mine and there were two people in that car ripping a bong. I was like “ oh sick!”!
I’m not going to tattle on them. Like, what am I going to do? Grab a grocery store security guard and say “those people are smoking weed”? No! I also don’t think I look like the sort of person who would care. I was like “whatever, they’re vibing! They’re out having their little adventure today”. And then the moment they saw me they had horror in their eyes and quickly hid the bong and looked away like they didn’t see me.
I felt so upset! I started questioning if I gave off the “Karen vibe” and that people have to hide activities such as that from me *laughs*. I was so offended!
TB: You tweeted about being scared about the August 27 trend on TikTok. What do you think is going to happen on Aug 27?
BM: I don’t know! Some people think that Trump is going to confirm he has Coronavirus, and that something bad is going to happen to him, which would be tea and something I wouldn’t be opposed to *laughs*. But I don’t know… the audio just really freaks me out. If I’m laying in bed at night and hear that clip it literally gives me the chills.
I also don’t know how to properly manifest things, so I’m like what if I accidentally have a negative thought on August 27, and then it becomes real, and I didn’t even mean to manifest something bad. There’s just so much pressure!
‘Feel Something’ is out now!