Billboards and Big Dreams
I didn’t know how to start this because honestly when I went out to meet her, I didn’t have questions prepared either.
Usually, most of the times I interview people for Shour is through e-mail. I’d either know or have met the person I’m featuring on my blog before I share their story or end up creating a bond after I ask for an interview and send in my questions. The ways I discover people and talents is pretty unusual. I can’t recall exactly how it happened, but I either saw the song suggestion on someone’s Instagram section or I think I was listening to some Anghami curated playlist that randomly played the song. However it happened, I was preeettyy hooked.
After mentioning Bea on @sshourr’s Insta stories, she followed me and I guess the rest is history? It was me constantly tagging her in my stories listening to her song or DMing her to thank her angelic vocals for making such a song. When I tell you No Favours is my most played song, please believe me.
Bea explained to me how she came to write No Favours: “I was looking at a close friend of mine who is super talented and was doubting his own amazing abilities and it got me thinking how we all do it : when life beats us down, our confidence and self-motivation takes a hit and I just wanted an uplifting song that says that life doesn't owe you anything so you have to get up and put in the work and RUN THIS LIKE A BOSS.” - THIS being YOUR LIFE.
Literally one day after my graduation, I made my way to BarTartine in Mar Mikhael to finally meet the angel who’s song got me through many, many nights I cried myself to sleep or the days where I’d be so happy the universe couldn’t handle me.
I came in some time before she and I couldn’t help not panicking over our meet- up. What is it gonna be like? Are we gonna click? Will we bond? Do I look stupid? I bet I’ll sound like dumbass. How did I NOT PREPARE SOMETHING MEANINGFUL TO ASK? IS THIS GOING TO BE AWKWARD?? IT’S HOT I’M MELTING III NEED ORANGE JUICE.
Like a lot of young, fresh Arab artists, Bea had a hard time making a name for herself. Being torn between traditional views, a challenging culture, securing a good future and her passion for music, Bea had a tough time figuring out exactly who she was and being sure of a career as an artist.
I’ve learned from her that she started singing at a young age between choir and bands, dabbed with musical theater and tried pursuing an artist career in Beirut the first time round, where she had quite a few disappointing and dead-ended encounters with certain managers, producers and programs who’s main advice was that she would need to change her looks and beliefs - to say the least. That pushed Bea to put a pin on the music industry as a whole and pursue a career in fashion design, working and traveling the world promoting international brands while managing to create her own vibrant clothing line Young Wilderness on the side.
Just like a l l of us human beings, shit happens, you get anxious and decide that’s not a life you want, despite it being an unmissable opportunity others would kill for. B didn't quite find fulfillment in it as much as she would making music and didn’t want to waste more time away from what she felt like was her calling - she wasn’t expressing a vital part of her.
Being the powerful, ballsy and unapologetic woman that she is, Bea literally quit her full-time job to pursue music - an unusual path to take. For her, making such a big decision by moving from a secure position that would definitely help her live a good life to continue following her dreams of being an artist was insane. And looking back at it she can understand that a decision like that was careless and could’ve been harmful in the process, especially - need we not mention - in the Arab world where it is rather an unusual and frowned upon path.
When Bea finally attained her family’s support to go into music, she moved to London to get a masters degree in Music Business Management where she got the tools and knowledge to be able to manage herself and become the self releasing independent rnb/future pop artist she is now. She made impressive connections, performed with Justin Timberlake and his choir at The Brits 2018, and released her debut song Cloud 9 as well as independent tracks with Universal Music UK.
For the hours that Bea and I spent talking about nothing and everything, I learned so much about her. Her passion for life, for music, the way she wholeheartedly loves all things that spark her interest, (her short-term memory), her views about the most prominent social issues, the information and the knowledge this human possesses, her experience with moving to or from a country and tips about overpacking had me head over heels for her. A genuinely hard working chica that does not back down or shy away from what she wants. Her journey, nevertheless, is so beautiful to sit and listen all about.
My previous fear of it being an awkward hangout or the possibility of having nothing to bond over soon burned in hell over a scrumptious pan of pain perdu and Bea angelic voice humming some tunes.
Other than the hardships of being a solo artist hustling day and night to make something out of yourself here in the Middle East, catching the audience’s attention and having them vibe with you is a challenge on its own that she’s learning to address and overcome. We discussed the fact that people are sometimes still scared to vibe with something other than the mainstream in fear of being mocked, judged or isolated. It takes a few brave souls in the crowd to really feel the music, start dancing and kick off the wave and energy.
Bea told me how it’s happened that she’d be singing her heart out on stage and dancing her life away and then look at an audience that looks half dead. “They’d later come up to me and be like OMG WE LOVED WHAT YOU DID, which is amazing, that connection is so important to me, but why do that AFTER I’m done or via Insta DM way later? I’d be on stage thinking what am I doing wrong, how can I do more or different, and then I’d get in my head about it and ruin my own enjoyment and experience with that performance. I’m working on that and tweaking my craft to be even more interactive but like to me if you’re out to have fun, I’m ready, so let’s let loose and give it our all.”
To say that after all this time, hard work, sweat, tears and passionate dedication that she did it is an understatement. Being the well-rounded, gracious yet so fiercely captivating young woman that she is, there is noooo damn doubt that little Miss B has a whole lot to look forward to regarding her career as both a singer/songwriter.
Gaining the support of her family, the never-ending journey to finding half-ass decent industry peeps to work with (damn, the stories she told me), releasing tracks and trying to make it out there, is a story many aspiring Arab artists can relate to. Hell, any Arab person can relate to.
Being born into a ruthless society, one that has very little patience or care to what they don’t understand is a challenge on its own. But nowadays? People from varied paths, be it designers, artists, drag queens, journalists, business owners, you name it, are thriving. Watching all those young people get their shit together and showcasing their own work here - and I stress this once again - in the Arab world is honestly so satisfying. Many of which I don’t know, but I see them everywhere working and getting shit done and I am hella proud.
Bea is one of the people I am super proud of and super grateful I was able to meet and develop a sweet, empowering, nurturing bond with. For all those trying to make it here, putting in everything they’ve got to make it work, y’all we see you and we support you. You’ve got so much to look forward to cause we got you. B, we got you.
Get that, I also got a peek into her upcoming song AND music vid. She also hummed Rihanna’s Man Down for me and jammed to Lizzo and Drizzy. Life couldn’t get better.
Go listen to No Favours, y’all and then tell me HOW GENIUS IT IS!