Bea Anderson is a very new R&B star, only releasing her debut EP ‘Eden.’ in 2021. However, proving herself as a brilliant vocalist and someone who loves their work, she has already found herself on multiple official Spotify playlists, including Fresh Finds R&B and No Signal, and is currently playlisted at BBC 1XTRA. ASBO sits down with the singer/songwriter to talk spiritualism, the Brit School and the future.
So, first question. How did you get into music? How did you start?
I got into music at quite a young age. I was brought up in the church, so music was kind of always a part of my life. It was always kind of like a part of our lifestyle. However, when I was in college, I went to the Brit school. That’s when we kind of explored live music and like music performance and like writing music, production, everything. I think that was really, probably the start of me being really introduced to music as a career.
You went to the, the Brit school. How was that?
Oh, I loved it. Absolutely loved it.
How do you think that’s shaped you as an artist? Do you think, that as some people say, they don’t go to certain schools in their field because it puts them too much into a box. Would you say that your experience was the same or that it was different?
I think mine was different. I think when I went to Brit, I wasn’t refined in like anything, if I’m honest with you, I was just kind of known as a girl who sung, but going to Brit kind of gave us that professionalism. It gave us that insight into the industry. Like if you actually wanna take it seriously, how you should do it and what to kind of take into consideration. So, it definitely helped to shape the artist that I am. It gave me that performance experience. It just helped me to explore different sides of I guess my artistry that I wasn’t really aware of before.
Who would you say some of your influences maybe around that time that got you into music or you looked up to and thought, well, this is what I want to do? Like set you down the path?
Any girl group, any girl group at the time. So I was really heavily influenced by like Destiny’s Child, Cherish. Just any girl group, anything that was to do with like harmonies, a lot of boy bands as well. I just loved any types of groups, anything that included harmonies and vocals and a bit of dancing, then that was me.
How did you find your creative process as an artist? How do you go about it?
I think I’m settling into it a lot more now. It was hard at first to kind of go from just writing music and making music kind of like in the background for yourself to then going for release and being kinda like the face of it. There’s so much more that comes with it than just releasing music. It’s kind of like the whole persona that goes through it. You’re an artist. You are the front man basically.
I still try to keep it as organic as possible. It’s interesting. I was in a session a few weeks ago and the session went really well, I was in with two new producers, I like wrote a song within maybe the first hour and a half of the session. They were like, oh my gosh, Bea, you are such a fast writer. That’s always been like, my background is in just writing and trying to just write quickly.
Although it was really good. It was, it was a bit of a juxtaposition cause I was like, I’m not happy with the fact that I went in with that mindset, which was like my old mindset of just make sure you write a song when you get to the session, be organic. That’s my main thing I’m trying to lead with. It’s just organic music, creating music and pieces of art that are just really meaningful and purposeful to the moment rather than the mechanical element of it, I think.
And in terms of that organic-ness and how you mentioned there about your strengths, how have you found the other elements of being an artist?
The other elements of being an artist are daunting, very daunting. I think even with like doing interviews at first, I was like, hi, my name’s Bea I remember the first interview that I went into on for radio about my first face to face. I said to them, oh, what do introduce myself? I was like, do I say Bea Anderson? I’m not really too sure [laughs]. So as I said, it’s been a real learning curve, just kind of settling into it. So yeah, it’s just been a real transition for me to be honest to you.
Do you think you’ve taken to it naturally?
Everyone has always said it. There’s always like, well, Bea you’ve got the look you’ve got the charisma, you’ve got the character for it. So why not? I guess maybe now it’s about just putting the confidence behind all of those different elements.
You have definitely got the look. Do you put that much attention into things like your style and style influences as an artist?
Do you know what, my stylist she is actually a very, very, very close friend of mine and we’ve known each other for maybe 12 years. We literally grew up together. So she was always like really like fashion conscious. I was always kind of fashion conscious, but not as much as her. When it came to releasing some music, she was brought in for the first music video. Because she knew me, she knew exactly what I was trying to achieve with my music, and it was almost like she helped stylize that vision. It’s like bringing together the authenticity of the music, who you are as a person and kind of like marrying those two with fashion.
It’s like looking at what my vision is as an artist? What is it that I’m trying to influence? What’s the message that I’m trying to get out there and how do we convey that in the way that you look basically.
In terms of your visuals, how much emphasis do you put on getting good videos out there?
I do love a little music video. And with like with Mirror Mirror, I was quite heavily involved in just the visual element of it and the creative side of things. And even with the up and coming music videos, every music video I’ve always had quite a hand in.
Just because I think, having a video that goes with a song just brings it to life. And I just wanted to make sure that the, maybe the messages of the songs and the mood and just, anything that I was trying to evoke could be conveyed in that way rather than just, ‘okay, cool hi director, I dunno who you are, here’s a budget. Can you create a video and I’ll just turn up on the day’ kind of thing.
What are some challenges that you’ve faced in your work?
Aside from maybe my personal challenges in terms of like, ‘okay, I’m an artist now be an artist and have the confidence run with it.’
But I guess knowing that when you know that what you’re trying to do is a little bit unorthodox and a little bit in your own vein and you kind of just have to trust that whoever’s supposed to gravitate towards it, will.
You’re not following Emmy trying to like, stay in your own lane and not really follow what other people have done or like a blueprint or whatever, that is a little bit of a challenge, cuz you do think to yourself, ‘Okay, cool. I can’t really guarantee right now what’s gonna happen. I just really hope that people take to it’ kind of thing.
Do you put a lot of importance on that and just being yourself all the way?
Yeah. That’s my main thing. My main thing is just about just trying to represent authenticity. Just do what’s natural to you. What’s meaningful to you. And that’s what I try to just convey in my music really.
What do you most value, both as an artist and in life?
I think the tail end of what we said before about just being authentic. Something I really value is that element of just being genuine for others to see, genuine for listeners to hear.
So even some of my songs, they’re based off real experiences, it’s not just something that I plucked out of thin air and I’m really able to feel the emotion that maybe I felt in the moment within the music.
So just having that real element of authenticity, and for people to see me like, wow, I heard the song and I could actually feel what she felt and when I see her as an artist, I can relate to her. She seemed really genuine.
Do you have a motto or anything that you live by?
Oh, do I have a motto that I live by? I don’t, but every year I have different mottos and my motto this year, which doesn’t really tie into anything, I’ve just said that life is to be lived. That’s what my motto for this year is. Last year I spent a lot of time working on music, but just working a lot and not being able to enjoy the moments. So being able to really enjoy and be kind of be present in these moments is really important to me. I had another conversation about this when someone asked me something similar in terms of what it is that I’m trying to like encourage people to do and it’s now really encouraging people to be present.
And I think that’s what I really mean with that, is just being present in every moment. So in the moments that you have to celebrate, make sure you celebrate in those moments and that you are happy, be happy, don’t just kind of strive for like what’s coming next. You know, when it’s like the goalpost what’s continuously moving, don’t have that, just enjoy moments when they come to you kind of thing.
I get that. It sounds quite spiritual.
Yeah, a little bit.
Do you have a spiritual side? Is that where you’ve got that mantra from?
Yeah, definitely. So I know I said that I grew up in church, still in church, still a Christian. It’s definitely the foundation and, like the pillars to my character.
I’m really thankful for it really thankful for it. Cause it keeps you grounded, having that kind of element of selflessness. When you realize your life’s not in your own hands it stops you from it.
It just removes an element of, I guess, anxiety when you realize okay, cool, sometimes you have to trust, trust in your journey. Yeah. Rather than kind of your own vision for yourself.
Do you believe in determinism? How much of it do you think is what you control and how much of it do you think is a greater plan?
Oh, that’s a tricky one. I think it’s definitely the greater plan. I definitely think there’s like a life’s path, you know, like for example, I’m sure I’ve seen an illustration where it’s like, the destination is the same and you can either choose to kind of go the hard way or you can kind of choose to just kind of go that way and then this way, and then you kind of always end up back at that destination.
Although things may crop up and stuff, you can kinda just say, OK, cool, I ended up there anyways. I definitely think that even my life so far has proven that it’s okay, eventually you were gonna end up here. So it must be that it was determined, you know?
That it’s more about the journey than the destination.
I like that way of thinking; I think I maybe use it this way as well. I think it creates gratefulness amongst people, rather than the sort of negative emotions that come with constantly wanting something, and never being satisfied. That theme has popped up with quite a lot of other artists actually. I think I’ve seen a rise in spirituality with people of our generation and artists in general. Do you have any advice for other upcoming artists?
I do. I think really, I’m gonna keep echoing the same thing, really run with what is authentic to you. Don’t watch other people’s paths. Don’t watch other people’s journeys because no two people are the same and when you stay true to who you are and what your vision is and what your idea of what you’d like to achieve is, it’s almost like your path’s already kind of paved, you know? So it’s really about staying true to your own journey and your own paths, your own sound, your own image, just your own self.
That’s like the core theme of you as a person and artist, authenticity. Who’s another artist to watch now?
I’m watching let me look, there’s quite a few. The artist that I’m watching at the moment is a rapper called Jords; I opened for his headline show last year. I guess stripping back from his music which is really, really good. He has that same element of what I’m talking about in terms of the authenticity, really just kind of being in his own lane and just striving for what he’s doing and running with it. So yeah, that’s definitely one of them.
What so far are you most proud of in your life? Whether it be in music or in your life in general?
Last year, releasing my first EP. That was so monumental. It was a moment. I think so many people around me were kind of like anticipating for years, I’d been saying it for years. I was like “Yeah, I’m gonna release. Yeah, I’m gonna release. Yeah. I’m gonna release. Yeah. I’m gonna release” to the point where there were a few people who were like “Yeah right okay, sure Bea, we’ll believe it when see it.”
And then when I did, it was such a weight off my shoulders. It was like, oh my gosh, you actually did it. Wow. They always say the first step is the hardest and it always is.
And it was like, wow, I actually overcame, not a fear, but I overcame such a, monumental thing, cuz it was such a kind of moment I guess, of like self-actualization. You’re like, wow, you did it.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m working another EP and I’m really, really, really, really excited. For this one, for these next set of releases, I just wanted to take like one step further. So the visuals, I want them to be stronger musically. I wanted it to be better, not better, but I guess more grounded in my sound. More grounded in production. And even just in terms of like the musicality of the EP from top to bottom, I wanted it to be a lot more kind of cohesive. That’s what I’m working on the moment.
What does the future hold for you? How do you see your future, if it is determined or not? Do you have an idea of it?
You know what? My future includes a lot of gigs. Live music is where my heart is at and I just can’t wait to just be back on stage. So I just feel like I really wanna be able to create that experience for, I guess fans, where it is like, wow did you see her perform she’s so great kind of thing? That’s what I definitely see, when I see my future in music, I always see just performances.
Performances, do you prefer that to recording? Is that like your passion?
Yeah. Yeah. Without a shadow of a doubt with that. I love performing, love it.
Did you get that from the Brit school or have you just always been a natural?
I think I have been naturally always quite performance led, but I would say that schools really helped to refine that element of my artistry. They really kind of picked up on something that was a stroke of mine and helped me nurture it. So it’s like those tools that they helped to kind of instil were the ones that I still apply to myself now. So hopefully I do them proud.
Do you have a dream place you’d like to perform?
Wembley? Yeah, definitely. As you know that moment where you’re speaking to the mic and say, “Hello Wembley!” And it goes ‘Hello Wembley, Wembley, Wembley’ I just want that massive echo.
Have you got it planned out already? Your performance, your Wembley set?
Do you know what I said is, that if I could do like a Wembley set, there’s gonna be a moment where I do like an acoustic song and I have everyone like sing with me and put their flashlight on, on their phones. And then I’d just be like, oh my gosh, and everyone’s singing along! This is crazy!
Seems like you got it all planned out very well already.
You gotta visualize it. You gotta visualize it.
BEA ANDERSON RETURNS WITH NEW SINGLE MIRROR MIRROR
“Soul music in its classic form” – Clash
“She knows how to captivate audiences” – GUAP
“Anderson is firming her place in the tapestry of a refreshed UK soul scene.” – No Signal
“Soulful and sweet” – Notion
Words: Peter Wellman
Interview: Dylan Jay Turner