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Beabadoobee is a ’90s fuzz-rock anomaly in a TikTok world

Beabadoobee
Beabadoobee says her forthcoming debut album is “a great record to dance to in your underpants.”
(Callum Harrison)

Beabadoobee went viral on TikTok early this year when the Canadian rapper Powfu sampled one of her earliest songs for his own hit “Death Bed (Coffee for Your Head).” Now the 20-year-old Filipino-British singer, whose real name is Bea Kristi, is preparing to release a debut album, “Fake It Flowers,” full of fuzzy-catchy ’90s-style guitar jams. She called from her home in London.

Describe “Fake It Flowers” in three words.
Honest. Fun. Bea.

Why should we stream it?
Because if you’re alone in your room and feeling sad, it’s a great record to dance to in your underpants. I do that every night.

But not to your own record.
My go-tos are Michelle Branch, Veruca Salt’s “Eight Arms to Hold You” and — not gonna lie — the “Freaky Friday” soundtrack. “Ultimate” by Lindsay Lohan is so good.

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You were born in 2000. How’d you get into ’90s rock?
My mum used to play the Cranberries and Liz Phair and Natalie Imbruglia. It was like the background of my childhood.

Electric guitar doesn’t exactly define pop music right now. But it’s at the core of your album.
I feel like I can’t really write a song without a guitar — it just doesn’t feel right. The chords always come first, then the melody, then the lyrics. It’s kind of like a comfort blanket. I always want my guitar on me.

How many do you have?
Several, but there’s a specific guitar that I’m in love with. It’s a Jazzmaster that belongs to Jamie [Oborne, of Beabadoobee’s label, Dirty Hit], and it’s been played on records by Blondie and Talking Heads. It’s on every song on my record.

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Would you ever pull a Kurt Cobain and destroy your guitar at the end of a gig?
Oh, my God, that’s kind of horrifying to me.

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How did COVID-19 change your album?
Because I was isolated, I managed to perfect the whole aesthetic vision — to think about the music videos with my boyfriend, who directs all of them, and think about the fashion and keep it all in the same world. It made me live in my album.

Recite the lyric from the album you like best.
“I’m scared he’s gonna leave me / ’Cause when I’m mad I get pretty scary / But he won’t because I’m pretty.”

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Vice of choice while you were recording?
Good movies and good food.

“Death Bed” was huge on TikTok. Are you a big user?
I feel like I missed TikTok by a year. Sometimes I just don’t get the jokes — and I’m not even that old!

Are you and Powfu friends?
I’ve never met him.

Is that weird?
It’s very weird. At first the attention was overwhelming because I had no involvement in the song; it’s very much his song. But it’s cool — it’s gotten people to discover my other music.

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What are your plans for Nov. 3?
Even though I don’t live in America, as someone with a platform I’ll just remind people not to be dumb and vote for the wrong person.

So Trump 2020?
F— no!


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