Madison Beer reveals how 'American Horror Story' inspired her 'Hurts Like Hell' video
1 March 2019, 18:21 | Updated: 2 November 2020, 16:58
We spoke to Madison Beer about 'Hurts Like Hell', working with Charli XCX and her debut album...
Madison Beer is remarkable. She may only be 19-years-old but she has already established a career for herself as one of the most promising young stars in pop music. After posting covers on YouTube in 2012, she gradually amassed a legion of loyal fans and they've been with her every step of the way since. Not only that but she also caught the eye of Justin Bieber and quickly signed a huge major label deal.
After a series of singles that slapped but failed to make a dent in the charts ('Melodies' deserved more), Madison decided to go independent and work on finding her sound. Her debut EP As She Pleases is the result and it's excellent. Not only is her DNA all over it but it also hints that Madison is only just getting started as an artist. 'Fools' and 'Tyler Durden' are exciting because they sound like no one else.
In November last year Madison kicked off a new era with her Offset collaboration 'Hurts Like Hell' and she is now in the final stages of putting together her first album due for release later this year. We caught up with Madison at MTV Push Live (Feb 26) to discuss working with Charli XCX, why she loves American Horror Story so much and what we can expect from her new album.
PopBuzz: 'Hurts Like Hell' is the start of a new era and it goes off. Why did you choose it for the first single?
Madison: I just thought that it was a great song. I like to do things transitionally so I went from 'Dead' to 'Home with You' to 'Hurts Like Hell'. They all just kind of evolve in their own way. So it's not even like 'Hurts Like Hell' is my favourite or the one that sounds the most me, it's just the one that was perfect for this moment in time. Especially message wise, it was really important for me to get that out now when it's a relevant topic to talk about. I really wanted to get that one out ASAP.
And you worked with Charli XCX on it. What did you learn from writing with her?
She's just amazing. She's so similar to me in a lot of ways. She's just chill. She'll have no make-up on and her hair up writing a song and it's so refreshing. It was just a really fun time to write it with her. She came up with this idea of having a break up song that wasn't about how sad you are, but how sad they are that they lost you. And I loved that because that's what I'm all about. And she's written so many hits that people don't even realise she's written. She's a genius.
Has she done anything more for the album?
Not yet but I really would love her to. I actually ran into her a few days ago and we spoke about it. I would love for her to do something else 'cause I love working with her.
And you got Offset on the track. What was that like?
He was amazing. It was really intimidating working with him because I'm a huge fan of Cardi and Migos. I've been obsessed with them since 2011 literally but he couldn't have been more poised, professional and kind. Especially to my family which I think speaks a lot to somebody's character. Some people I think assume because someone's such a big celebrity they don't need to go out of their way to say "Hey I'm Offset nice to meet you" but he literally got up out of his dressing room, walked into mine, went up to my mom my dad, my brother. He was just so cool and just so nice to them. And he gave me so much insight into his new album coming out. And he was just really cool and down to earth with me. I'm really really glad that I picked him and his verse was awesome.
Who's next on your collaboration wish list?
Daft Punk. I would love to do a whole album with them. I wouldn't want to just do a single because I'm obsessed with them. It would have to be something like the Weekend with Starboy or multiple songs like Pharrell.
Okay and we need to talk about the 'Hurts Like Hell' video. What was it like playing a witch?
Well I wrote the treatment and I co-directed it.
You can tell.
Thank you. Yeah you can always tell if there's some dark, messed up twist at the end, it's probably coming from my brain. I have an obsession with witches and anything supernatural. Especially American Horror Story. I'm a huge American Horror Story fan.
Coven. Well, my favourite season is Apocalypse. I spent the whole time standing and screaming on the couch watching it so the last season was definitely my favourite but Apocalypse wouldn't exist without Coven. I wanted to channel Madison in the music video and do something like "What would the Salem witch trials look like if they happened in 2018?". So I cast the video and it was just so much fun to film and I'm really happy with how it turned out and all the scenes.
Outside of Horror Story who are your favourite witches growing up.
I mean, obviously Hocus Pocus. The Craft is one of my favourite movies. Sabrina of course. American Horror Story really is the one though. Madison, Zoe... all of them.
You recently took a break away from Instagram. Why was that and what's your relationship like with social media?
I just can't stand spending so much of my time scrolling through the internet. I feel like it's a waste of my life. I feel like I have a lot more to offer to the world than to just spend all my time scrolling on my phone. I've definitely just limited my time that I spend on it and I've also just limited what I look at. I find myself going through rabbit holes with other girls and comparing myself and reading comments. Social media is great because it obviously gives me a platform to talk and connect with my fans but it's also not healthy in a lot of ways and I think it's important to step back from it every now and then.
Your Twitter feed is so refreshing because you're so candid.
I try to be. I don't really have a filter when I think of what I tweet. I don't think "will this get retweets, are people gonna care?" I just say what I want to say. That's why I really like doing Ask Madisons and have people ask me questions. I only answer ones that are real questions because I want people to understand that I'm a human and get to know me a little bit better.
I think it's one of the reasons why you have such a passionate female fanbase of your own age. What's it like to speak so directly to your own demographic?
It's crazy. I literally grew up with these girls from 12 to 20. These are my actual brothers and sisters. I'm so close to them and I really make an effort to speak to each and every one of them. And that's why I think we have such a cool bond that not that many other people have with their fans (at MTV Push Live, Madison not only recognised her longterm fans in the audience but she also held an impromptu Q&A with them).
As She Pleases is so good because it feels like it's 100% you. How did you find discovering your own voice after entering the industry at such a young age?
I'm still everyday discovering my own ability and vocal range. As She Pleases was like the tip of the iceberg of me wanting to follow my heart and write songs and dive into my brain a little bit more. I've always been kind of scared to do that but I'm so glad that I did because songs like 'Tyler Durden' and 'Fools' came out of that. And now the album is just so much better because it's all me. I wrote every song that's on my album which feels so good.
As a young woman in the industry do you find it easy to get people to respect and trust you with your collaborators or has that taken time.
Um yes and no. People definitely judge me because I'm a 19-year-old girl so they don't think I'm as capable as other people they work with. And it's funny because I'll reference a song or talk about a topic and people will always be like "Wow that's crazy!" and I'm like 'Why do you assume that I am not educated on what I do for a living?" I know music. I know how to use pro tools. I feel like it's saddening that people underestimate me.
I mean you literally are executive producing this record.
Yeah. I'm pretty much co-producing a lot of it too. I'm really sat there with the person who's producing it and giving them specific instructions. I'm really doing it all I guess.
Have you chosen the next single and what can you tell us about it?
I haven't chosen the next single so I can't tell you much. I do have five that I'm picking from but they are all transitional like I said so every song you're about to hear, just know that it's a step towards the sound I'm working towards.
What do you want to achieve with this album?
Oh gosh if it went Number 1 on anything, I would probably bawl my eyes out. Like if it was even Number 1 on iTunes for like 30 seconds I would cry. But that's not really my goal. My goal with it is just for people to love it and see that I actually have really good music and get it. I just want people to enjoy my music.
Describe the album in three words.
Emotional, vulnerable, artistic.
When can we expect.
April or May... hopefully.
Something tells us that Madison Beer is about to release one of the best albums of 2019.